The violin group at the CSI Strings Competition

Young orchestra musicians from around Staten Island traveled to the College of Staten Island (CSI) for the first annual CSI Performance Competition for Strings. The only one of its kind on the Island, the event drew six high and four middle school students. Parents, students, and teachers experienced the sounds of strings at the winner’s recital, and organizer Dan Auerbach looks forward to continuing the tradition next year.

“These young people in the CSI competition show just what can happen if we can keep a young person’s dream alive,” commented Professor Auerbach, who ran a similar event in Georgia for many years. “I wanted to focus much-deserved attention on the wonderful musical talent in Staten Island and also on the hard work of area music teachers,” he noted.

The adjudicators for this year’s competition were Professors Auerbach and Edward Brown, both of the CSI Music Program of the Department of Performing and Creative Arts, and Maestro Alex Guzman of the Staten Island Philharmonic.

Joining the talent were Beanna Dzhaniashvili, Christina Pan, Teresa Saverimuttu, Michelle Shevtsov, Isabel Bruschi, and Lila Bruschi. All are violin students of Roman Berlinsky.

Maestro Alex Guzman, Dan Auerbach, student winners, and Edward Brown at the CSI Strings Competition.

Also in attendance were Tyler Almquist on classical guitar, a student of CSI’s own Enrico Arcaro; Liam Gates on violin, a student of Deanna Eliot; Teresa Lynch from The Mighty String Demons, a student of Sanchie Bobrow; and Ganling Chu Braganti, a student of Anthony Harper.

Winners in the high school division from Staten Island schools are as follows:

Ganling Chu Braganti, a Port Richmond High School student, playing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4; Teresa Lynch, a Staten Island Technical High School student, playing Accolay’s Violin Concerto No. 1; and Isabel Bruschi, a Port Richmond High School student, playing Bach’s Presto, from the G Minor violin sonata.

Winners in the middle school division from Staten Island schools are as follows:

Judges and competitors at the Competition.

Michelle Shevtsov, an IS 24 student, playing Charles de Beriot’s Violin Concerto No. 9; Beanna Dzhaniashvili, an IS 24 student, playing Accolay’s Violin Concerto No. 1; and Liam Gates, a Michael J. Petrides School student, playing Vivaldi’s A Minor Violin Concerto.

This year’s competition sponsors were Nan Sussman, PhD, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences; the CSI Administration; the Performing and Creative Arts Department at CSI; Valpak of Staten Island/Greater Brooklyn; and Strings & Other Things.

While organizers work to secure funding for next year’s event, Professor Auerbach plans to open the competition up to all Staten Island residents, who may or may not attend an Island school.