Galvez, Holt, and Schang named winners of Concerto Competition


Photo courtesy of Navia Erbst

The Luther College Music Department recently announced Luis Galvez (‘26), Ryan Holt (‘23) and Dylan Schang (‘23) as the winners of the 2023 Concerto Competition. 


The final round of the competition was held on March 9, and the statement announcing the winners was released to Music department faculty, staff and students on March 10 by Director of Orchestral Activities and Music Department Head Daniel Baldwin.


Schang, a vocalist, performed “Torna ai felici di,” a tenor aria from “Le Villi” that was written by Giacomo Puccini. He was accompanied by Assistant Professor of Music Nicholas Shaneyfelt on piano. Schang said that he was very happy to be named a winner of the competition, especially since this particular performance had a lot of pressure involved.


“[Performances] are a mental game; you have to go into them without any expectations [and] all you can do is your best,” Schang said. “I try to keep a level head, whether it’s good or bad news; too much focus on getting results can derail a performer.”


Holt, who was also accompanied by Shaneyfelt, performed the first movement of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16”, entitled “Andantino; Allegretto”.  He first began practicing the piece seven months ago; he had it completely memorized by winter break and practiced for about an hour every day for the last month to get ready for the competition. He called the entire experience “frustrating but rewarding.”


“Prokofiev’s second piano concerto is so distinct and exciting, yet it is not a piece many are familiar with.” Holt said. “This competition was a great way to share it with others, and I have had so much fun doing so.”


Galvez, a violinist, performed Max Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26”. Accompanied by Staff Collaborative Pianist Corey Silberstein, Galvez performed the first two movements of the piece, “Vorspiel: Allegro Moderato” and “Adagio”. He did not respond to requests for comment.


As winners of the competition, Schang, Holt and Galvez will each get the chance to perform with the Luther College Symphony Orchestra. Schang said this possible opportunity was a big reason why he decided to be a part of the competition.


“As an opera singer, we perform with orchestras all the time in the professional realm,” Schang said. “In an undergraduate institution, there are limited opportunities to perform with an orchestra, so I participated in this competition for a chance to gain some experience singing with an orchestra rather than a piano.”


The competition judges also recognized Mark Severtson (‘24) and Kyle Pido (‘25) for Honorable Mention. In his statement to the rest of the music department, Baldwin congratulated all seven of the performers who advanced to the final round of competition.


All of the finalists performed with artistry, poise, energy, and musicality,” Baldwin wrote in his statement. “Congratulations to all of our participants, and to each of the applied studios represented.”


Mary Osborne (‘23) attended the final round of competition and said she was “blown away” by every performer. While she went into the concert excited to support her friends and the work they’d put into preparing their concertos, she said she came away motivated by the level of dedication Luther students have to their music.


“It is so inspiring to witness the talent we have at this school,” Osborne said. “Those who auditioned for the concerto competition dedicated hours of their time to perfect these pieces and they deserve to show off their talent. Plus, they always inspire me to practice my instrument more.”


Schang advised future students interested in the competition to simply “perform what they love”.


“Yes, work with your teacher to find something that fits your technical proficiency level,” Schang said. “But, if you truly love the piece you are performing, that should be all you need to be able to work towards maximizing your potential.”


Schang, Galvez and Holt’s performances with the Symphony Orchestra will be announced at a later date.