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Tanner Henley, piano, plays along with Crawford County Philharmonic Orchestra during the Premier Piano Festival at the Bick on Friday, June 28. Henley is the 2019 Pittsburg Treble Clef and Bicknell Family Center for the Arts Premier Piano Festival winner in the Young Artist division. Salehin Mahbub photo-editor

Piano competition winners grace the Bicknell stage

Pittsburg State is certainly accustomed to hearing live music, but none with the caliber of three young artists playing the Bicknell’s very own Steinway. 

The Third Annual Piano Festival continued on Friday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m with a concert presented by the Treble Clef Club of Pittsburg. The concert featured both the winners of the Piano Competition held earlier in June and the winner of the Young Artist division from last year’s Piano Competition and Festival, Christian Atteberry. 

“The quality is unbelievable…” said Janis Saket, one of the organizers of the festival and competition, and a Treble Clef Club member. “Pittsburg does not get to hear this level of playing that often.” 

The winners of the 2019 competition were Andrea Lee and Tanner Henley. Lee is ten years old and began playing the piano at age 4 when she and her family lived in Taiwan. After moving to Canada and then Kansas City, she continued to perform with chamber music groups and as a soloist, including a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City after being selected for 1st place in the Cresencdo Music Competition. 

“Because this competition provides the opportunity for the two winners to perform with a full professional orchestra, it really provides that extra level of excitement to competitions that many others don’t,” said Raúl Munguia, director of the Festival Orchestra that accompanied the pianists during the concert and Treble Clef Club member. “… For me, I feel privileged to be able to contribute to this project. I am more than sure that one day we will be celebrating 25 and even 50-year anniversaries, and who knows, hosting soloists from many countries around the globe.” 

Lee played the 3rd movement of the Piano Concerto No. 3 by Ludwig Van Beethoven, followed by Henley playing the 1st movement of the Piano Concerto in A minor by Edvard Grieg. Henley is a native of Jefferson City, Missouri and has been playing the piano since he was 12 and currently studies piano performance and piano pedagogy. He has competed in a number of statewide and regional competitions including the Missouri Music Teachers Association State Honors Competition where he placed 2nd, the Kansas City SAI Scholarship Auditions where he received an honorable mention, and the Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra Piano Concerto Competition where he received 1st place. 

“Nothing gets in the way of his music,” Saket said. “We have wonderful pianists in Pittsburg, but we do not have pianists like him.” 

After Henley, last year’s winner of the Young Artist division Christian Atteberry performed the entire Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2. Atteberry is the son of PSU professor of bassoon and local music teacher John Atteberry and currently attends the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he studies piano and plans to pursue a Master’s degree in piano performance in the fall of 2020. 

“… It (the festival) not only brings a great benefit to PSU as an institution, but to the city and the region, placing PSU and Pittsburg on a whole different level because of this event,” Munguia said. 

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