(November 19, 2009)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Nena Wideman Piano Competition Takes Place Dec 4-6 at Centenary

More than 20 schools and 17 countries represented during three-day competition

Stanislav Khristenko
Stanislav Khristenko of the Cleveland Institute of Music, performs Rachmaninoff, Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini during the finals of the 2008 Wideman Piano Competition. Khristenko was awarded first place from a field of 48 contestants.
—(photo by Rick DelaHaya)

SHREVEPORT, La. — The 2009 Wideman Piano Competition takes place Friday, Dec. 4 through Sunday, Dec. 6 in the Anderson Auditorium of the Hurley School of Music, located on the Centenary College campus. The event is free and open to the public with contributions accepted at the door for the final round.

Sponsored by the Shreveport Symphony Guild and hosted by the Hurley School of Music, the competition includes contestants representing more than 20 schools from across the United States and from more than 19 countries. The competition will be judged by nationally and internationally known pianists and conductors.

Schools sending contestants to this year's competition include North Texas State, Hartt College of Music, Peabody Conservatory, Texas Christian, Manhattan School of Music, Samford University, Julliard, Rice university, LSU, Indiana, Brooklyn College, Youngstown State University, Cincinnati Conservatory, Miami of Ohio, Boston College, University of Missouri, University of Georgia, University of Arkansas, DePaul University, Sam Houston State, Rowan and others.

There are 45 contestants traveling from not only across the United States, but also globe, traveling from Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Canada ,China, Columbia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary ,Japan, Korea, Macedonia, Russia, Turkmenistan, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

Preliminary rounds begin Friday at 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., and 2:30 to 6:15 p.m. Saturday's competition begins at 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. and again from 2:30 until 6:15 p.m. Each day contestants will play for 15 minutes. During the final round, held on Sunday from 1:30 until 5:30 p.m., each finalist will perform a complete concerto.

Winners will be chosen in the final round. The winner of the competition will have the opportunity to perform with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra; South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra; the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago; Phillips Collection Sunday Concert Series in Washington, D.C.; Bossier Jam'n Bread Chamber Series; and the Bell Series at Millsaps College.

Other competition awards include the gold medal, the $5,000 William Peyton Shehee and Virginia Kilpatrick Shehee Award; the silver medal, $2,500 F. Thomas Siskron III Family Award; the bronze medal, $1,500 Martha Jones Rice Award given by Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Carl Rice; honorable mention, $1,000 Dr. Jack E. and Carroll Bright Carlisle Award given by Mr. and Mrs. Jack E. Carlisle Jr., Dr. and Mrs. Joseph F. Carlisle, Mr. and Mrs. William Hancock; and special awards including the $1,000 Raymond Morris Award, $500 Glenda Lee Harrison Award given by Stephen Harrison and $500 Lester Senter Wilson/Marcille Young Award.

The Nena Wideman Piano Competition, which began in 1950, has been held annually the first weekend of December, at Centenary College-Hurley School of Music. The name of the annual competition was changed in 1983 after the late Nena Wideman, a former member of the Centenary College piano faculty, for her contributions to the contest.

For more information, call the Hurley School of Music at 318.869.5235.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.