IWU Alumnus Wins Concerto Competition at the University of Kentucky
December 7, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Illinois Wesleyan University alum Michael Lawton, a graduate of
the class of 2008, was recently declared one of two winners in the University of Kentucky
Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition.
Last year, Lawton, currently a graduate student at the University of Kentucky (UK),
was encouraged by his clarinet professor to memorize a concerto piece over the summer.
Lawton chose to perform “Premiere Rhapsodie” by composer Claude Debussy. Initially,
Lawton said the piece did not captivate him, but as he began to practice and listen
to recordings, he found he truly enjoyed it. “At times it is ethereal while at other
times it requires great technical facility, moving seamlessly from one palette of
color to the next. It’s really quite beautiful,” said Lawton.
Lawton, who was one of the winners of Illinois Wesleyan University's annual Henry
Charles Memorial Concerto/Aria Competition during the 2006-2007 school year, is currently
in his second year of earning a master’s in clarinet performance at UK. He will graduate
in May of 2010 and hopes to return to Illinois and begin his career as a full-time
“My training at Illinois Wesleyan prepared me to be both a strong musician and academic,”
said Lawton, who noted his admiration of Illinois Wesleyan professors such as Assistant
Professor of Music Roger Garrett. “I attribute a significant portion of my success
at the University of Kentucky to having studied with him.”
Contact: Kristin Fields, ’12, (309) 556-3181