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Volume 24, Number 4 — April 2017

Local pianist places in Young Artist Competition

Michelle Schodowski, of Kingsport, Tenn.
Michelle Schodowski, of Kingsport, Tenn.

December 03, 2013

High school students gathered at Tennessee Tech University Oct. 19 for the seventh annual TTU Young Artist Piano competition.

"The technical and musical maturity of these young pianists is inspiring," said Catherine Godes, TTU piano professor and event coordinator. "This competition showcases some of the best musical talent in the region."

Jarrett Takaki, from Wilmette, Ill., won the first place $600 S.K. Ballal Award. The recipient of the $500 Dave M. McCall Award was Michelle Schodowski, of Kingsport, Tenn. The $350 Rodney Carlson Award was given to Knoxville's Melissa Yu and Stanley Xiang from Brentwood, Tenn., won the $250 Hope High Award.

Schodowski began taking piano lessons when she was 5 and has been playing since.

"Music means my entire life," she says. "I love nothing more than performing in front of an appreciative audience and sharing my music with them. Performing is such an intimate and personal thing, and a musician can express things through music that could never be expressed with words or actions. It is the greatest feeling being able to evoke deep emotions and thoughts in my audience. The greatest musician is capable of making people laugh and smile with joy and move them to tears with the sorrowfulness of the music. It is so gratifying to be able to accomplish something like this."

The competition was also filmed for a WCTE documentary set to air in December.

"This documentary will feature interviews with the pianists and judges," said Godes. "It will showcase these fine young pianists and illuminate the inner workings of piano competitions, which have become vital components of developing musical careers throughout the world."

The competition featured three judges: Vicki King, author, pianist, and professor of piano at Tennessee State University; Grace Choi, TTU pianist; and Fred Kennedy, TTU voice professor.