Concerto Competition Winners Announced

The School of Music is pleased to announce the winners of the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. All three winners will be invited to perform with the UISO in a future season.

Benjamin Carrasquillo, trombone
Jonathan Dufresne, saxophone
Junhong (Ivan) Jiang, piano

Benjamin Carrasquillo
Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra, Henri Tomasi

Ben Carrasquillo is a versatile trombonist who actively performs classical, jazz, and commercial music. He is currently pursuing his DMA in Trombone Performance from the University of Illinois, while also maintaining an active freelance career across the Midwest.  

Ben performs regularly with symphony orchestras in the Midwest, including Sinfonia da Camera, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, the Danville Symphony Orchestra, the Heartland Festival Orchestra, and the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra. As a jazz and commercial player, he has performed with the World-Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Temptations and the Four Tops, the Beach Boys, the national tour of Chicago: The Musical, and more.  

Ben has received numerous awards and honors on both the classical and jazz sides of the instrument, including winning the Eastern Trombone Workshop (now American Trombone Workshop) Division 1 Classical Solo Competition (2012). He also competed as a finalist in the International Trombone Festival’s Robert Marsteller Competition (2013), the ETW Division 2 Classical Solo Competition (2014), and the ATW Division 1 Jazz Solo Competition (2015), as well as being named a member of the Fellow Class at the 2013 Alessi Seminar. In the summer of 2015, Ben was a member of the Disneyland All-American College Band, a highly prestigious program that selects 21 outstanding college musicians from across the United States to perform for 11 weeks at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. During this time, he worked under Dr. Ron McCurdy of the University of Southern California and performed with world-renowned musicians such as Alex Iles, Sal Lozano, Wayne Bergeron, Gregg Field, John Clayton, Jiggs Whigham, Steve Houghton, and Rex Richardson. 

Ben received his bachelor’s degree in music performance and jazz studies from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL, where he studied with Jon Whitaker and Chris Kozak. He completed his master’s degree in jazz studies from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, under the tutelage of Jim Pugh.  

Jonathan Dufresne
Concerto for Saxophone, Henri Tomasi

Jonathan Dufresne is a Houma, Louisiana native. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Louisiana State University, where he studied under Dr. Griffin Campbell and Professor Doug Stone. Here he was bestowed many awards and scholarships such as the LSU Premiere Music Scholarship Award, the jury Lagniappe Award, and the Marine Corps Music Scholarship, to name a few.

During this time, Jonathan has been an active performer and educator. As a soloist, he has competed in several solo competitions such as the 2019 North American Saxophone Alliance Region 6 Collegiate Solo Competition, where he placed 2nd. Additionally, he has maintained an active performance agenda throughout the community from being hired to perform as a soloist with the LMEA All State Orchestra, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, church services, wedding ceremonies, and much more. Playing soprano in his Chimes Street Quartet, they placed 2nd in the graduate division of the 2017 NOLA Chamber Fest, 3rd place in 2019, and competed at the regional level of MTNA in 2018. While pursuing his M.M. degree, as the tenor saxophonist of the Cyan Quartet, they finished as finalists in the Coltman Chamber Music Competition, semi-finalists in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and performed Chen Yi’s saxophone quartet concerto, Ba Yin with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Wind Symphony. Strongly valuing versatility, Jonathan has been hired to perform alongside cover bands and occasional celebrities such as Ginuwine and Robin Thicke, for numerous wedding receptions, corporate events, private parties, festivals, and sporting events including the 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

As an educator, Jonathan has held several teaching positions as a saxophone instructor at various middle and high schools across the south Louisiana region. Two of these positions include saxophone instructor at Juban Parc Jr. High School in Juban, Louisiana and Dutchtown High School in Geismar, Louisiana. Throughout his time in Louisiana, Jonathan has consistently maintained a private studio of 11-15 students, many of which have participated in the LMEA All State ensembles.

Jonathan is currently pursuing a Master in Music degree in saxophone performance and literature at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign under the tutelage of Professor Debra Richtmeyer.

Junhong (Ivan) Jiang
Totentanz, S. 126, Franz Liszt

After starting his first piano lessons at the age of five, Chinese pianist Junhong (Ivan) Jiang was a frequent laureate of national competitions held in China. In the United States, he has performed at masterclasses with Pascal Rogé, Yoheved Kaplinsky, John Owings, John O’Conor, Bernd Goetzke, Arie Vardi, Paulina Zamora, and Ian Hobson. He has studied extensively with Jin Song Xian, Max Levinson, André Watts, and Timothy Ehlen. After completing the prestigious Artist Diploma program at the Indiana University under the tutelage of André Watts, in 2019, Jiang was accepted to Doctor of Musical Arts program at the University of Illinois as the recipient of Ross Fellowship and is currently appointed as accompanist for vocal lessons and ensembles. As an active collaborative pianist, he has performed with the Sinfonia de Camera, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, in addition to various student orchestras. In 2016, he was invited to perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto in F Minor at the Emerson Paramount Center Theater in Boston. Jiang has given numerous solo and collaborative recitals across the country. Recent achievements include three-time nomination for the Krannert Debut Artist, First Prize at the Masters of Piano Concerto from the Great Composers Competition Series, First Prize at the MAP International Music Competition, and full-tuition scholarship recipient at the PianoTexas International Festival and Academy (2019). In his leisure time, Jiang enjoys composing, reading, watching movies, and playing board games.

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