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Stillman College 2014 Zelpha Wells Piano Competition Winners


Pictured left to right are Junior Division finalists Joanne Kim, Mira Walker and Dina Kasman, guest artist and judge Dr. David Berry, and College Division finalists Aleksandra Kasman, Christian McGee, and Daniel Norwood.

(Tuscaloosa, AL)   Aleksandra Kasman, a freshman from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), received first place in the College Division and Dina Kasman, her 14-year-old sister who attends Pizitz Middle School in Birmingham,  won first place in the Junior Division of Stillman College's Annual Zelpha Wells Piano Competition. Christian McGee, a sophomore at Auburn University, won second place in the College Division and Mira Walker, a 16 years old from Indian Spring School in Birmingham, won second place in the Junior Divison.  Other finalists were Daniel Norwood and Joanne Kim.  Finalists competed in a semi-final round before advancing to the final. 

Two free performances were held in conjunction with the competition. There was  a guest artist performance by Dr. David Berry, a sought after soloist and chamber musician whose performances have been featured in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Jacoby Symphony Hall, the UW World Series, and in live broadcasts of WQXR (New York). Dr. Berry, who also served as judge of the competition, received his Bachelor of Music with High Distinction from the Eastman School of Music, and Master and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in piano performance from the Juilliard School. He is a resident member of the Jacksonville, Florida based Ritz Chamber Players as well as the Core Ensemble. He has also served as Coordinator of Chamber Music for the Gateways Music Festival, which is currently in residence at the Eastman School of Music.

For the final round of the competition, competitors performed in concert that was open to the public. Aleksandra Kasman performed La Valse by Maurice Ravel;
Christian McGee performed Transcendental etude No.11 “Harmonies du Soir” by Franz Liszt; Dina Kasman performed Nocturne No.8 by Lowell Libermann; and Mira Walker performed Scherzo No.2, Op.31 by Frederic Chopin

The Zelpha Wells Piano Competition pays homage to one of Tuscaloosa’s most distinguished citizens, music educators, and humanitarians. A graduate of Talladega College, where she majored in piano and minored in organ and public school music, Zelpha Wells received certificates in music from Peabody College and Fisk University. She has been featured in Time magazine and on The Oprah Winfrey Show. A member of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, Wells has taught music for more than 50 years and is internationally known as a pianist and purveyor of music.

For more information, call Dr. Hye-Sook Jung at (205) 247-3401.

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