Anna Weyenberg wins Ouachita’s 2020 Virginia Queen Piano Competition

By Madison Cresswell

February 14, 2020

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – Anna Weyenberg, a sophomore piano performance and communications & media/strategic communications double major from McKinney, Texas, won first place in Ouachita Baptist University’s 2020 Virginia Queen Piano Competition on Feb. 7.

“I decided to visit the nursing home that my great grandma lives at the weekend before the competition and played the piece for her,” said Weyenberg. “To my surprise, as I played the piece, she started singing along, even though she had a stroke years ago and lost a good portion of her motor skills and speech. After playing for her, I tried to channel that experience into my practice, and I think it made all the difference.”

Weyenberg received a $500 cash prize for her performance of “Etude for the Left Hand Alone Op. 735, No. 1” by Carl Czerny and “Liebestraum, No. 3 in A Flat Major” by Franz Liszt. She is a student of Dr. Mary Chung, assistant professor of music at Ouachita.

Melissa Lee, a junior music major from Singapore, earned second place in the competition and received a $300 cash prize. Lee performed “Pajaro Triste from Impresiones Intimas” by Federico Mompou and “Valse Romantique” by Claude Debussy. Lee also is a student of Dr. Chung.

Sam Youmans, a sophomore music industry major from Siloam Springs, Ark., earned third place in the competition and received a $150 cash prize. Youmans performed “Concerto in F Minor, BWV 1056 III. Presto” by Johann Sebastian Bach and “Preludio Luminosidad de Agua” by Adolfo Mejia. Youmans is a student of Dr. Chung.

Sean Carney, a senior music and Spanish double major from Little Rock, Ark., received honorable mention and a $50 cash prize. Carney performed “Preludio in F minor” by Rafael Landestoy and “Preludio Op. 3 No. 2 in C# minor” by Sergei Rachmaninoff. He is a student of Dr. Chung.

For the first time, this year’s competition also allowed high school students the opportunity to participate in a classical category. Debora Cojan of Little Rock, Ark., earned first place in the competition, Cadence Barnett of Hot Springs, Ark., earned second place and Abby Weyenberg of McKinney, Texas, earned third place. Garrett Weyenberg of McKinney, Texas, received an award in the hymn category.

Dr. Jinha Park, chair of the piano department at Kirov Academy in Washington D.C. and the winner of both international and national piano competitions, served as the judge of the competition. Dr. Chung and Dr. Cai Lei, Ouachita professor of music, judged the high school competition.

Dr. Cai also presented a harpsichord demonstration, and Carney presented an organ demonstration.

The Virginia Queen Piano Competition was established more than four decades ago by Virginia Queen, a former professor of music at Ouachita. Queen created the competition to encourage piano students to continue to grow in their studies of the instrument.

For more information, contact Dr. Mary Chung at [email protected] or (870) 245-5132.

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