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UAB piano students win state music auditions

  • April 17, 2018
In the college piano competition, junior Zoe Willis won the upper division and sophomore Mira Walker won the lower division.

zoe miraZoe Willis, left, and Mira WalkerTwo University of Alabama at Birmingham music students have won in the Alabama Music Teachers National Association college auditions competition.

Junior Zoe Willis of Birmingham won the college piano competition upper division, for juniors and seniors. Sophomore Mira Walker of Birmingham won the college piano competition lower division, for freshmen and sophomores. The other division, Young Artists, includes graduate students, and Walker was chosen the Overall Winner of the three divisions.

Both are students of Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence Yakov Kasman, DMA, in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Music.

The state college auditions for piano, woodwinds, brass and voice took place April 7 at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Willis played works by Bach, Haydn and Prokofiev, while Walker played works by Bach, Chopin and Prokofiev. The winners will perform at the next AMTN state conference.

Walker has studied with Kasman since 2014. She is in the Honors College’s University Honors program and is an applied music major, focusing on piano performance. Walker is also in the UAB Concert Choir. Willis is also an applied music major focusing on piano performance and is in the UAB Honors College. She has studied with Kasman since 2015.

Kasman says he and the entire department are proud of the pair.

“They both are very talented and very hardworking students,” Kasman said. “They both have presented very serious programs at this competition, and I am happy they were placed so high.” 

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.