of Music and Performing Arts, 308-865-8608
Akina Yura, a sophomore music performance major at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, is one of only seven student pianists in the United States selected to compete at the national level of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artist Competition.
Yura, a native of Japan, began her journey to the national competition by winning the state competition in October. At the state level, there were 11 pianists vying for the opportunity to continue in the competition.
At the West Central Division Competition, held in Omaha earlier this month, Yura competed against state winners from Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota. In the divisional competition, each pianist performed for 50 minutes. During that time, each pianist played a complete piano concerto and multiple solo selections.
Yura studies under Dr. Nathan Buckner, an associate professor of music at UNK.
“I feel her performance was truly professional,” he said. “As a college sophomore, she was remarkable.”
Yura will travel to Austin, Texas in March for the MTNA Young Artist National Competition. Dr. Buckner plans to attend the competition. The national competition will take place during the 2006 MTNA National Conference, March 25 – 29.
In the national competition, Yura will compete against six other pianists from across the nation. At the national level, she will perform 40 minutes of solo selections as well as a complete piano concerto. The concerto is typically 25 – 35 minutes long.
The national winner of the Young Artist Competition will receive a Steinway & Sons grand piano, with a retail value in excess of $43,000. The winner will also perform in a Winners Concert during the conference, which includes performing with the Toronto (Canada) Symphony Orchestra at the 2007 MNTA Convention in Toronto.