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Volume 24, Number 6 — June 2017

ETSU Pre-College music students win national MTNA competition

Mary Nerren(left) and Jimmy Liu (right), both of Johnson City, Tenn., won the Music Teachers National Association National Competition.
Mary Nerren(left) and Jimmy Liu (right), both of Johnson City, Tenn., won the Music Teachers National Association National Competition.

April 26, 2017

Two students from the Pre-College Program of East Tennessee State University's Department of Music have been named the winners of a national music competition.

Local high school students Jimmy Liu and Mary Nerren, both of Johnson City, performed together in the Music Teachers National Association National Competition in Baltimore in March. They earned the opportunity to compete on the national level after first winning the Tennessee state title and then the Southern Division of the 2017 MTNA Senior Piano Duet Competition.

Liu and Nerren, performing as Duo 2Grand, competed against six finalists from other divisions during the national competition.

"They performed marvelously," said Esther Park, the duo's instructor, who is the director of the ETSU Pre-College Program and is the piano faculty at the music department. "This is a most well-deserved win for our students, who worked tirelessly over the winter break and spring break to make this happen."

After the victory, the duo performed again at the MTNA Winners Concert in front of more than 1,000 music teachers from across the country.

Liu is the son of Dr. Yubiao Liu and Xiaorong Wang and is a sophomore at Science Hill High School. Nerren, the daughter of Dr. Byan and Rhonda Nerren, is a home-schooled junior with Gateway Christian School.

Both Liu and Nerren have been studying piano for eight years.