Mississippi University for Women music students Hannah Heaton and Biraj Adhikari received recognition at the Music Teachers National Association Composition Competition for the state of Mississippi.
Heaton, a sophomore from Columbus, received the first prize for her work “Out of Reach” written for piano and violin. Adhikari, a senior from Kathmandu, Nepal, won honorable mention for his string quartet, “Journey.”
“This is the most competitive music event in our state, bringing out the top musicians from all Mississippi universities,” said Dr. Julia Mortyakova, professor and chair of the department of music. “To have students compete in this prestigious event, and have not one but two of them winning prizes speaks volumes for the students’ dedication, professionalism, musicianship level and the high-quality training they receive from our music faculty at The W.”
Heaton submitted a piece that she composed as a freshman after arriving at The W. She studies piano and music composition. Her primary teachers are Mortyakova, and Dr. Joe L. Alexander, associate professor of music.
She said winning first prize was a confidence builder.
“When I write my music, I feel self-conscious that it sounds bad, that it's wrong or I could have done something different. So, winning something for me, it helps me realize that you're not as bad as you think you are,” said Heaton.
She performed her work as part of the Mississippi Music Teachers Association State Conference held in Poindexter Hall on The W’s campus Nov. 1. Heaton will go on to compete at the Southern division level against the winners from Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Kentucky.
For senior Adhikari, receiving an acknowledgment from the MTNA encourages him to keep up the hard work.
“It's nice to have some kind of achievement in your life--at least have something that you can be proud of, and say, ‘okay, I got this maybe I should work more.’ I think it's an encouragement,” said Adhikari.
The Mississippi Music Teachers Association was founded in 1955 and it represents the Mississippi Division of the Music Teachers National Association. It is one of the preeminent music teaching organizations in the state. Its members include college music professors, independent teachers, church musicians and college music students. Each year, thousands of students in the U.S. compete for top prizes and national recognition, beginning at the state level with the winners advancing at the regional and national levels.
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Nov. 6, 2019
Contact: Tyler Wheat