Stephen Duncan, a junior bassoon performance major, has been named the alternate in the International Double Reed Society’s Young Artist competition, the most prestigious bassoon competition for players ages 22 and younger.
Duncan has been playing the bassoon for eight years, and, as alternate, he will get to compete for first place if any of the top three competitors are unable to compete.
This is the second time that Duncan has entered this competition. The first was his freshman year.
Duncan found out about his placement in the competition April 15, about three months after he submitted his recording.
“I was absolutely ecstatic when I received the news,” Duncan said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
The top three finalists are from the Julliard School, France and Venezuela.
“Stephen is incredibly ambitious and hard working, and this is the most impressive competition that any of my students has made it into,” said Douglas Spaniol, professor of music at Butler.
To prepare, Spaniol said that Duncan practiced for hours on his own to make the recording flawless. He also spent over 10 hours rehearsing with a pianist.
For this competition, the recording must remain unedited, meaning that Duncan had to play all the way through his piece each time until it was perfect.
Each contestant is given a list of repertoire to equalize the competition. Once you are chosen as a finalist or alternate, you are given another piece to prepare for the final competition.
The competition will take place June 2 in Tempe, Ariz., at the annual Double Reed Society convention.
“It is an honor to be a part of such a highly recognized competition,” Duncan said.