Southeastern music students take top two spots in state MTNA competition

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 MTNA competition winners
by: Rene Abadie

MUSIC COMPETITION WINNERS – Southeastern Louisiana University music students Natalia Timotina, left, and Anastasiia Pavenko, right, received the top two awards in the Young Artist-Piano competition hosted by the Louisiana Chapter of Music Teachers National Association at Centenary College. With them is music instructor Laura Pray.

     HAMMOND – Two  young musicians who have traveled thousands of miles to study at Southeastern Louisiana University have demonstrated their skills and experience by claiming top places in statewide competition.
     Sophomore Anastasiia Pavlenko of Zhytomyr, Ukraine, took first place in the Young Artist-Piano competition at the Louisiana Chapter of Music Teachers National Association’s recent statewide competition held at Centenary College in Shreveport. She will compete in the MTNA South-Central Regional Competition in January. Junior Natalie Timotina of Chisinau, Republic of Moldova took second place. Both are piano performance majors.
     Music instructor Laura Pray joined the faculty in August and began working with Pavlenko and Timotina, who had been preparing for the competition with a previous professor. She coached them through the final stages of preparing their programs and supporting them on the day of the competition.
     “They are both hard workers and excellent young musicians,” Pray said. “I was extremely proud of their performances at the competition. Not only were their performances technically superior, but they were highly musical as well.”
     How did two young pianists from such distant nations come to study at Southeastern?
     “When I was home, I realized the world is so much more than what just surrounds me. I knew that if I wanted to experience the world, I had to take some action, ” Pavlenko said. “By that time, I already knew a few people who were studying at Southeastern and how much they enjoyed it. I saw the many opportunities they had to gain precious musical experience.”
     “I had heard from a few students who had come to Southeastern a couple of years ago and who said how much they really enjoyed the experience,” Timotina said. “I always wanted to travel, especially if I could have a chance to get more experience as a musician. I saw this as a perfect opportunity.”
     In the competition, Pavlenko played several selections, including pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Tchaikovsky. Timotina performed selections from Debussy,  Muczynski, and Beethoven’s “Waldstein” sonata.
     “Ms. Pray is a very talented, supportive, dedicated and inspirational piano professor,” said Pavlenko. “Even in the short time she worked with me, she helped me make my program for the competition worthy of first place. I am very glad to be a student in her studio. I am extremely honored to represent Louisiana at the regional level of the MTNA piano competition, and I will do my best to bring good news again in January.”
     “It’s been such a pleasure working with both young musicians this semester,” Pray said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for both Anastasiia and Natalia. I know they will continue to thrive at Southeastern.”

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