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UST Musicians Advance to State Finals

Taylor SimmonsTwo University of St. Thomas students, Arrianna Ramirez and Taylor Simmons, competed in the annual Houston Music Teachers Association contest on Feb. 23. and will advance to the state finals of the Texas Music Teachers Association Young Artist Collegiate Piano Solo Performance Competition. The state finals will be held in Dallas at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on June 14-15.

Paul Krystofiak, adjunct professor of music, worked with Ramirez and Simmons throughout the fall semester and into the Christmas break to prepare for the music competition.

“Arrianna and Taylor have worked hard for this competition,”Kyrstofiak said. “We had marathon lessons over Christmas break and several piano master classes and performances, including performing at Jones Hall to fundraise for the new fine arts building.”

Simmons, a sophomore at UST, performed at 25-minute program of piano solos featuring music by Mozart, Brahms and Chopin. Ramirez’s repertoire included Haydn and Khachaturian, in addition to Bach and Chopin.

Both students expressed joy and excitement to perform in the competition and advance to state finals.  

“When I received the invitation from professor Krysotfiak to compete, I was glad to just be in the preliminary round,” Simmons said. “To have grown up in a small town where opportunities like this do not present themselves often, being a part of the preliminary round was a privilege and a great success.”

Ramirez, a senior at UST, has never competed in a piano competition before and looks forward to state finals.

“I’m really excited about traveling to Dallas to compete in my first piano competition,” Ramirez said. “I’ve never done something like this before, but I hope to do my best and make my family and professor Krystofiak very proud!”

Krystofiak said it is a huge honor for UST to compete in state finals on such a high level.

“This is the largest state music convention in the country,” Krystofiak said. “It will be a wonderful opportunity for Arriana and Taylor to meet more than 500 music teachers from throughout the state. I am very grateful to the University for providing the spring board to prepare students for the outside world.”

For more information on the Texas Music Teacher Association competition or UST’s Music Department, contact department chair Glenn Garrido at 713-525-3159.

Pictured: Taylor Simmons

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