Meet the Winners of the 2024 Semper Pro Musica Competitions

February 20, 2024
Semper Pro Musica 2024 Winners

Semper Pro Musica 2024 Winners. Front Row (L to R): Amy Mora (flute), Giselle Bautista (mezzo soprano), Mina Ahn (clarinet), Casey Hoffmire (violin), Chanmi Kim (organ), Abigail Garner (flute). Back Row (L to R): Hutchinson Dunn (tuba), Jesse Serpas (cello), Mateusz Perz (piano), Edric Salazar (marimba), Cezary Karwowski (piano), Derek Marcum (bassoon), Javier Hernandez (horn), Juan Gómez Forero (oboe). Not pictured: Gina Gravagne (viola).

The 14 student winners of Baylor University’s sixth biennial Semper Pro Musica Solo and Chamber Competition and Organ Competition will perform recitals in the prestigious Carnegie Hall and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on May 16 and 17, and in the world-class Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, TX, on April 21.

The Semper Pro Musica Competition is presented to inspire students within the School of Music toward musical excellence. This year, 10 students competed in the solo competition’s final round; two groups, comprised of eight students, competed in the chamber competition’s final round; and five students competed in the organ competition. Nearly 80 students competed in the first rounds of all three Semper Pro Musicacompetitions. The international group of winners represent six cities and three countries outside of the United States.

The winners of the Carnegie Hall solo competition are:
            Gina Gravagne (Waco, TX, junior, viola)
            Mateusz Perz (Stary Sącz, Poland, master’s candidate, piano)
            Edric Salazar (San Benito, TX, master’s candidate, marimba)

The winners of the Kimbell Art Museum solo competition are:
            Giselle Bautista (Houston, TX, senior, mezzo soprano)
            Hutch Dunn (Prosper, TX, senior, tuba) 
            Abigail Garner (Cedar Park, TX, senior, flute)

The winner of the Carnegie Hall chamber competition is Capricho Quintet. Members include:
            Amy Mora (Allen, TX, master’s candidate, flute)
            Juan Gómez (Colombia, South America, master’s candidate, oboe)
            Mina Ahn, clarinet (Namyangju-Si, South Korea, master’s candidate, clarinet)
            Derek Marcum (League City, TX, master’s candidate, bassoon)
            Javier Hernandez (Laredo, TX, senior, horn)

The winner of the Kimbell Art Museum chamber competition is Brazos Trio. Members include: 
            Casey Hoffmire (Morton, IL, senior, violin)
            Jesse Serpas (Katy, TX, master’s candidate, cello) 
            Cezary Karwowski (Białystok, Poland, advanced performer’s certificate candidate, piano)

The winner of the organ competition is:
            Chanmi Kim (Geoje, South Korea, master’s candidate, organ).

“This Semper Pro Musica performance is really a serendipitous blessing to me,” said Hutch Dunn. “Not only do I get to perform an amazing and fun piece, but I also get to do it in a beautiful venue that is close enough to home so that lots of my family, teachers, and friends can attend.”

Gary Mortenson, D.M.A, dean of the Baylor School of Music, who is set to retire in June, said the students who compete in Semper Pro Musica have always given exceptional performances since he founded the competition in 2016.

“Over the years, many priceless memories come to mind of the exceptional musicians these competitions have yielded for presentation in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and at historic churches in New York City including St. Bartholomew’s Church, The Brick Presbyterian Church, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral,” Mortenson said. “I have enjoyed every aspect of these competitions over the years and cannot remember a single ‘sub-par’ performance from any of our student winners. The consistently high quality of these many performances is a testament to the passion, instruction, and artistry that exists among the applied teachers in the School of Music.” 

The competition not only showcases some of the School’s top talent, but also serves as a rich learning experience that provides insights, challenges and moments of growth that shape the students’ musical paths.

“The Semper Pro Musica solo competition is about more than who can play the cleanest performance or deliver the most musical interpretation,” said Gina Gravagne. “My teacher, Dr. [Kathy] Steely, constantly reminds me that it is about storytelling: crafting your own convincing narrative and representing your instrument, your school, and your faith as well as possible within that story. Carnegie Hall gives me another chance to be an ambassador for the Baylor School of Music’s mission, semper pro musica, and my own mission, soli Deo gloria.”

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to compete in the Sempre Pro Musica competition,” said Casey Hoffmire. “I learned a lot through the competition process and I'm excited to perform in Fort Worth later this April.”

After his retirement in June, Mortenson said he hopes the competition continues to inspire the students to reach new heights and foster a culture of excellence by pushing the boundaries of artistic expression.

“It is my hope that Semper Pro Musica Competitions will continue so that the best solo and chamber playing made at Baylor University is presented in these world-class venues for many years to come.”

The Kimbell Art Museum performance is scheduled for Sunday, April 21 at 3 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The Carnegie Hall performance will be at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 16 in Weill Recital Hall. Tickets range from $25 to $50 and are available through the Carnegie Hall Box Office. The St. Patrick’s Cathedral performance will be at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 17 and is free and open to the public. 


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


Celebrating more than 100 years of musical excellence, the Baylor University School of Music provides transformational experiences that prepare students for careers in music. Students thrive in a Christian environment characterized by a nurturing resident faculty, an unwavering pursuit of musical excellence, a global perspective, dedication to service and devotion to faith. They investigate the rich musical and cultural heritage of the past, develop superior musical skills and knowledge in the present, and explore and create new modes of musical expression for the future. While preparing for future leadership roles, students join with School of Music faculty in enhancing the quality of community life, enriching the larger culture and making Baylor a place in which heart, mind and soul coalesce. Baylor’s School of Music is a member of the National Association of Schools of Music and the Texas Association of Music Schools. Degree programs include bachelor’s and master’s degrees in performance, music education and academic majors, as well as doctoral degrees in church music. Degrees leading to the Bachelor of Music Education conform to certification requirements of the Texas Education Agency. Visit the School of Music website to learn more.