Three Lawrence University students captured first-place honors at the 2017 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Wisconsin state competition held Oct. 7 at Lawrence. The performance competition recognizes exceptionally talented young artists and their teachers in their pursuit of musical excellence.

Senior Nicholas Suminski, Williamsburg, Mich., earned first-place honors in young artist piano division. He performed Paul Schoenfield’s Boogie from “Peccadillos”; Schumann/Liszt’s “Widmung”; Beethoven’s “Sonata in C minor” opus 53″ and Piazzolla’s Tango #1 from “Tango Suite.”

Senior flutist Ned Martenis, West Newton, Mass., won the young artist woodwind competition. His winning program included CPE Bach’s “Sonata in A minor”; Griffes’ “Poem”; Kapustin’s “Sonata opus 125” and Robert Dick’s “Lookout.”

Freshman Robert Graziano, Kenmore, N.Y., won the senior division piano competition. His winning performance featured Chopin’s “Etude in C minor opus 10 #1”; Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody #5 in E minor”; Debussy’s “Hommage a Rameau” from Images book 1 and Ginastera’s “Danzas Argentinas.”

Nick Suminski
Nick Suminski ’18
Robert Graziano
Robert Graziano ’21
Ned Martenis
Ned Martenis ’18

The young artist division is for state musicians aged 19-26 while the senior division is open to musicians 15-18.

Sophomore violinist Abigail Keefe of Appleton and Third Form Trio – junior flautist Bianca Pratte, Walnut Creek, Calif., junior bassoonist Stuart Young, Arlington, Texas, and senior pianist Mayan Essak of Shorewood — were named “state representatives” as the only entrants in their divisions.

The three winners and the designated state representatives advance to the regional competition Jan. 7, 2018 at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana with regional winners competing in the MTNA national finals March 17-21, 2018, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Also at the competition, senior Anthony Cardella, Porterfield, and freshman Noah Vasquez, Zurich, Switzerland, earned second place and honorable mention honors, respectively, in the young artist piano division.

Suminski and Vasquez study in the piano studio of Cathy Kautsky. Graziano is a student of Anthony Padilla. Cardella is a student of Michael Mizrahi. Keefe studies with Wen-Lei Gu, while Martenis and the members of Third Form Trio are all students of Erin Lesser.

Appleton’s Abigail Peterson, a ninth-grade, piano student at the Lawrence Academy of Music, won the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association High School Virtuoso Competition held at the same time. A student in the piano studio of Catherine Walby, Peterson received $100 for her winning performance.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.