HPU to Host Inaugural Piano Competition

HIGH POINT, N.C., May 21, 2015 – High Point University will host an inaugural piano competition, funded by the Randall Thomas Johnson Trust, June 4-6 that will bring three talented finalists to campus to compete for $10,000 in prizes.

The competition will be held in the Hayworth Fine Arts Center. It is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

The three finalists – Aleksandra Kasman, Pricila Navarro and Tianpeng Yu – were selected from hundreds of applicants across the United States. The competition was made possible by a $1.2 million gift from Randall T. Johnson, a native and resident of High Point and a member of the Board of Visitors for HPU. He is a retired executive in the food brokerage business in Florida and a patron of the arts across the Piedmont.

Kasman is a student of internationally renowned pianist and teacher Yakov Kasman, professor of piano, at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Kasman has received numerous awards including NFMC National Stillman-Kelley Award, Silver Medal at the VII International Competition for Young Pianists, second place and Young Jury Winner Award at the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition and the Piano Arts North American Competition Scholarship Award.

Navarro is a piano performance major studying with Dr. Michael Baron, head of keyboard studies, at the Bower School of Music at Florida Gulf Coast University. She enrolled at FGCU at the age of 16 and received the Williams, Steinway Society and Eva Gomez scholarships. She performs solo recitals, major chamber works and a large selection of concerti with orchestras throughout the United States, Europe and South America.

Yu has won numerous national and international competitions. Born into a musical family, he began playing the piano at the age of 4. In 2002, he began studying at the Shenzhen Arts School with the renowned professor Dan Zhaoyi, and Chen Guanquan. He then continued his studies at the Idyllwild Arts Academy and completed his Performance Diploma at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, where he studied with John Perry.

“The Department of Music at HPU is honored to host this event and support talented, young artists in their pursuit of excellence in piano performance,” says Dr. Marc Foster, chair of the department of music at High Point University. “This generous gift by Mr. Johnson will not only help HPU maintain and grow as an All-Steinway institution with the maintenance and acquisition of instruments, but the piano competition will benefit our students by bringing to campus world-renowned adjudicators, teachers, and performers and enabling our students to attend, and potentially participate, in a competition of this caliber.”

The schedule of events is as follows:

Thursday, June 4

7:30 p.m. – Piano Recital by Steven Heyman, principal adjudicator

Friday, June 5

1 p.m. – Piano Recital by First Finalist

3 p.m. – Piano Recital by Second Finalist

5 p.m. – Piano Recital by Third Finalist

Saturday, June 6

11 a.m. – Awards Ceremony

HPU offers robust opportunities in its Department of Music. Students have performed in front of thousands at events and stages across the world such as Carnegie Hall, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, as well as venues in Vienna and Budapest. In 2010, the university became the 110th school in the world to earn the All-Steinway Designation.

For more details on the High Point University Piano Competition, click here.

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