The Aruna Quartet, a saxophone quartet that includes UNC Charlotte alumnus Andrew Schoen, has been awarded the Grand Prize in the 46th Annual Fischoff Competition. Hosted by the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association, the competition is the largest chamber music competition in the United States. The Grand Prize-winning ensemble receives $13,500, a winner's tour of the midwestern United States, and select appearances at the Emilia Romagna Festival in Italy this summer.
The Aruna Quartet was founded at Texas Tech University in 2015. Schoen, who graduated from UNC Charlotte in 2016 with a Bachelor of Music in music education, joined the quartet in 2017 to play baritone saxophone. Having earned his Master of Music from Texas Tech in 2018, Schoen entered the Doctorate of Musical Arts program and will earn that degree in 2021.
The Aruna Quartet has won awards in numerous competitions, including first prize in chamber music in the 2019 ENKOR International Competition and second place in the 2019 Coltman Chamber Music Competition. In addition to the tour for the Fischoff award, the quartet will attend the Frederick L. Hemke Saxophone Institute in Sidney, Maine, in June and in July will teach and perform at the Asia Pacific Saxophone Academy in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Aruna Quartet is not the only Texas Tech ensemble with UNC Charlotte connections to take home a Fischoff prize. Several years ago, the Mirasol Quartet, which includes UNC Charlotte alumnus Benjamin Still, won the Gold Medal in the Senior Wind Division at the 2015 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.