University of Nebraska at Kearney senior Polina Khatsko, Minsk Belarus native, was the winner of the Music Teachers National Association and the Nebraska Music Teachers Association piano competitions on October 27 and 28 in Omaha, Neb.

Khatsko performed 60 minutes at the NMTA competition and 90 minutes at the MTNA competition to land her first place wins. Her performances included selections from Bach, Beethoven, and Choplin.

The MTNA win qualifies her to compete in the West Central Division Regionals that will be held January 11-13, 2002 at the University of Columbia in Missouri. This competition will include one contestant from each of the eight states in the division. Winners of regionals will go on to the national competition.

These competitions were Khatsko’s first serious performances. She credits many individuals for her success. “I would like to thank the people who are pushing me and encouraging me,” she said. Khatsko is appreciative to those who have funded her work and thanks many UNK instructors including Dr. James Cook, Pina Mozzani, Dr, Valerie Cisler, and Dr. Anne Foradori.

Dr. Cook, Khatsko’s teacher, went with her to the competitions. “Competing with students from UNL and UNO, we are proud that Polina represents UNK as the best student pianist in the state of Nebraska,” he stated.

According to Khatsko, Dr. Cook invited her to UNK after he gave a performance in her home land, the Former Republic Soviet Union, seven years ago.