November 11, 2015

UAB piano students win state Music Teachers National Association competition

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eamon griffithEamon GriffithTwo University of Alabama at Birmingham students have won in the Alabama Music Teachers National Association state competition.

Sophomore Eamon Griffith of Birmingham won first place in the Young Artist category, while junior Aleksandra Kasman of Vestavia Hills was named the alternate winner. Both are students of Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence Yakov Kasman in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Music.

The competition took place Friday, Nov. 6, at Auburn University.

Griffith is a member of the UAB Honors College and is an applied music major. For the competition, he performed works by Bach, Mozart, Liszt and Barber. He also works as a professional musician.

Kasman is a music major and a member of the UAB Honors College’s University Honors Program. She performed works by Bach, Mozart, Chopin and Taneyev.

The MTNA competitions take place once every year. Participants first compete on the state level in three categories: Junior, Senior and Young Artist. The winners from each state compete at the division level; Alabama is in the Southern Division with Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, and that competition will take place in Tampa in January. Winners of each division will go to the national competition.

This year, the Young Artist group was especially strong and represented the best pianists from the colleges of Alabama, says Yakov Kasman, who is Aleksandra Kasman’s father.

“Out of the 14 best piano students, both graduate and undergraduate of the state of Alabama, two winners, in first and second place, are from UAB,” Yakov Kasman said. “The judges are invited from out of state. They don’t know the participants, their names or their teachers’ names.”