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Contact: Tom McLaughlin
E-mail: tmclaugh@kean.edu

Kean Student Wins Hudson Symphony Orchestra's Youth Concerto Competition

UNION, NJ - Kenny Medina, a senior music education major and student of Concert Artist James Musto at Kean University, recently won the Hudson Symphony Orchestra's Youth Concerto Competition in Jersey City, N.J. The first of its kind in Northern New Jersey, the competition provides young musicians from Hudson County with a chance to compete to perform as a soloist with the Hudson Symphony Orchestra, performing a concerto of their own choice. Under the direction of Dr. Yili Lin, the orchestra and Medina will perform Darius Milhaud’s Concerto for Percussion and Small Orchestra on Thursday, October 22, at 7 p.m. in Roy Irving Theatre at St. Peter's College in Jersey City. The concert will include music by Ravel, Grieg and others.

A resident of North Bergen, N.J., Medina specializes in percussion, including drum set, timpani and xylophone. He began playing marching percussion instruments by ear at 16 years of age while a student at the former Emerson High School in Union City, N.J. He then began playing drum set - again, strictly by ear - when he was 17. It was during his junior year at St. Peter's College in Jersey City that he took his first official music lesson and began to learn how to read music. "I was 19 going on 20, which is very late considering how early most other instrumentalists and vocalists start," recalled Medina.

Medina’s education then continued to prosper as a student in Kean’s "unparalleled" Department of Music. "I am surrounded by amazing faculty members, world class concert artists, and a vibrant and highly talented student body," Medina said. "There are endless opportunities for both the education and performing enthusiast alike."

He especially credits the guidance of Musto, his teacher and mentor. "I admit that, like most musicians, I forged myself in the fire of my own will," he said. "However, it was through his experience and vision that I have been able to reach my current state and will continue to grow through the rest of my life. He is like a father to me, probably the closest thing to one in my life, and I will always be grateful."

After graduating from Kean, Medina plans to audition for a masters program at a conservatory, such as the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) or The Juilliard School. He intends to balance a career as both a music educator and an avid performer. "I believe that one cannot teach a craft at which he or she is not proficient," he said. "How can a musician learn from someone who isn't passionate or even good at their own instrument?"

Medina’s talent can be heard on the on the Percussion Ensemble at Kean (PEAK) CD released last year. "It is an excellent profile of not only the talent found right here at Kean, but also fun and exciting literature written for percussion instruments," he said.