West Pennsylvania Festivals Piano Competition 2023

The PFMC West Piano Competition took place on April 8, 2023 at the Pittsburgh Youth Concert Orchestra’s Recital Hall in Wexford, PA. It was well attended with 21 participants in 8 categories sent by 10 different teachers from the Pittsburgh area and the Northwest District of PA.

Once the students attended their local Junior Federation Festivals in March and April, received a Superior rating, they were eligible to enter the West Regional Competition for medals and prize money. They performed the Required Festival composition for the three judges: Dr. Josie Merlino, adjunct professor of music at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. and Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. Dr. Merlino is a pianist, organist, composer, arranger, and educator; Brinda Davis, who received her BA in Music and Psychology from Saint Vincent College, teaches piano and music theory in Greensburg; James Iman, professional recording artist for Divine Art Recordings Group, frequent performer, guest lecturer, and clinician on contemporary music.

The West winners will have the opportunity to face-off with the winners of the PFMC East and Central Regions at the State Piano and Concerto Competition on April 29, 2023 at the Pine Street United Methodist Church in Williamsport, PA. At the State Finals there will be monetary prizes and plaques awarded to the Piano Solo Level winners for Medium through Musically Advanced and an overall Concerto Winner. Top monetary prizes will be awarded to students who achieved overall success for their performances.

At the West Piano Competition, Caden Lewis was awarded the Overall Winner trophy and monetary prize.

Each of the level winner took home a medal and a monetary prize for their winning performances. Listed below are the first place winners:

Medium: Daniel Turley – Run and Hide by J. Sifford – Mostoller, teacher

MD I: Vivian Zheng – Dancero by J. Yeager – Kelly, teacher

MD II: Eli Zen – Jazz Sonatina, Mvt. 1 by R.D. Vandall – Hubbard, teacher

MD III: Caden Lewis – Red Rocks Rhapsody by K. Olson – Krouse, teacher

D I: Nadine Lauffer – The Delaware Coast by B. Johnson – Wood, teacher

VD I: Michelle Zheng – Dramatic Rhapsody by M. Bober – Mostoller, teacher

VD II: Sydney Montgomery – Toccata Tempestosa by D. Alexander – Barley, teacher

MA II: MaryGrace Grego – Prelude, Op. 23, No. 5 in G Major by S. Rachmaninoff – Wood, teacher

The West Region will send 2 Concerto Competitors to the State Finals this year:

Hannah Nicholson from the Junior Schubert Club in Oil City – A. Nicholson, teacher, will be performing Concerto Bravo, Mvt. 3 by K. Olson

Oliver Wang from the Junior Schubert Club in Oil City – A. Nicholson, teacher, will be performing Concerto in D Major, Hob. XVIII: 11, Mvt. 3 by F.J. Haydn