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February 21, 2013

ULM music instructor plays piano accompaniment for local teen at Carnegie Hall

University of Louisiana at Monroe instructor of voice and staff pianist Julian Jones’ journey to Carnegie Hall in New York City was a nine-year journey that culminated Saturday, Feb. 16.

Jones played piano accompaniment to local 15-year-old soprano, Margaret Ann Zentner. 

It all began in 2004 when Zentner was just seven years old and Jones accompanied her for her first festival, held on the ULM campus.

Dr. Claire Vangelisti, ULM associate professor of music, later took Zentner on as a voice student.

Zentner, now a student at Neville High School in Monroe, has continued to perform and when the opportunity arose for her to audition for an international competition, she jumped at the chance.

“Margaret Ann auditioned for the ‘American Fine Arts Festival’ and won a spot in the recital,” said Jones.

“Because of our collaborations throughout the years, her family asked if I would play for her and I said, ‘by all means; it’s Carnegie Hall’!”

Once Zentner was chosen, she would receive an opportunity that few only dream of. 

“Margaret and all of the children involved were virtuosic,” Jones said.

“There were students from South Korea, Russia, and Australia. We were the only performers from Louisiana and being from ULM made it even more special. I’ll cherish it for the rest of my life knowing that so many of the world’s greatest musicians have performed in the same venue.”

“I was very fortunate to be asked to accompany Margaret Ann. It was the best weekend of my life from the time we got to the first dress rehearsal, to being in the hall,” Jones continued.

Jones said his students at ULM have been very supportive of his recent success.

Jones said, “I was able to tell my students that all the time spent in the practice rooms pay off; opportunities present themselves when we least expect them.”  

“As a ULM alum and present faculty member, I was really proud to say that I was with the university. I meant so much to me to say that I was trained here.”

Jones has taught at ULM for two years and received both his B.M.E and M.M. from ULM.

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