HPU Awards $10,000 at Inaugural Piano Competition

HIGH POINT, N.C., June 11, 2015 – Musicians put their talents to the test at High Point University’s inaugural piano competition June 4-6, where they competed for up to $10,000 in prizes.

The three finalists – Aleksandra Kasman, Priscila Navarro and Tianpeng Yu – were selected from applicants across the United States.

The photo features (from left to right) piano competition judge Steven Heyman, first place winner Aleksandra Kasman, second place winner Priscila Navarro and third place winner Tianpeng Yu.

The photo features (from left to right) piano competition judge Steven Heyman, first place winner Aleksandra Kasman, second place winner Priscila Navarro and third place winner Tianpeng Yu.

Aleksandra Kasman was awarded first place and $5,000, Priscila Navarro was awarded second place and $3,000, and Tianpeng Yu was awarded third place and $2,000.

“I am so grateful to have performed in this competition with two very strong pianists,” says Kasman. “I will be putting the prize money towards my music studies, attending festivals and master classes.”

Kasman is a student of internationally renowned pianist and teacher Yakov Kasman, professor of piano, at University of Alabama Birmingham. She 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.

“It is a historic moment to have a piano competition held at HPU, and we look forward to making it an annual event,” says Marcia Dills, director of keyboard studies. “The three finalists are wonderful pianists, and I am thrilled with the musical caliber each of them possess.”

The competition was made possible by a $1.2 million gift from Randall Thomas 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.

“While watching the three competitors perform for the first time, I realized that we were hosting a world-class competition; their skill and piano virtuosity was amazing,” says Johnson. “I consider the money that I have given to the university for the piano competition money well spent. I am looking forward to hearing competitors on this level compete in future years and seeing packed houses of like-minded piano music lovers.”

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.

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