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Talented teen pianists earn scholarships

by Luanne Williams

Logan Tilley’s renditions of a sonata written by “father of the piano,” Muzio Clementi, and a Scott Joplin rag helped the 15-year-old from Harrisburg take top honors in the Wingate Piano Competition on Saturday.

The sophomore at Hickory Ridge High School took home a $21,000-per-year music scholarship for piano studies, a $300 cash prize courtesy of Miller Piano Company and an invitation to perform next spring at the University’s Decades recital.

Tilley said he found both pieces enjoyable to play, but especially liked the Maple Leaf Rag. His teacher is Karla Williams.

Also awarded an identical scholarship, 16-year-old Ethan Nguyen from Conover played John Williams’ Cantina Band from Star Wars and a piece called L’orage (The Storm) by Friedrich Burgmuller. Nguyen is a junior at St. Stephens High School. His second-place finish included a $200 cash prize from Miller Piano. Grant Logan is his teacher.

A middle school age girl and boy stand at a piano.

Winners in the competition’s middle school category were Ellen Harper, first, with Nocturne in E Minor by Frederic Chopin; and Calvin L. Chen, second, with Arabeske by Edward McDowell.

Harper, 12, lives in Davidson and attends Cannon School in Concord. A student of Natalya Vorobyeva, she was presented with the Charlotte Area Foundation for Music and Art Award, which included $300 cash. She will be eligible to perform in the Decades recital on March 21, 2019.

Chen, 13, who lives in Matthews and is a student at Carmel Christian School, earned $200 cash. His prize was funded in memory of Helena Munn by her daughters, Gloria Kessler and Melanie Mapuoletuli, and her grandchildren, Carrie Kessler Mabry, Scott Kessler, Jennifer Bess Kessler and Amy Kessler Jackson, all four of whom are Wingate University alumni. Chen is a student of Phyllis Teague.

Six teens stand between two professors in front of a piano.

Dr. David Brooks and Dr. Annie Brooks, assistant professors in the Department of Music, commended all six participants in Wingate’s second annual Piano Competition, held in the Plyler-Griffin Recital Hall of the George A. Batte Fine Arts Center. Musicians were invited to stay after the event to talk with current University students about their experiences studying piano at Wingate.

An All-Steinway school, Wingate offers four monthly audition dates beginning in January for those planning to major in music.

Oct. 13, 2018