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Claire Marquardt is the winner of the Second Annual East Central University Concerto Competition, it was announced recently by the ECU Music Department.

Marquardt, a junior from Poteau, will have the honor of performing a piano solo with the ECU Wind Ensemble’s Spring Concert on Thursday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ataloa Theatre of the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center.

She will perform George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, one of the most popular pieces ever arranged for piano and wind ensemble.

During her time at ECU, Marquardt has won honorable mention at the Oklahoma Music Teachers’ Association Collegiate Contest and has performed at their annual convention. She also won the collegiate division of the Lynn Freeman Olson Composition Contest in 2011.

Marquardt will graduate from ECU in 2014 and plans to attend graduate school for piano performance.

She was introduced to piano at age 4 by her mother and continued studying with her grandmother as part of her homeschooling. At age 12, she became a student of Mrs. Noma Curtis. She competed at Oklahoma Federation of Music Clubs festivals and, at age 13, won the piano duet division at the state level, followed by three state solo wins.

For several summers, Marquardt attended Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony, where she met ECU professor Dr. Starla Hibler. Her time at the arts colony was instrumental in her decision to pursue music as a career.

Marquardt won the IPFAC Junior and Senior Solo Competitions, as well as the Concerto Competition and multiple state and regional awards. In addition, Marquardt received honorable mention, at the high school level, in the national Lynn Freeman Olson Composition Contest.

“I am very happy that this year’s competition found another talented young musician to showcase at the upcoming concert,” said Juliana Overmier, ECU flute instructor and competition coordinator. “I am equally happy that the competition itself has been so well received, and will continue as an annual event generously funded by the Masonic Endowment for Cultural Enrichment. Their support, added to the combined efforts of the ECU music faculty, will ensure that the Concerto Competition will be successful in supporting and encouraging emerging musicians for many years to come. It has been a pleasure to be associated with this event.”

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