Class of 2023
Esil Empig, piano
Esil Empig (piano) is a senior from Irvine, California. She was born in San Francisco and started her piano training at 5 years of age. When she was 9 years old, she moved to Southern California where she continued her piano training with Dr. Valentina Gottlieb. Esil has been a winner at numerous competitions including the Music Teachers Association of California Baroque and Contemporary Festivals, the Southern California Junior Bach Festival, as well as the Southwestern Youth Music Festival, where she garnered 1st place in the Classical Complete Works, Open Classical, and Open Baroque Categories from 2015 through 2018. In 2016, she was invited to the prestigious AVANTI International Youth Festival in Riga, Latvia, where she performed throughout Latvia as part of the International Young Talents. That same year, she placed 2nd in the Thirteenth Annual Sejong Music Competition in Chicago. Esil was accepted to the prestigious Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) Pianist Program in 2015. At OCSA, Esil was selected to be a part of the Chamber Music program, Vocal Collaboration program, and was honored to be the pianist for the prestigious Frederick Fennell Wind Studies Program. She was also awarded the Great Promise and Motivation Award by the OCSA piano program faculty. Esil is a student of Clara Yang.
Julia Holoman, mezzo-soprano
Julia Holoman (mezzo-soprano) is a senior Kenan Music Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill studying with Dr. Jeanne Fischer and pursing her Bachelor’s of Music degree in classical voice performance. Over the past year Julia has studied and performed the roles of L’enfant in Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortilèges, and Mother in Meredith Monk’s Atlas under the direction of Dr. Marc Callahan with UNC’s Opera Workshop. She also performed the role of Dorothée in Massenet’s Cendrillon last summer at Miami Summer Music Festival and is looking forward to performing Nerone this fall in UNC’s production of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. Julia regularly competes and places in the NATS competitions, placing 1st in the Mid-Atlantic regionals during Spring 2021. Upcoming collaborative projects include ArtsEverywhere’s Arts Innovation grant with fellow Kenan Music Scholar Matthew Svec, where the two will be using the funds to commission three UNC student composers to write for mezzo voice, clarinet, and string quartet on their concept entitled “Intimate Distance.”
Matthew Svec, clarinet
Matthew Svec (clarinet) is a senior from Roanoke, Virginia. He has studied under Teresa Hedrick and Dr. Cassandra Hibbard and was engaged in several groups in and around the Roanoke area. Matthew was an active member in the Roanoke Youth Symphony, Winds of the Blue Ridge, the Roanoke Valley Community Band, and Blasmusik Aschheim, e.V. In addition, he has soloed with his youth symphony and community band, performed in the Blue Ridge Music Festival, and substituted as principal clarinet for the Rockbridge Symphony Orchestra. Though at home this summer, Matthew was part of Orchestre de la Francophonie’s first remote festival and performed in an online masterclass with Ricardo Morales. He also hosted several socially distanced wind quintet rehearsals in his driveway. Outside of clarinet, Matthew has played the piano since he was 5, enjoys learning new languages, and has a soft spot for Schubert, Shostakovich, and Messiaen. Matthew is a student of Donald Oehler.
Alex Upton, saxophone
Alex Upton (saxophone) is an alto and soprano saxophonist with a deep interest in jazz performance, history, and pedagogy. Alex has performed with many ensembles in the Piedmont area including the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra and Greensboro Youth Jazz Ensemble. As a soloist, he has been featured on multiple occasions at the John Coltrane International Jazz & Blues Festival and at events for the North Carolina State Board of Education. When not performing, Alex enjoys teaching and volunteering his time to help other musicians find their voice. Alex is on faculty at the John Coltrane Jazz Workshop serving as the saxophone masterclass instructor and for the past two years has served as the co-founder and musical director for the Davidson County Chamber Winds.