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SMU French Horn Student Daniel Hawkins (’15) Wins First Place at National MTNA Competition

The award included a $3,000 prize, and a performance in the Young Artist Winners Concert in Chicago on March 25.

Daniel Hawkins with MTNA President Kenneth Christensen.
Photo Credit: Harry Butler

Daniel Hawkins, a junior studying for a Bachelor of Music in French horn at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, has won first place in the brass category of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artist Performance Competition, held March 22-26 in Chicago.

The award included a $3,000 prize, provided by the MTNA Foundation Fund, and a performance in the Young Artist Winners Concert in Chicago on March 25.

The Young Artist category is open to musicians aged 19-26, and includes separate competitions in brass, strings, woodwinds, piano and voice. Students must perform works from at least two different periods of music (Baroque, classic, romantic, impressionistic or contemporary). Hawkins won in the brass category with his performance of Introduction and Allegro, op. 30 by Johan Kvandal; Romance, op. 36 by Camille Saint-Saëns; and Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, op. 11 by Richard Strauss. His accompanist in the competition was Dario Martin, who is studying for his Performer’s Diploma in piano at Meadows.

“This has been a great experience for both Dario and me,” said Hawkins. “I am proud to have had the opportunity to represent SMU and grateful for the training and support I’ve gotten from all of my teachers and from the Meadows School.”

The national competition is the final level of the three-tiered MTNA competition, which includes state and division contests. Hawkins won the Texas state competition in November 2013 and the South Central Division competition, which also included performers from Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, in January in Louisiana. The national finals included players from across the United States.

“To make the finals of an MTNA Young Artist competition is a great honor because it means that the young musician has won preliminary rounds at both state and regional levels, competing against many of the nation’s top collegiate musicians,” said Sam Holland, director of the Meadows School Division of Music. “But to win at national is a true distinction. Out of all of the college-level brass musicians in the entire country who entered MTNA, Daniel was judged the best. It’s equivalent to a number 1 ranking for a student-athlete. The faculty, staff and student body at SMU is extremely proud of his accomplishment.”

A native of Chandler, Texas, Hawkins studies at SMU with adjunct professor Greg Hustis, principal horn emeritus of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Haley Hoops, second horn player of the DSO and winner of the 2013 International Horn Competition of America. His former teachers have included Charles Gavin at Stephen F. Austin State University and John Dickson, a film/TV composer and recording artist. At SMU, Hawkins performs with the Meadows Symphony Orchestra and Meadows Wind Ensemble.

The Music Teachers National Association is a nonprofit organization of independent and collegiate music teachers committed to furthering the art of music through teaching, performance, composition and scholarly research. Founded in 1876, MTNA is the oldest music teachers association in the United States. For more information about MTNA, visit here.

Read more about the SMU Meadows Division of Music.

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