Briggs Chamber Music Competition

The Briggs Chamber Music Competition was created in an ongoing effort to encourage the excellence of chamber music performance at at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and to provide performance opportunities for various ensembles. It is named in honor of its benefactors and evolved from the Dale and Nancy Briggs Chamber Music Endowed Enrichment Fund, established in 2004 and endowed in 2006, to support program and/or scholarship needs in chamber music.


Winners will be notified via email, and the final results will be posted online.

This year due to COVID-related restrictions there will be no reception following the competition.


Steven Banks, saxophone, (Ithaca College)
Natalie Zhu, piano, (Kingston Chamber Music Festival)
Sang Mee Lee, violin, (Music Institute of Chicago)
Chris Anderson, trombone, (Oberlin Conservatory)
Suren Bagratuni, cello, (Michigan State University)


Open to any instrumentation/voice types in groups of 3-10 members. Every member of an entering group must be an enrolled student at Michigan in winter 2021.


As part of their application, groups must submit a repertoire list with at least 40 minutes of music and at least two complete works. The remainder of the list may be individual movements or shorter works. Every repertoire list will be evaluated for rigor before applications are accepted, and programming choices will factor into adjudication.

  • First prize: $4,000
  • Second prize: $2,000
  • Third Prize: $1,000
  • Michigan Composition Prize: $1,000 for best performance of a piece written by a University of Michigan composer (either a current student or a graduate from the classes of 2016-2020)

Winner’s Recital TBA



Steven Beck, piano (New York Philharmonic)
Sibbi Bernhardsson, violin (Oberlin Conservatory)
Vincent Chandler, jazz trombone (Wayne State University)
Monica Ellis, bassoon (Imani Winds)
Aiyun Huang, percussion (University of Toronto)

First prize

Westbound Situation Trio
Grant Flick, violin
Matthew Davis, banjo
Jacob Warren, double bass

Second prize

Sapphirus Quartet
Chad Lilley, soprano saxophone
Andrew Hasher, alto saxophone
Connor O’Toole, tenor saxophone
Matthew Koester, baritone saxophone

Third prize (tie)

Cerulean Quartet
Salvador Flores, soprano saxophone
Mitchell Luttermoser, alto saxophone
Alex Gurchinoff, tenor saxophone
Brian Kachur, baritone saxophone

Heriya Trio
Heewon Uhm, violin
Mary Fortino, clarinet
Xiaoya Liu, piano

Michigan Prize

Cerulean Quartet
for Jules Pegram: Hell or High Water



Kirsten Docter, viola (Oberlin Conservatory)
Nathalie Joachim, flute (Eighth Blackbird)
Peter Miyamoto, piano (University of Missouri)

First Prize

Ivalas Quartet
Reuben Kebede, vioin
Anita Dumar, violin
Caleb Georges, viola
Pedro Sánchez, cello

Second Prize

Saros Trio
Mickayla Chapman, clarinet
Chase Ward, violin
Shane McFadden, piano

Third Prize

Vayu Quintet
Anna Thompson, flute
Sagar Anupindi, oboe
Taylor Isberg, clarinet
Michaela Clague, horn
Daniel Fendrick, bassoon
Front Porch
Benjamin Jackson, violin
Maddy Wildman, bassoon
Jacob Rogers, percussion
Karalyn Schubring, piano

Michigan Prize

Saros Trio
for Corey Dundee: sb3



Philip Bush, piano (University of South Carolina)
Scott Hartman, trombone (Yale University)
Minghuan Xu, violin (Roosevelt University)

First Prize

Koinonia Trio
Christine Harada Li, violin
Nathaniel Pierce, cello
Hyejin Cho, piano

Second Prize

Vanguard Reed Quintet
Sagar Anupindi, oboe
Joseph Velez, clarinet
Sean Meyers, saxophone
Joseph Swift, bassoon
Danny Mui, bass clarinet

Third Prize

Sapphirus Quartet
Charles Lilley, soprano saxophone
Emmett Rapaport, alto saxophone
Connor O’Toole, tenor saxophone
Liam Dilenschneider, baritone saxophone

Michigan Prize

Vanguard Reed Quintet
for David Biedenbender: Refraction



David Bowlin, violin (Oberlin Conservatory)
Jonathan Gunn, clarinet (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra)
James Howsmon, piano (Oberlin Conservatory)

First Prize

Adamas Quartet
Russell Kerns, soprano saxophone
Connor Mikula, alto saxophone
Jonathan Hostottle, tenor saxophone
Jeffrey Leung, baritone saxophone

Second Prize

Clarinet Quintet
Joey Valez, Daniel Martinec, Stephen Chow, Jakob Lenhardt, and Mathieu Girardet, clarinets

Third Prize

String Quartet
Nicole Yue Fan, violin
Jecoliah Wang, violin
Abigail Choi, viola
Isabel Kwon, cello



Donald Baker, oboe (Detroit Symphony Orchestra)
Jean-Louis Haguenauer, piano (Indiana University)
Peter Salaff, violin (Cincinnati Institute of Music)

First Prize

Eero Saxophone Quartet
David Foley, soprano saxophone
Andrea Voulgaris, alto saxophone
Lisa Keeney, tenor saxophone
Brendan Kelly, baritone saxophone

Second Prize

String Trio
Grace Kim, violin
Omar Shelley, viola
Chris Young, cello

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance lost one of its dearest friends and supporters with the passing of Dale Edward Briggs on March 17, 2016. Dale, with his wife Nancy, was responsible for launching the Briggs Chamber Music Competition, funded by the Dale and Nancy Briggs Chamber Music Endowed Enrichment Fund, which Dale and Nancy created in 2004. The fund provides incentive for our students to form long-standing, high-caliber chamber groups and to prepare significant repertoire. The impact this fund has had on the School’s chamber music offerings and activities is immeasurable and growing deeper every day.

In February 2016, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance Alumni Society honored Dale by awarding him the 2016 Hall of Fame award. Dale was an integral part of the University of Michigan since 1957 when he first started his graduate work here. After completing his PhD in chemical engineering, he joined the faculty and taught in the College of Engineering for 38 years. Upon retiring in 1999, he began serving as an external member for Doctor of Musical Arts oral exam committees. He sat on over 100 doctoral committees, supporting the work of a wide range of performers, composers, and conducting DMA graduates.

Dale and Nancy have encouraged SMTD students at every level of study by being stalwart supporters of the performance activity at the School. Over their many years of involvement, they have rarely missed a performance in Hill Auditorium, Britton Recital Hall, McIntosh Theatre, Rackham Auditorium, Lydia Mendelssohn, and the Power Center, attending the many large ensemble, small ensemble, fully staged productions, student recitals and faculty recitals given each year by the School. Their presence in the audience and their thoughtful comments and encouragement afterward have had a profound impact on our community of students, faculty, and staff.

In addition to the amazing time and effort they have shared with SMTD students, Dale and Nancy have also supported the success of students through their generous philanthropy. In addition to creating the Dale and Nancy Briggs Chamber Music Endowed Enrichment Fund, they have given to a variety of programs and scholarships at the School, especially in the areas of opera, voice, and chamber music.

Dale was an incredibly caring, compassionate and generous human being, and his lovely spirit and positive outlook brought much joy to our days.