Allentown Symphony Announces Free Recital Series to Celebrate 20 Years of the Schadt String Competition

Jan 26th, 2016Press Release from Miller Symphony Hall

ALLENTOWN, PA— This year, The Allentown Symphony Association will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the National Schadt String Competition, an annual  competition for up and coming string players, ages 18-30. Endowed by Edwin H. and Leigh W. Schadt, two Allentown businessmen, the competition is designed to help launch the careers of young, aspiring solo string artists. As a celebration of the Schadt brothers’ investment in and dedication to the arts in Allentown, past competition winners will return to perform recitals on January 27 and February 25, leading up to this year’s competition on March 6. All performances are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, January 27 at 7pm, The Allentown Symphony Association is pleased to present, in partnership with Congregation Keneseth Israel, a Schadt Celebration Recital by the Cavatina Duo featuring Denis Azabagic, classical guitar and Eugenia Moliner, flute, at Congregation Keneseth Israel, 2227 W Chew St., Allentown, PA 18104.  Denis Azabagic, the 1999 Schadt Competition Winner and his wife, Eugenia Moliner were hailed by The New Yorker Magazine as “generally considered to be the best of them [flute-and-guitar duos],”. The recital will feature works by Bach, Clarice Assad, Fernando Sor, Alan Thomas, and Ástor Piazzolla.

A second recital featuring 2013 Schadt Cello Winner, Christine Lamprea, will take place at the Allentown Art Museum, 31 North 5th St., Allentown, PA 18101 on Thursday, February 25 at 6pm. After winning the Schadt Competition, Christine went on to also win the XVI Annual Sphinx Competition, a highly prestigious competition for young Black and Latino classical string players. She has appeared as a soloist with the Houston Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Hilton Head Symphony, Costa Rica National Symphony, and will be appearing on January 22 & 23 with the San Antonio Symphony.

Christine will present a solo cello recital.

The celebration ends with the finals round of the 20th Anniversary Competition on Sunday, March 6 at 2pm. Three cello finalists will compete for the $8,000 prize and a chance to perform with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in the November Classical Series concerts. The competition is free and open to the public.

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The Schadt String Competition is the annual national solo string competition of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra. Begun in 1997 following a bequest to the Allentown Symphony Association from Edwin H. and Leigh W. Schadt, the competition alternates annually between violin, cello and classical guitar.


Edwin H. Schadt (1910-1994) and Leigh W. Schadt (1904-1996) were two brothers who lived in Allentown all their lives. They were the sons of Mary and Henry Schadt, two Allentonians who ran a wholesale grocery business on Front Street in Allentown. Both Leigh and Edwin were born at home in the early 1900s. They lived at 1048 North 11th Street until moving to Luther Crest Retirement Community in the early 1990s. The two boys attended Lincoln School on Walnut Street, went on to prep school at Muhlenberg, and both graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business in the 1920s. The Schadt brothers became successful Allentown businessmen and established Towne Auto Company on Linden Street.

In their youth, Leigh and Edwin were exposed to the violin. Their father was a self-taught violinist and wanted his sons to learn to play the instrument that he loved. Henry commissioned a local craftsman and musician, John Johnson, to make a violin for each of the boys and give them violin lessons. The custom-made violins still exist, and are being used today by young violinists from the Lehigh Valley. Although Leigh and Edwin did not become violinists themselves, they kept their father’s interest alive by establishing a trust to provide financial aid to promising young violin students. The trust provides scholarships to area string musicians, sends young musicians to music camps, and underwrites youth concerts. After the Schadts’ deaths, the trust provided funding for the Allentown Symphony Association to host the Schadt String Competition.

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