The Winners

Young Artist Competition

Due to the current situation surrounding COVID-19, the Mesabi Symphony Orchestra is postponing auditions for its 2020 Young Artist Competition. We regret the postponement, but with all Minnesota schools and universities closed or online-only, there are too many difficulties presented at this time.

We will announce new dates for applications and auditions in Fall 2020. Please watch this space for further announcements.

Mesabi Symphony Orchestra host an annual Young Artists Competition. Music students of high school and college age through age 25 are eligible to apply if they are US residents living with 130 miles of Virginia, Minnesota. Vocal, instrumental, and piano students may apply.

The application process entails submission of a digital recording, followed by an in-person audition before a panel of judges. Only the most qualified applicants are chosen to participate in the live auditions.

The two winners then perform with the symphony in a future concert.

The winners of the 2019 competition are Gabrielle Koepke, 18 and home schooled, violinist, and Megan Taves, soprano, who will be graduating this year from the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD).

G Koepke

Gabrielle Koepke

Gabrielle Koepke, 18, is a homeschooled high school senior from Eveleth, MN, who has been playing piano since age seven and violin since age ten. Gabrielle previously studied with Dr. Nicholas Susi of St. Scholastica and is currently shifting her focus from classical music to composition and jazz improv. She is a violinist in the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra and annually gives solo recitals at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Duluth. Gabrielle also won the 2019 Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition. She loves music because it allows her to communicate emotions, discover and create melodic patterns, and explore percussive and sound-mimicking effects.

Megan Taves

Megan Taves

Megan Taves, soprano, will be graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) in May of 2020, with an assistantship for a Master of Music in vocal performance, where she has studied with Rachel Inselman since 2014.

Her recent roles include ensemble member for Lyric Opera of the North’s (LOON) production of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors in 2020, and their production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore in 2019. At UMD she covered the role of the Governess in Britten’s Turn of the Screw in 2019, performed the title role in Floyd’s Susannah in 2018, as well as the Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in 2018, Ayla in the 2017 world premiere of William Brueggemann’s Osseo, Son of the Evening Star, Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in 2017, and was a member of the ensemble in The Duluth Underground’s production of Ruddigore by Gilbert and Sullivan in 2017.

Her oratorio experiences include performing as the soprano soloist in UMD’s 2019 production of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace.

In 2017, Ms. Taves was chosen to participate in an International collaborative exchange between the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Lyon and the University of Minnesota Duluth to sing in both a French/American art song recital and musical theater semi-staged recital in Duluth and in Lyon, France. She is a recipient of a 2018 Matinee Musicale scholarship, the 2019/2020 and 2018/2019 Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra Bakke Scholarship to be the soprano section leader, and is the 2019/2020 choral scholarship recipient at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Duluth.

Upcoming engagements in 2020 includes portraying the role of Laetitia in UMD’s production of Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief  and a member of the ensemble for LOON’s production of Puccini’s Tosca.