Two Indiana students to be featured performers in Muncie Symphony concert

MUNCIE, INDIANA — Each year, students across Indiana are invited to perform for a panel of expert judges at Ball State University’s Sursa Hall as part of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition. Competing for cash prizes, the students, ranging in grades 3–12, often prepare months in advance. The winners from the 2020 competition—Cooper Olsen and Phillip Hammond, both violinists—will be featured performers in the orchestra’s next concert, “From the Top.”

“We are featuring the very best and brightest young performers in the state of Indiana,” said James Thompson, Muncie Symphony’s Education Coordinator. “The Young Artist Competition is an incredible showcase of the most talented middle and high school students. Cooper and Phillip are the best of the best. Their playing is going to be inspiring.”

At the time of the competition, Cooper was an 8th-grade student from Bloomington, and Phillip was a high school senior also from Bloomington. Thompson said both exhibited “a really strong sense of artistry.” “They don’t just play the notes, but they think about the intention of the notes and connect with the audience,” he said. “They both showed good command of their instruments and can use their instrument to really sing.” In addition to being wowed by the young performers’ talent, audiences will enjoy interviews with Cooper and Phillip before the concert to learn more about their musical training, passions, and future endeavors.

“From the Top” will open with Richard Wagner’s Overture to “Die Meistersinger.” The second half of the concert will include Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5,” which Thompson described as a dramatic and expressive work that embodies orchestral music.

“From the Top” is at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at Emens Auditorium. Tickets start as low as $20 and can be purchased online at or via the Emens Box Office (in person at 1800 W Riverside Ave. or by phone at 765-285-1539). The concert is supported by Roos Family Estate.

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About the Muncie Symphony Orchestra

For more than 71 years, the Muncie Symphony Orchestra has worked to entertain, educate, and enrich quality of life in the East Central Indiana community through meaningful, professional musical experiences. The Muncie Symphony is made up of professional and community musicians, hailing from Ball State University, East Central Indiana, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and Cincinnati. To learn more, visit