Pianists who grew up in places like Costa Rica, China and Lithuania have been in Cedar Falls this week. The University of Northern Iowa is hosting the Midwest International Piano Competition.
“Last year I think our youngest competitor was, I think, 13 or 14 years of age,” UNI president Bill Ruud says. “We have about 3 folks from around the world and they’re absolutely out of sight.”
The youngest competitor this year is an 11-year-old boy from Canada and he is one of seven finalists in the junior division. The junior division is for pianists under the age of 21. The senior division is for everyone over 21. A 28-year-old man from Russia and women from California and China are the three finalists in the senior division. There’s $25,000 in prize money at stake.
“It allows us, to introduce through the School of Music, the international community to not only the University of Northern Iowa, but the state of Iowa, so that they know we have a lot of things to offer,” Ruud says, “so we’re very excited about that.”
The finalists in the competition will play this evening in the “Great Hall” of the performing arts center on the UNI campus. The concert begins at 7:30. The winners will be announced at 10 p.m.