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Graduate student wins music competition and will perform at the Kennedy Center
Monday, May 07, 2018

Graduate student wins music competition and will perform at the Kennedy Center

Dennis O'Keefe at the marimba.

Fredonia School of Music graduate student and percussionist Dennis O'Keefe is a winner in the prestigious VSA International Young Soloists Competition and will perform on the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Millennium Stage on May 30.

   Reporter Ali Ingersall from WIVB-TV interviews
  Dennis O'Keefe.

VSA is The International Organization on Arts and Disability. The competition is a Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability program of the Kennedy Center, and focuses on identifying, elevating and celebrating the work of young musicians living with disabilities. Mr. O’Keefe will receive a $2,000 award and spend a week participating in pre-professional activities including rehearsals and roundtable discussions with music professionals. The May 30 performance is free and open to the public and will be streamed online at In addition to O’Keefe, award recipients included violinist Eva Casado Ariza from Barcelona, Spain; cellist Madeline Sheard from Maple Grove, Minn., and the Out of Time Barbershop Quartet including Devin Canavally from Waterfliet, Burke Herrick from Schoharie, Christian Gomez from Schenectady, and Bobby Frazier from Fort Plain.

O'Keefe, of Rochester, N.Y., a student of Dr. Kay Stonefelt, will receive his Master of Music degree next week in Music Performance. He also won the 2017 Fredonia School of Music's Concerto Competition and performed with the Fredonia College Symphony as soloist on May 5. O'Keefe has performed across upstate New York State and in the mid-Atlantic region, including at the Kutztown Celebrate Marimba! Festival. Born autistic, O’Keefe earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Performance in 2015 from Ithaca College School of Music under the guidance of Gordon Stout and Conrad Alexander.

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