November 21, 2017  

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Southern Miss Clarinetist Wins Spot in International Music Festival

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USM clarinetist Sofia Potdevin Afanador

University of Southern Mississippi clarinetist Sofia Potdevin Afanador had an opportunity to showcase her extraordinary musical talent as a performer during the winner’s gala of the Monterrey Flute Festival held earlier this month. The festival is sponsored by the National Fine Arts Institute of Mexico.

Though titled a flute competition, the event is open to all woodwinds on three levels - beginner, intermediate and advanced. Afanador was one of the winners in the advanced category and the only clarinetist selected to perform. This year’s competition included participants from across North and South America.

This fall, she started her doctorate in Clarinet Performance and Pedagogy as a graduate assistant at USM and is the clarinetist of the Graduate Wind Quintet, associate principal clarinet of the Symphony Orchestra and principal clarinet of the Wind Ensemble, while also teaching clarinet lessons.

“Since my arrival in Hattiesburg, I’ve found an amazingly kind and supportive community, great colleagues to work with, and fantastic faculty at the School of Music” said Afanador. “I’m extremely grateful for the support and enthusiasm my teachers have shown, especially my clarinet professor, who has always believed in me and has encouraged me to be my best version every day.”

A native of Bogota, Colombia, Afanador started playing clarinet at age 9. She has performed with several orchestras in Colombia including the National Symphony of Colombia and Colombia’s Youth Orchestra; participated in numerous festivals; and won some of the country’s largest competitions.

Outside of her love for clarinet playing and performance, Afanador has a passion for teaching and community engagement projects. During this summer she was invited to teach at the Discovery Channel “Music Ambassador” Jorge Viladoms’ foundation Crescendo con la Música in Guadalajara, Mexico. The foundation reaches kids in poverty offering them a safe space to learn music and develop skills. Her next project is a fundraising concert in Mexico City in December to help the victims of the recent earthquakes.

“Sofia is an incredible musician and we are extremely fortunate she has chosen Southern Miss to pursue her graduate work” said Dr. Jackie McIlwain, assistant professor of clarinet at Southern Miss. “She is a great ambassador for our university.”