Brilliant 'Impromptu' rendition wins national music competition

Topic: College of Fine Arts

June 20, 2008

A stellar harp performance earned Ball State University student Ashley Wells first prize in the Instrumental Division of the Glenn Miller National Music Scholarship Competition.

The judging took place June 12 in Clarinda, Iowa, the birthplace of the famed bandleader. By taking top honors, Wells, a sophomore from Houston, earned a $4,000 scholarship and was a featured performer during the coinciding Glenn Miller Festival.

Wells performed a brilliant rendition of Gabriel Faure's "Impromptu" as part of her winning performance, recounted Elizabeth Richter, professor of harp at Ball State's School of Music.

"I'm delighted but not surprised that Ashley won the competition," she said. "She performs with exceptional virtuosity and musicality, and she worked very hard and was thoroughly prepared. I'm tremendously proud of her!"

This honor adds to an already impressive musical resume. Wells is a multiple winner of the Milligan Harp Competition in Houston in additional to being a three-time Texas All-State Orchestra winner and a four-time Texas Region 23 Orchestra winner.

At Ball State, she has earned a Ball State Presidential Scholarship and a Young Artist Award from the School of Music. She also has performed with the Harp Ensemble, the Ball State Symphony Orchestra and the Wind Ensemble. And this summer, Wells plans to attend the renowned Sewanee Summer Music Festival in Tennessee.

The Glenn Miller competition was established in 1976 and Wells is the second Ball State harp student to win first prize. Rachel Browne won in 2001.

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