Student Soloist Competition Winners showcase diverse music

Rowan alumna, Paula DiGianvittorio, performing Puccini's "Vissi d'arte" from the opera "Tosca." -Staff Photo/Davin Jurgensen

Rowan alumna Paula Ann DiGianvittorio performs Puccini’s “Vissi d’arte” from the opera “Tosca.” -Staff Photo/Davin Jurgensen


Winners of the Rowan University Orchestra’s Student Soloist Competition took the stage at Pfleeger Concert Hall to showcase their musical ability.

The Feb. 25 concert presented the winners of the soloist competition. They included soprano Paula Ann DiGianivittorio, a Rowan alumna, singing Giacomo Puccini’s “Vissi d’arte” from the opera “Tosca,” junior music performance major Emily De Padua playing Carl Reinecke’s “Flute Concerto in D Major,” and Leonardo Soria on piano performing Edvard Grieg’s “Piano Concerto in A Minor.”

The program opened with Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide” and closed with Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5 in C Minor.”

“I thought the concert went very well,” said director Salvatore Scarpa, who has been with Rowan’s orchestra for 24 years.

The soloist competition has been a tradition for a long time, starting in the mid-1960s. Scarpa said the talent level of the students has grown. When he first started conducting at the university, there was only one concert to showcase individuals. Now there are two, with the next one taking place May 6, to showcase the remaining winners.

The orchestra began preparing for this concert at the beginning of the semester. Members who wished to audition for the soloist competition came prepared with a piece of music and auditioned in front of a panel of faculty members in the music department. The performers played the piece they auditioned with at the actual concert.

Flutist De Padua has been playing the flute since the fourth grade. As she was waiting for her fate in regard to her soloist audition, she was sitting at Taco Bell when she got her answer.

“I got the text and dropped my Taco Supreme,” De Padua said. “I was in sheer awe.” 

De Padua isn’t exactly sure what direction she wants to take her musical career but said that wherever it takes her, she will be happy.

Vocalist DiGianivittorio,  has completed her Masters of Music from Rowan. She is a very active operatic and orchestral concert performer. Tuesday night, DiGianivittorio sang to the audience in a silver gown with the full orchestra playing behind her.

Pianist Soria, the last soloist to perform at the concert, started his piano playing at age four in Argentina. Just a few of his accomplishments include an Honorable Mention at the Northlands Competition in 2004 and second prize at the Ginastera Competition in 2005. Both were held in Argentina.

The annual Orchestra Soloists Competition provided the audience with vast musical talent and will do so again at its second performance May 6.

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