Lawrence University Pianist Wins Top Honors at State Competition

Lawrence University senior Rachel Bittner earned first prize honors Saturday, May 24 at the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association’s annual Badger Collegiate Piano Competition. It was the second straight year a Lawrence pianist was awarded the competition’s top prize.

In addition, Nicholas Towns and Erin Grier earned honorable mention recognition at the competition.

Conducted at Lawrence’s Memorial Chapel, the WMTA Badger Collegiate Competition featured 12 pianists from colleges and universities throughout Wisconsin. It was adjudicated by Fred Karpoff, chair of the keyboard department at Syracuse University.

Bittner, a senior from St. Paul, Minn., who earned honorable mention recognition in this same competition last year, received $200 for her winning performance. A student of Associate Professor Anthony Padilla’s piano studio, Bittner played Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Sonata, Op. 57, Prokofieff’s Sonata No. 7, Op. 83 and Chopin’s Scherzo No. 3. She will pursue graduate studies this fall in piano performance at the University of Wisconsin, where she will study with former Lawrence music professor Catherine Kautsky.

Towns, a senior from Princeton, Ill., and Grier, a junior from Woodside, Del., are also students of Padillla’s piano studio.