Congratulations to music performance major Emma Hill who received the Senior Cello award at the 2018 CalASTA (California American String Teachers Association) State Solo Competition on Oct 20 at the Ann E. Pitzer Center on the UC Davis campus.

At the competition, 43 competitors were divided into Novice, Junior and Senior divisions. According to CalASTA Chair Susan Lamb Cook, the competition showcased high caliber performances and was fiercely competitive across all three divisions.

Hill was impressed by the talented turnout, stating “it was inspiring and a little intimidating to hear the kids in the younger divisions warming up — they were incredible!”

Hill admitted that because this was her first time performing at a state level competition, she hadn’t expected to place. However, the win came as a welcome surprise that she was eager to share.

“I immediately called all of my family to tell them! Also, the support I received from my musician friends and colleagues following my win has been unreal; I am so grateful for them!” said Hill.

“Emma is one of the top students in the Department of Music both academically and as an instrumentalist,” stated Professor of Cello Dr. Thomas Loewenheim. “Emma is a unique talent bringing an intense ability to focus, a great technical facility, and a deep musical understanding of the music she performs.  I am sure she will become a wonderful musician and cellist.”

Hill began playing the cello in the fourth grade and has been fostering her musical talent for the past ten years.

She practiced her two performance pieces for three months in preparation of the competition and took advantage of opportunities to perform for an audience to ready herself for the big day.

“I performed in front of my cello studio peers about once a week all semester to get their advice and to practice playing for an audience,” stated Hill. “The night before the competition, I actually FaceTimed my grandparents to perform a practice run-through for them; they were very encouraging and helped me feel confident for the real thing.”