February 12, 2003

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Eastman Office of Communications, 585-274-1050

ROCHESTER, NY — The new year has proven to be a time of high achievement for four talented Eastman School of Music students who recently excelled in major competitions.

Pianist Amy Sze, a first-year doctoral student at Eastman, won the Eastern Division of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)-Steinway Collegiate Artist Piano Competition held in Elizabethtown, PA, last month. In addition to receiving a cash prize, she will now travel to Salt Lake City next month to compete in the MTNA National Competition finals on March 17. A native of Hong Kong who started studying piano at the age of seven, Sze is a student of Nelita True, professor of piano at Eastman.

Founded in 1876, MTNA is a nonprofit organization of 24,000 independent and collegiate music teachers, and the oldest professional music teacher association in the United States. Its three-tiered piano competition begins at the state level. First-place winners of each state’s competition advance to the division level. The winners of that level receive a cash prize and a modest travel grant to compete at the national competition. The national winner receives a model M Steinway & Sons grand piano with a retail value in excess of $40,000 and the opportunity to perform at the national conference before an audience of thousands.

Meanwhile, three Eastman guitarists — Michael Patilla, Shih-yu Liu, and Benjamin Gateno — placed second, third, and fourth, respectively, in the Volos International Guitar Festival Competition held in the country of Greece last month. Widely known as “Concert de Volos,” this international festival provides a significant stepping stone to guitarists hoping to establish international performing careers. Now in its 25th year, more than 350 educators and soloists participated in the festival, with the total number of participants surpassing 8,000.

All three winners are graduate students from the studio of Eastman Professor of Guitar Nicholas Goluses.