Sybarite5 wins the 2011 Concert Artist Guild Competition!

Hello friends! It is a happy time here in Sybarite world. After hours upon hours of intense preparation, rehearsals, and concerts over the past several months, we are beyond thrilled to announce that we have won the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Competition! This means that we have been added to CAG’s roster and we are now under management with them. We are honored to be in the company of some incredible musicians and ensembles, and also offer our deepest congratulations to this year’s fellow winners, the Amphion String Quartet and mezzo-soprano Naomi O’Connell! In addition to winning the competition, we were also awarded the Sylvia Ann Hewlett “Adventurous Artist Prize.”

We’ll give you a little peek behind the scenes to describe the process and experience of getting to this point. Back in March of this year, we, along with about 375 other artists, submitted a CD recording to be considered for the live semi-final audition. We were informed a few months later, in June, that we had been accepted to play a semi-final audition in October. While we were very excited to be given the opportunity, we knew we had a lot of work to do, so we made sure to prepare as best as we could. Our first task was to choose repertoire; we chose pieces that represented our unique voice—some Radiohead, Piazzolla, new works written for us, and even some Led Zeppelin! Over the summer, while we were in Aspen, Colorado in our role as the Alumni Ensemble of the Aspen Music Festival, we made sure to rehearse as often and efficiently as possible to keep consistency and momentum in our preparations. We also had the opportunity to perform the repertoire many times in Aspen, Carbondale, and Albuquerque, NM. We recorded these performances whenever possible and listened back to see what we felt needed improvement. Upon our return to New York in early September, we cleared our schedules of other commitments, (as best we could), and began rehearsal “marathons.” We even retreated to New Jersey and Connecticut for a couple of days to rehearse free from distractions of city life. By the time we played our first NYC concert of the season at WMP Concert Hall on October 5, we were feeling pretty secure with our repertoire, but kept fine-tuning it in rehearsals the week before the competition.

We headed to our semi-final audition on October 14 at the Yamaha piano salon feeling, yes, a little nervous, but mostly excited to share our music. We played for about 15 minutes for a panel of about 12 judges, and were able to play bits and pieces of several works. The proctors from the competition told us that we’d get a call later that night if we had been advanced to the final round. So we waited, and around 9pm we were informed that we had advanced! We were invited to play a 20-minute program of our choosing in Merkin Concert Hall the following week. So once we chose our program, we set to work rehearsing those works intensively, and planning things like what we would wear and what we would say in between the pieces.

On October 19th at 12:00pm we walked on stage in Merkin Hall and delivered the best performance we could muster. This round was open to the public, and we were performing for friends and supporters there in addition to the ten-member jury panel. This performance felt more satisfying than the semi-finals, and we gave it our all! An agonizing eight hours later, we got the call saying that we’d won the competition! We were completely overwhelmed: elated, grateful, and honored. We were invited to perform our final round set at the winner’s concert the following day. At that concert (where the other two winners also performed—beautifully!), we found out about the additional prize we’d won. The next day we met with our new management team and we know we’re in good hands.

This has been a rewarding process, and though we are exhausted we are so excited for our future with CAG. All this would not have been possible without our extensive and wonderful support system—our families, friends and fans who have supported us by coming to our concerts, buying our CD’s, and donating their time, energy, and funds to help us along the way. Thank you all!!