PITTSBURG, Kan. — University of Central Missouri sophomore Tanner Henley, majoring in piano performance and piano pedagogy, won the $1,000 first prize in the Young Artist Division at the 2019 Pittsburg Piano Festival Concerto Competition.
Hosted by The Treble Clef Club of Pittsburg, the competition was June 8 at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on the Pittsburg State University campus in Pittsburg, Kansas.
The third-annual competition showcases the talent of pianists ages 7 through 30 who competed for $4,000 in prize money.
Participants ages 7 to 12 competed in the junior division, ages 13 to 18 were in the senior division and competitors ages 19 to 30 were in the young artists division.
Former Miss America Barbara York, piano professor Debra Miles Snodgrass and award-winning educator and pianist Susan Laushman judged the competition.
Henley was one of four students who competed in his division.
As part of his prize, Henley performed the first movement of “Concerto in A Minor” by Edvard Grieg with the Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra on June 28 and 29 at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.
The concert opened with a performance of the Third Movement of Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 2” performed by Junior Division winner Andrea Lee, 10, Lawrence, Kansas, followed by Henley who performed the First Movement of Grieg’s “Piano Concerto.”
“Both of these artists are amazing and far bely their ages,” Janis Saket, executive director of the festival, said. “The talent we saw in this competition was simply amazing and world class. Rarely do you see a 10-year-old who knows Beethoven, let alone can play his piano concerto! When it came to the Young Artist competition, the judges certainly earned their money. Any one of the top three contestants could have easily won the competition. Even our judges had trouble agreeing on the winner. We would have loved to have them all perform!”
The concert concluded with Christian Atteberry, last year’s Young Artist Division winner from Joplin, who performed Shostakovich’s “Piano Concerto No. 2.”
All three were accompanied by the Festival Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Raul Munguia, assistant professor of music at PSU.
Henley began playing the piano at age 12.
Initially self-taught, Henley began formal training at age 13 with Karen Larvick and continued his instruction with her throughout high school.
He currently studies with Dr. Mia Hynes at UCM.
Henley has competed in numerous statewide and regional competitions placing second at the Missouri Music Teachers Association State Honors Audition, was given an honorable mention prize at the Kansas City SAI Scholarship Auditions and won first prize at the Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra Piano Concerto Competition.
In the Junior Division competition, Sherry Hong, 8, Pittsburg, Kansas, took second place and Michael Peters, 12, Joplin, took third place.
In the Young Artist Division, Sol Park, 19, Overland Park, Kansas, took second place and Klaus Nugraha, 19, Pittsburg, Kansas, took third place.