Cellist Wins Annual Scholarship Competition

On Tuesday, March 9, the Mary Pappert School of Music (MPSOM) held the annual Women's Advisory Board (WAB) Scholarship Competition. Since 1980, the WAB has worked very hard to raise funds for scholarships to support students of the MPSOM, and we are incredibly thankful for their efforts over the years. Their support has benefited many students over the last four decades, helping each of them by offsetting the costs associated with the second-to-none education they receive from our immensely talented faculty.

This year's winner and recipient of a $5,000 scholarship is cellist Olivia Burik. Olivia is a junior Music Performance major and is also pursuing a minor in Multi-Platform Journalism from the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts. She is on track to graduate with both in May 2022. Her competition performance program, which can be seen on the MPSOM YouTube channel, was the Prelude and Gigue from Bach's Suite No. 2 in D Minor (BWV 1008).

Olivia is a student of MPSOM faculty member and Assistant Principal Cellist of the GRAMMY Award-winning Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO), Adam Liu. Obviously very proud of his student, he offered his accolades, saying, "Congratulations to Olivia Burik! This is a well-deserved success. Hard work always pays off if you have patience and believe in yourself."

This year's competition format looked a little different than usual, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of a live concert, each of the eight competing students submitted pre-recorded performance videos. These were compiled into a single video which was streamed to a private audience during a Zoom event emceed by David Allen Wehr, Dean of the MPSOM.

In order to compete in the annual competition, students must be juniors (qualified by completed credit hours) and maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Our music faculty then choose the most outstanding representatives in their area from this list of qualified students, and these individuals are then invited to participate in the competition. This year's remaining seven competitors included:

  • Lea Fanizzi (voice/Music Education major/studio of Kelley Krepin DeFade)
  • Justin Feild (piano/Music Performance major/studio of David Allen Wehr)
  • Garrett Hoffman (voice/Music Education major/studio of Guenko Guechev)
  • Eamonn Mailey (voice/Music Technology and Computer Science major/studio of Kelly Krepin DeFade)
  • Matthew Piato (trumpet/Music Performance major/studio of Chad Winkler)
  • Madison Ross (flute/Music Education major/studio of Jennifer Steele)
  • Mila Shadel (guitar/Music Performance major/studios of Mark Koch and Eric Susoeff)

The 2021 edition of the WAB Scholarship Competition was judged by an A-list group of musicians including Sari Gruber, internationally-acclaimed soprano; William Caballero, Principal Horn of the PSO; and Brian Worsdale, Music Director and Conductor of the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras. Many thanks to our judges for their time and contributions to this event.

Again, we wish to extend our thanks to the Women's Advisory Board for their continued support of our students. In addition, we hope you will join us in congratulating Olivia Burik for her outstanding performance.


Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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