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BYU pianist wins national competition--and a Steinway

Brandon Stewart, a junior performance major at Brigham Young University, took first place in the Young Artist Performance Competition at the Music Teachers National Association convention in Seattle April 4.

"This is one of the most prestigious competitions for pianists at the college level," said Jeff Shumway, a professor of piano in the BYU School of Music.

The competition is sponsored by Steinway & Sons and the first place winner is flown to the New York City Steinway factory to pick a model M Steinway of his or her choice. Stewart and his BYU professor Irene Peery-Fox recently visited New York to select the piano.

Universities from throughout the United States including The Juilliard School send their best pianists to perform in the competition.

"I was very surprised at my win, simply because all of the national finalists were exceptional performers," said Stewart. "At this level you just hope the judges are looking for something more than note perfection and good dynamics. You hope they're looking for a soul-filled, artistic performance that is personal to you. That's what I think won it for me this year."

Stewart had previously won both the state and division levels to qualify for his national participation.

Writer: Rebecca Hanson

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