CLEMSON — Compositions by Mozart, music from the film “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and the three winners of the annual Clemson University Young Concerto/Aria Competition are featured in the Clemson University Symphony Orchestra’s first concert of the season.

Conductor Andrew Levin will lead the orchestra and competition winners at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, at the Brook Center for the Performing Arts. Violinist Sara Beam, violist Chelsea Adballa and vocalist Erika Newlands are the winners of the 2009 young artists competition.

“These are three very talented musicians,” said Levin. “They should be very exciting to watch and listen to.”

Beam, a 15-year-old native of Greenville, will perform the first movement of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto.

“Sara has a beautiful tone and a maturity beyond her years,” said Levin. “This concerto features many aspects of violin playing, which she handles with ease.”

Abdalla, a junior at Wade Hampton High School in Greenville, will perform the first movement of J.C. Bach’s “Viola Concerto in C Minor.”

“This will be a special treat, since audiences don’t often hear viola soloist in a concert,” Levin said. “Chelsea’s rich tone is perfectly matched to the music of J.S. Bach’s famous son.”

Newlands is a Clemson University sophomore majoring in performing arts. She will perform “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from the musical “Funny Girl.”

“Erika has tremendous energy and certainly knows how to sell a song. She gets completely into character and presents a vocally compelling performance,” Levin said.

One of the Mozart works features Clemson senior Michael Juang, performing the oboe solo in the first movement of Mozart’s “Oboe Quartet, and three players from the Clemson University String Quartet.

“Fanfare for Brass” is a work for orchestral brass section composed specifically for this concert by Clemson University trombonist Nathan Whittaker. The fanfare features the entire brass section plus timpani. Whitaker is a junior majoring in productions studies in performing arts with a concentration in music composition. He also studies with Bob Jones University professor Dwight Gustafson.

Adult tickets to the Clemson University Symphony Orchestra concert are $5. Student admission is free. Tickets and additional information are available at or by calling the box office at 864-656-7787 from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.


2009 Clemson University Young Concerto/Aria Competition winners

Sara Beam, 15, is a home-schooled sophomore. She began private violin lessons at age 9 under Joanna Mulfinger Lebo and studied piano from age 6. Beam is a member of the Young Artists Orchestra, the featured orchestra of the Greenville County Youth Orchestras. She is the winner of the 2008 and 2009 Greenville Women’s Music Club Scholarship Competition. In 2008, she won top honors at the Wesleyan University Competition. She earned second place in the Crescent Music Club Competition. Beam hopes to continue her studies at Bob Jones University and later attend a music conservatory.

Chelsea Abdalla is a junior at Wade Hampton High School and the Fine Arts Center in Greenville. A viola student for six years, she studies with Kathryn Dey. At the Fine Arts Center, she studies chamber music with John Ravnan and music theory and history with Dr. Jon Grier. She also studies piano and has learned from Deborah Freeman for 11 years. She also sings with the St. Mary’s Church Choir. Adballa is a member of the Greenville County Youth Orchestra, where she is the assistant principal viola, and is vice president of the Greenville Harmony Music Club. She has attended summer camps at the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and at the Eastman School of Music.

Erika Newlands is a sophomore at Clemson University majoring in performing arts. She studies voice with Dr. Lisa Odom and sings in the Clemson Singers and the Clemson Jazz Combo.  A fan of musicals, she recently appeared in the Clemson University production of “Two Gentleman of Verona (The Rock Musical).”