College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Winner of Concerto Scholarship Competition to Perform Solo with the CPP Philharmonic


Alejandro Barajas

Winner of the 2018 CPP Concerto Scholarship Competition Alejandro Barajas, a third-year music education student, will be showcasing Concerto No.1by Chin Cheng Lin (the marimba piece that he performed in the competition) as a solo piece for the CPP Philharmonic Orchestra and String Ensemble concert on Nov. 8. In addition, Barajas received $600 in scholarship money.

The scholarship competition consisted of eight student participants and a panel of judges including conductor of the orchestra Janine Riveire, the music department chair Peter Yates, alumna and music lecturer Sarah Wallin-Huff, former-lecturer Audrey Lamprey and Jonah Haddad, a member of the orchestra. “The marimba was the outstanding performance of the day,” Janine Riveire said. After the performances concluded, the judges announced the winner 15 minutes later, agreeing unanimously.

Fourth-year food science student and music minor CeeCee Cade placed runner-up in the competition performing Mozart'sConcerto in G major. “It was one of the friendliest environments I’ve seen,” Barajas said, speaking on the support of the other contestants. “I was a little surprised I won because I thought CeeCee’s and Kevin’s [Truong] performances were cool.” “I’ve never heard a marimba concerto before so it was exciting to hear something so different to traditional concerto pieces,” Cade said.

Barajas bought the concerto music as a challenge for himself after listening to a friend play it. Later turning in an application for the scholarship, Barajas decided he would stick with the piece for his performance. It took Barajas a month to familiarize himself with the music and another month to prepare with his piano accompanist Joshua Tessler, fifth-year music performance student. Director of the percussion ensemble Bill Schlitt took the time as well to give advice to Barajas to help him better his performance.

Barajas will now perform the piece with an orchestra to accompany him. “Most music departments do a competition like this because not everyone gets to do a big solo performance with an orchestra behind them. It’s an important experience,” Riveire said. The orchestra received the music for Barajas’ performance a few weeks into the semester and are now currently rehearsing with him to perfect their performance.  Barajas encourages everyone to attend the performance. “You don’t really see marimba concertos very often,” Barajas stated.

Applications for this year’s concerto scholarship competition will open in January 2019 which gives students time to pick their audition pieces now. Students who apply for the scholarship are required to be a music major or a music minor at CPP. The competition in April will be open to the public.

Tickets for the November 8thPhilharmonic Orchestra and Strings Concert are available online at or at the music box office #24-188 daily 12-1pm and one hour prior to concert time. For more information visit