BGSU piano students earn top honors at the Ohio MTNA Young Artist competition

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – At a recent statewide musical competition considered among the most prestigious of its kind, Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts piano students won five of the six top honors.

BGSU graduate student Giorgos Kyriazidis won the 2023 Music Teachers National Association Young Artist piano competition in the state of Ohio, advancing to the video-only division competition. Division winners then will compete in person at the national finals during the annual MTNA National Conference.

BGSU senior Zerui Pan was named alternate and graduate students Apostolis Konstantakis, Yuxuan Chen and Andrew Cramer received honorable mentions.

“This is an incredibly competitive competition,” said Dr. Solungga Liu, professor and coordinator of the keyboard area. “Ohio has many great music schools, all of which are very strong in the area of piano. I’m so proud of all of our students.”

The results of the MTNA division competition will be announced in mid-January. Winners of that will compete at the national competition in Atlanta in March.

The BGSU College of Musical Arts is regarded as one of the country’s best collegiate music programs, especially in keyboard, which draws students from across the country and worldwide. 

The program’s four full-time piano professors have diverse backgrounds and maintain active performing careers, bringing their global experience into the classroom.

Kyriazidis, a native of Greece in the first year of the BGSU Master of Music in Performance - Piano, performed three pieces at the Ohio MTNA competition. It was only his second competition appearance; the first was during his undergraduate studies at Ionian University in Corfu, Greece.

“When they announced the results, I was surprised. I didn’t believe it at first,” he said. “The CMA prepares us to perform at a very high level, which is helpful. Our professors push us, and we push ourselves, too.”

Liu first saw Kyriazidis perform when she was in Greece for a summer music institute at Ionian University, which has a mutually beneficial relationship with BGSU.

“I immediately noticed how sensitive he was. His touch was great, and he was able to create a wide dynamic range,” Liu said. “Giorgos’ approach to the keyboard was never aggressive, therefore he produced a very deep sound that projected well. He learns fast and plays very advanced pieces.”

Updated: 12/19/2023 02:09PM