Every year the FIU School of Music sponsors the Concerto Competition, providing an opportunity for students to perform a concerto or similar work with the FIU Symphony Orchestra during its spring concert. The competition is a rigorous process with both internal and external judges.
This year’s winners of the 2018 Concerto Competition Collegiate Division are:
Sinan Çayir, piano – music performance major, Totentanz by Franz Liszt
Jose Reyes, violin – music performance major, Violin Concerto No. 2 by Henryk Wieniawski, 3rd Movement
This year’s winner of the 2018 Concerto Competition High School Division is:
Sophia Torres, viola, Miami Arts Charter, Bruch Romanze for Viola
Sinan Çayir was born in 1992 in Ankara and began performing in public at the age of eleven, the same year he began his formal studies at the Ankara State Conservatory of Hacettepe University with Professor Oznur Orbay. By the age of 15, Çayir already had participated in the masterclasses of world-renowned musicians such as Pamela Mia Paul and Idil Biret.
Continuing his studies under the guidance of leading Eastern European concert pianists, including Gulsin Onay, Emre Elivar, Aleksander Madzar, and Misha Dacic at the Eklisia Summer Music School—a meeting place for internationally renowned musicians and up-and-coming performers—Çayir’s talents increasingly caught the eye of the top classical musicians in the art world.
In 2010, Çayir was invited to study at the prestigious Belarussian State Music Academy in Minsk under the guidance of notable Russian pianists Valery Shatsky and Igor Olovnikov. In 2013 he won the “Best Adnan Saygun Interpreter” prize at the 2nd International Ahmet Adnan Saygun Piano Competition in Turkey.
Çayir’s initial connection to Miami was in 2015 when he worked with internationally acclaimed pianists Walter Ponce, Francesco Libetta, Ilya Itin and Jorge Luis Prats at the Miami Summer Piano Academy. After two years of studying with celebrated pianist Misha Dacic in Mersin State Conservatory in Turkey, Çayir relocated to Miami in 2016 to train with FIU Artist-in-Residence and pianist Kemal Gekic at Florida International University where he currently is pursuing his degree in Music.
Jose Reyes was born in 1987 in the city of Caracas, Venezuela. He began his violin studies at the age of six in El Sistema academy, where he was immediately taken into their very own national youth orchestra. He then earned his place at the Mozarteum in Caracas in 2006, where he gained much experience in chamber music as well as greatly expanding his solo repertoire under the teachings of Losif Csengeri, Ruben Camacho, Virginie Robilliard and Simón Gollo.
Reyes then performed in numerous master classes around the world for renowned artists such as Francesco De Angeli (Concertmaster at La Scala Di Milano Symphony Orchestra), Alexis Cardenas (Concertmaster at The Paris Symphony Orchestra), Richard Biaggini (Santiango de Chile Symphony Orchestra), and many others.
In 2016, Reyes auditioned at the FIU School of Music where he was awarded a student assistantship. During his studies, he earned the title of Concertmaster for the FIU Symphony Orchestra. He is now in his final year of his graduate studies under the guidance of FIU Artist-in-Residence Misha Vitenson, the first violinist of the renowned Amernet String Quartet.
Sophia Torres, violist, is a junior at the Miami Arts Charter School. She is a member of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony. Sophia has participated in the Miami Music Festival and was featured in chamber music performances at at The Betsy – South Beach and Barry University. Sophia was first introduced to the viola by Aleksandar Djuric, orchestra director at Miami Arts Charter. She studies under the direction of FIU’s Artist-in-Residence Michael Klotz, violist of the Amernet String Quartet. Sophia has performed in masterclasses for distinguished violists such as Roberto Díaz and Catharine Carroll Lees. She resides in Miami Beach.