The Jury


2021  Senior String Division Jurors

Julio Elizalde, piano

Artistic Director, Olympic Music Festival

Liz Freivogel, viola

Jupiter Quartet; Artist-in-Residence, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Michael Kannen, cello

Director of Chamber Music, Peabody Conservatory; Founding member, Brentano String Quartet

Rachel Barton Pine, violin

Concert violinist, recording artist



2021  Senior Wind  Division Jurors

Valerie Coleman, flute

Assistant Professor, Frost School of Music at the University of Miami

Louis Hanzlik, trumpet

American Brass Quintet; Professor, University of Connecticut & Juilliard

Chien-Kwan Lin, saxophone

Professor, Eastman School of Music; Director, Eastman Saxophone Project (ESP)

Gail Williams, horn

Professor of Horn, Northwestern University



2021  Junior String Division Jurors

Pamela Highbaugh Aloni, cello

Lafayette String Quartet; School of Music, University of Victoria

James Howsmon, piano

Oberlin Conservatory of Music

Karen Kim, violin

Jasper String Quartet; Artist-in-Residence, Swarthmore College


2021  Junior Wind  Division Jurors

Peter Ellefson, trombone

Professor, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University Bloomington

Kari Landry, clarinet

Akropolis Reed Quintet

Zachary Shemon, saxophone

Alto Saxophonist, PRISM Quartet; Associate Professor Saxophone, University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory


Review an archive of past Fischoff Competition jurors (through 2020).

The Fischoff takes great pride in inviting the nation's finest musicians and music educators to serve as Competition jurors.  Each Competition Division – string, wind, and junior – is adjudicated by the finest professional specialists in each field.  Jurors come together to form a larger panel for the Final round.

Selecting the “best” ensemble from all of the competitors can be a Herculean task.  The jurors do have some formulas on which they can rely.  However, their decisions are guided primarily by their own musical integrity and experience as performers and instructors.  They listen for interpretation – tempi and dynamics; ensemble performance – balance within the ensemble, blend, and unity of the members; technical accuracy – rhythm and intonation; and overall performance – poise, artistic impression, and expression.

Jurors individually rank the ensembles in each division. These rankings are combined, then averaged for each ensemble to arrive at a group’s composite ranking.  Rankings are a good method for determining the prize winners, but the real value for these young musicians comes from the written comments of the jurors.  The juror evaluations are distributed to all performing ensembles at the completion of the Competition.  From the written comments, the musicians gain valuable and constructive feedback, which is intended to stimulate their growth as artists and ensembles.

Identifying conflict of interest issues is very important to the integrity of the Competition.  During all Competition rounds, ensembles perform anonymously, identified to the jury only by number.  Conflicts of interest between jurors and ensembles or any individuals within an ensemble are carefully addressed and handled appropriately.