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Music Preparatory School Students Named State Finalists
Three University of St. Thomas Music Preparatory School piano students will compete as state finalists at the Texas Music Teachers Association convention in June in Dallas. Anurag Gupta, Hiroma Oka and James Jurica earned state finalists spots after competing and advancing from the Houston Music Teachers Association Houston Performance Competition on Jan. 22 at Houston Community College. All three winners were entered in the 11th-12th grade Piano Solo category. A 10- minute memorized program of contrasting works was required.

Anurag Gupta performed Toccata by Aram Khachaturian and an Intermezzo by Brahms. Gupta, from Katy, has commuted to Houston from Katy to study weekly for 12 years with Paul Krystofiak, UST adjunct professor of music and director of the Music Preparatory School. This is the second year Gupta has advanced from the local competition to state competition. He has attended the Houston Piano Camp at UST several years. He is academically a top student in his junior class as well as past state finalist in swimming.

Hiromi Oka of Bellaire has attended the UST Piano Camp eight years. She has performed at UST many times and is a senior at Awty International High School. She played Chopin and Ginastera to qualify for state. She has studied piano/theory with Krystofiak for 11 years. She has participated in TMTA local contest five years and was a state finalist last year.

“The contest has challenged me, but it has also provided a lot of opportunities that I otherwise would not have had,” Oka said. “Music has enriched my life by allowing me to discover my own determination and giving me an outlet where I can express myself creatively.”

James Jurica is homeschooled and a member of a very musical family. He began teaching piano a few years ago and plays at various Catholic churches in Houston. He studies with Krystofiak through the Music Preparatory School at UST. Jurica performed Khachaturian and Rachmaninoff at the local competition.

Building on the University of St. Thomas Music Department’s commitment to excellence in music education and community outreach, the University offers private instruction to pre-college music students and non-traditional hobbyists including study on all levels for all instruments and voice. Music theory, history and ensemble are also available.

Music camps. academies and seminars are planned for the summer 2011 season. Visit for further information.

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