Johnson wins Gallaher Memorial music performance competition

Staff Report

MOREHEAD – Blake Johnson of Pikeville won the 29th annual A. Frank and Bethel C. Gallaher Memorial Music Performance Competition at Morehead State University.

The award, presented each spring to a junior music major, includes a $1,000 cash prize and the honor of performing at the Caudill College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences’ Academic Honors and Awards Convocation.

Johnson performed two movements from the “Sonata for Oboe and Piano” by Francis Poulenc.

Johnson is pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Oboe Performance. He is a member of the MSU Symphony Band, playing English horn and also plays in Reed and Wind quintets, named Sirius and Sapphire Winds, respectively. Johnson also has performed on English horn and oboe with the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra. His primary teachers are Dr. Mary Lindsey Bailey and Dr. John Viton.

Johnson has performed in masterclasses conducted by Stephen Secan, Michele Fiala, Lindabeth Binkley, Johanna Cox, Kostas Tiliakos, Courtney Miller, Reid Messich and Rebecca Schalk Nagel. Among many other honor groups, Blake was a member of the 2013 KMEA All State Concert Band. He has recently been inducted into the “Excellence in the Arts” Hall of Fame at Shelby Valley High School and awarded the Mary Lynne Albers Memorial Scholarship Award, given to an outstanding oboist at MSU.

The Gallaher competition, endowed in 1987, was named for the late Ashland businessman A. Frank Gallaher and his wife, who were the parents of Dr. Christopher Gallaher, former chair of MSU’s Department of Music.

All full-time junior level music majors, with at least a 2.75 grade point average, may compete for the Gallaher Scholarship. To participate, a student must perform from memory a work that is eight to 10 minutes in length. Preliminary auditions are held in December with the final competition in April.

Contributions to the A. Frank and Bethel C. Gallaher Memorial Music Performance Competition may be made through the MSU Foundation Inc., by calling 606-783-2033.

Additional information on the competition is available by calling the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at 606-783-2473 or visit

Staff Report

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