Marshall Piano Students Win Competition Prizes

Updated 1 year ago Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.Two Marshall University graduate student pianists have won prizes this fall on the state level in competitions sponsored by the West Virginia Music Teachers Association. Jiao Li, a graduate student in piano performance, is this year’s state winner of the national MTNA’s Young Artist Competition, and Will Murphy, also a graduate student in piano performance, received second prize in the Mountain State Competition, which is sponsored annually by the WVMTA.

Dr. Henning Vauth, assistant professor of music at Marshall, said Li will represent West Virginia in the eastern division Young Artist competition. Li said she was very excited to win such a prestigious competition in West Virginia.

“When I was informed of the announcement, I could not believe my ears,” Li said. “I studied hard with my teacher; he gave me a lot of help. I would like to thank Dr. Vauth and Marshall University for giving me this opportunity. I will keep working hard.”

Murphy said at the time, he was practicing for his graduate recital, and the competition was a good way to perform a portion of his recital pieces for practice and feedback.

“This was helpful because I was able to receive comments regarding my performance of the music,” Murphy said. “This is the reason I went, not for the competition, but for the feedback. Winning second prize was an added bonus. I was very happy with the outcome and I thought the judges were fair in making the decision of the winners.”

Murphy said the competition was a great experience for him as a pianist.

“I am glad I competed and got the chance to see where I fit among other pianists in the state,” Murphy said. “If it weren't for my professor, Dr. Henning Vauth, I probably would not have gone to the competition. He definitely saw that the potential was there and just gave me the extra push I needed.” Vauth said these competitions not only helped Li and Murphy grow as pianists but showed others what talent there is at Marshall University.

“It’s really quite a big deal for us and very exciting, since it hasn’t happened before,” Vauth said. “Teachers from across the state have heard Jiao and Will during the competitions and prize winners’ recital; hopefully this will help further improve the reputation of our piano area.”

Both of the competitions occurred during the West Virginia Music Teachers Association conference Oct. 11 at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

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