The UNM-LA campus will host a significant New Mexico youth piano competition 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, when 15 regional New Mexico contestants ranging in age from seven to 14 years old descend on the campus from Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Las Vegas.
The Los Alamos public is cordially invited to attend both the competition and to hear the winners of the competition when they present a Winner’s Recital at 2 p.m., Sunday afternoon. As part of UNM-LA’s continuing public service mission, both events are FREE and open to the public.
Saturday’s Honors Competition is sponsored annually each fall by the Professional Music Teachers of New Mexico (PMTNM). The competition is the major youth piano competition in NM and is held state-wide throughout six different geographical divisions. First Place Winners from each of the six divisions will then advance to the State Finals, to be held Nov. 10 in Santa Fe at St. John’s United Methodist Church. Students in Los Alamos belong to the Northeast Division of PMTNM, which also encompasses Santa Fe, Taos, and Las Vegas.
Competing students must study with a private teacher who is a member of both PMTNM and of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), as well as of their local city affiliate.
Saturday’s contestants will be competing in four different levels, delineated by age, from 9–and-under through 15 years old. Students and their teachers freely select what repertoire each will perform in the competition, restricted only by set time limits for each level, ranging from six minutes through ten minutes. All competition pieces must be performed from memory. A wide spectrum of classical music can be heard throughout the day, ranging from Handel, Beethoven, Chopin, Grieg, Schubert and Tchaikovsky, to name only a few, as well as contemporary composers of the 20 th and 21 st centuries. The Sunday Winners Recital will feature the First, Second and Third Prize Winners from each of the four levels. The Los Alamos Music Teachers Association (LAMTA) will have volunteers helping throughout Saturday’s competition and at Sunday’s Recital. LAMTA also provides added financial support by sponsoring the tuning of the Grand Piano and the prizes awarded to winners.
Two distinguished judges from Albuquerque will be adjudicating. Astrid Viana Groth holds piano performance degrees from Marymount College (New York) and the University of New Mexico.
She has studied additionally with renowned teachers in South America, Italy and the U.S. Ms. Groth has performed internationally, nationally and throughout NM as a soloist and collaborative artist. She is an MTNA Nationally Certiﬁed Teacher of Music, Past-President of PMTNM and of the Albuquerque Music Teachers Association. In 2006 she was named Teacher of the Year. Many of her students have won District and State Competitions and have gone on to study music at such universities as Stanford, Oberlin, New York University, Manhattan School of Music as well as New Mexico State and University of New Mexico.
Dr. Kristin Ditlow has established a career in the U.S. and abroad as pianist, harpsichordist, vocal coach and conductor. She is an alum of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Westminster Choir College, Tanglewood Music Center, and Merola Opera Program and holds her doctorate from the Eastman School of Music. Dr. Ditlow is an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of New Mexico. Recent professional highlights have been conducting several world premiere operas, duo performances with violist Ellen Rose, and performances at the Metropolitan Opera Council, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, OperaWorks, and New Mexico’s Chatter, Santa Fe Opera, Movable Sol, Opera Southwest, and New Mexico Winds.
Both the competition and Winner’s Recital will be in the UNM-LA Student Services Building.
There is ample parking available in the lot below the building (with stairs), or the building is wheelchair accessible from the large parking lot through the courtyard above the building. The public may attend any part of the Saturday competition, beginning at 10 a.m. The Sunday Winner’s Recital starts promptly at 2 p.m. and will conclude at 3:30 p.m.
Dr. Kristin Ditlow. Courtesy photo