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NMSU music student to compete in regional competition

After snagging the award in the Young Artist category at the Music Teachers National Association piano competition in Albuquerque on Nov. 5, New Mexico State University graduate student Ting Li will travel to Santa Barbara, Calif. Jan. 7-9, for the MTNA Southwest Division Competition.



New Mexico State University graduate student Ting Li will travel to Santa Barbara, California, Jan 7-9, where she will compete at the Music Teacher's National Association Southwest Division Competition. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Li, who is working towards a master's in piano performance, began practicing for the competition two months in advance, preparing several pieces to perform. Li competed in November against three other pianists, all from NMSU.

"I was very surprised when they announced I was the winner," Li said. "I was sick that day and the first to perform. I didn't feel I did that well, so I was very excited to learn I had won."

The state competition required a 30-minute performance with at least two contrasting pieces. Li played a program of works by Brahms, Beethoven and Szymanowski.

The Southwest Division Competition will bring together MTNA winners of state competitions from Arizona, California, Hawaii, New Mexico and Utah.

"I think she will do very well at the competition," NMSU Music Professor Laura Spitzer said. "There will be tough competition but Ting is the type of player who can compete on that level."

Li came to NMSU in August 2009 from China, after a friend had shared her positive experience at the university. She hopes to continue her education and earn a doctoral degree and return to China to teach piano and performance. She has been playing piano since she was four years old.

"Ting has a sound that is well balanced. Her music can be well-defined and clean yet full and integrated," Spitzer said. "She has a natural talent, combining great dexterity with real musical depth."