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Arts and Entertainment

Missouri Music Teachers Association Competitions at Evangel Include Three Free Public Concerts

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(Logo courtesy Music Teachers National Association)
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One of Missouri Music Teachers Association’s goals is to create the musicians and audiences of the future.  Competitions and auditions can play an important role in this process, helping to bring out the best in young musicians by giving them the chance to perform alongside the best young musicians from across the state.   MMTA runs the Missouri state-level Music Teachers National Association competitions for students; winners from the state competitions proceed to the MTNA national conference. 

The state-level competitions/auditions are going on this week at Evangel University in Springfield, and the outgoing President of the Missouri Music Teachers Association, Meredith Taylor, stopped by our studio to talk about what's happening at Evangel this week. She says the competing students "who win at the state level, both pre-collegiate and collegiate, will go on to the Regionals, and then hopefully to the Nationals."  The competition rounds are open to the public free of charge--they continue today through Sunday.  

But there are also three special concerts Saturday and Sunday November 5 and 6, that are also open to the public free of charge in Evangel's Barnett Recital Hall.  Saturday afternoon at 4:00pm is the "Commissioned Composers" concert.  Says Meredith Taylor, "We have a panel of judges that chooses a composer each year, and we commission a piece from (that composer). They get paid both by the state and the national organizations, and then their composition moves on to a contest at Nationals.  This year our commissioned composer is Derek Jenkins from University of Missouri-Kansas City." His piece is a vocal work for mezzo-soprano and piano.

The big concert of the weekend is the Guest Artist Piano Ensemble Extravaganza on Saturday November 5th at 7:30pm in Barnett Recital Hall.  Meredith promises it will be "a really fun event.  Sometimes we have a big-name pianist or chamber group come in from out of state. But this year we're featuring four piano duos who are all Missouri musicians"--and also all happen to be husband-and-wife duos. "We're going to hear 4-hand, 6-hand and 8-hand pieces" on either one or two pianos.  The concert will feature Hye-Jung Hong, Mia Hynes, Jon Hynes, Karen Kushner, Peter Miyamoto, Wei-Han Su, Ayako Tsuruta and Robert Weirich in music from Mozart to Wagner; from Debussy to Johann Strauss, Jr; and from Bernstein to "The Wizard of Oz."  "I think people will be so amazed to see the level of talent in Missouri, both from the students and these performers, because these are world-class pianists."

Then on Sunday November 6 at 12:15pm there is a "Winners' Recital" for pre-collegiate piano students.  "They are judged according to their grade levels, so there's a winner for fourth grade, a winner for fifth grade--from pre-school up to twelfth grade.  The students who perform Sunday are the kids who won last year. And people are going to have their socks blown off!"

For more information visit www.missourimta.org/mtna-competitions.