Twenty-two outstanding high school and college student pianists from across the United States are participating in competitions at the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center as part of the Keyboard Festival and Competition being held at WVU, July 2-6.

Titled “The Intersection of Jazz and Classical Music: a Piano Festival for Students and Teachers,” the event explores the many ways jazz and classical music intersect and influence each other.

Special guests for the festival include internationally known pianists Leon Fleisher and Stefan Karlsson.

Piano competitions for both high school and college students in the areas of jazz and classical music offer prizes that include substantial cash awards and WVU scholarships, as well as performing opportunities.

The awards are made possible through the generous support of the WVU College of Creative Arts, Patricia Neeper of the Steinway Piano Gallery, Pittsburgh, and the Margaret Butman Fund.

Students who will take part in the competitions were selected on the basis of performances and letters of recommendation. They include:

College Jazz Competition

Bill Alexson, of Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., is a student of Bruce Dudley.

WVU music student Grace Leong Zhe Fui, of Malaysia, who studies with James Miltenberger, is currently studying for a bachelor of music in jazz studies.

WVU music student Diego Lyra Madeiros, of Recife, Brazil, is studying jazz at WVU and is also a student of James Miltenberger.

Robert Wancowicz, of Shepherd University, is a student of Mark Andrew Cook and Nathan Lincoln-Decusatis.

Schedule of events for remainder of the festival

All events will take place at the WVU Creative Arts Center and are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For tickets, call (304) 293-SHOW or see

Wednesday, July 4

Classical High School and College Semi-Final Competitions
8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Gladys G. Davis Theatre

WVU Showcase Concert
7 p.m.
Gladys G. Davis Theatre
Featuring WVU faculty pianists James Miltenberger, Peter Amstutz, Lucy Mauro and Christine Kefferstan, as well as their students and the guest artists.

Thursday, July 5

Classical High School and College Final Competitions
Times to be announced
Gladys G. Davis Theatre

A Conversation with Leon Fleisher
7 p.m.
Gladys G. Davis Theatre
Reception and book/CD signing follows in the Main Lobby. Ticketed Event ($15).

Friday, July 6

Master Class with Leon Fleisher and Winners of the Classical Competitions
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Gladys G. Davis Theatre

Master Class with Leon Fleisher
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Gladys G. Davis Theatre

Concert by Classical Competition Winners
3 p.m.
Gladys G. Davis Theatre

High School Classical Competition

Hannah Che is a student of Marina Lupinacci. Her awards include: Butler Symphony Concerto Competition winner and first prize in the Duquesne Young Artist Competition.

Brian Le, a student of Nancy O’Neill Breth, won first place at the Ylda Novik Concerto Competition in 2012.

Philip Nichols, a student of Vicki Cavendish, received first place in the Marshall University Sonatina Festival and was a finalist for the Vaughan Student Symphonic Fellowship for the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Brad Pauley, student of Robert Ellis, won second place in the West Virginia Christian Education Association State Competition.

Richard Shin, a student of Scott Beard and Yong Hi Moon, attends the Gilman School. He will perform in Germany as a part of the Bechstein Young Professionals concert series this June.

Christian Smith, also a student of Vicki Cavendish, received the Andrew and Amy Vaughan Fellowship as an intern with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Anna Sodaro, a student of Olive Meyer, was the winner of the West Virginia Music Teachers Association Mountain State competition Senior Division in 2011.

Aleksandr (Sasha) Voinov, a student of Natasha Snitkovsky, studies piano, violin, theory, and composition at the Duquesne University City Music Center.

College Classical Competition

Nathan Arch, of Shepherd University, has studied under Scott Beard and Yu-Hsuan Liao.

Julia Byrd is currently a graduate student at University of North Carolina, Greensboro and studies with John Salmon.

Samuel Gingher, student of Tim Ehlen, is currently a doctoral student in piano performance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

William Kelley studied with Frances Cheng-Koors of Peabody Preparatory for four years.

WVU student Sun Jung Lee is studying for a doctorate in piano performance as a student of Peter Amstutz.

WVU student Duo Jia Ma completed high school studies at the Shenyang Conservatory in China before coming to WVU, where she will be a sophomore this fall studying with Peter Amstutz.

James Townsend, of Hampshire County, W.Va., will be attending WVU in the fall and plans to focus on the music of Mozart and Messiaen.

WVU student Yana Tyulkova, received her masters’ degree from the Glinka Conservatory with highest honors and now studies with James Miltenberger at WVU.

Hye Jin Yeom, a native of South Korea is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at Morehead State University, where she is a student of Eunbyol Ko.

Alvin Zhu, student of Yoheved Kaplinsky, attends The Juilliard School. He is the first American to win The Young Steinway Artists award.

In addition to piano competitions for high school and college students—as well as some amazing concerts—the festival features various clinics, workshops, master classes and teacher panel discussions on a wide array of topics.

The WVU Keyboard Festival and Competition is made possible through the WVU Extended Learning Awards Summer 2012 Grants.

For more information, including the entire schedule of events, see the website at:

One-day registrations are being offered for $40 at the door. For information, call 304-293-4532.


CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts

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