MTNA Student Performance Competition

For advanced students interested in performance competition, the MTNA performance competitions offer that opportunity.  The competitions are open to any student who plays at the level of the required music, and are offered at the Junior, Senior, and Collegiate levels.  The state competitions are considered the primary educational level, with the division and national levels showcasing outstanding performances and honoring significant pedagogical achievement.

More information concerning guidelines and registration are available online at

November 10 – 12, 2018
Central Washington University, Ellensburg

For competition guidelines, click here.


  • Division competitions will be an ONLINE-ONLY VIDEO round.
  • Accompanist fee for national finals will be $115 for junior string and woodwind entrants.
  • Accompanist fees for national finals will be $100 for senior voice entrants.


QUESTIONS: Kathy Mortensen, MTNA Performance Competition Chair

Karen Hollenback and Kathy Mortensen at CWU during the 2018-19 MTNA Student Performance Competitions

The piano judges for the 2018-19 MTNA Student Performance Competitions at CWU



Matt Cooper received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance and Literature from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Frank Weinstock. He is a prizewinner in the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition as well as the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, and has performed recitals throughout the Northwest, the Midwest and in the Russian Far East. He has been a keynote presenter and performer at conferences of the Duke Ellington Society of the U.K., including those at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, Reed College (Portland), and in Woking, England. He is the author of a book on the piano music of Duke Ellington (Duke Ellington: A Study in Styles, College Music Society 2014), which led him to be interviewed on Dutch television channel VPRO.

Dr. Cooper has performed many solo and chamber recitals at universities, festivals and recital series, including Drake University (Des Moines, IA); Gustavus Adolphus College (Minnesota); Washington State University; Western Oregon University; Columbia Gorge and Treasure Valley Community Colleges; Camerata Musica series (Richland, WA); Elsinore Theater (Salem); the International Festival of Creative Pianists (Boise); the Khabarovsk Krai Philharmonia (Russia); Piano Duet Festival-by-the-Sea; Newport (OR) Coffee Concerts; and studio recitals in Bellevue and Issaquah, WA, as well as many recitals at Eastern Oregon University. He has also performed at several state conferences of the Oregon and Washington Music Teachers Associations. He was a longtime member of the Columbia Trio, and recorded a live duet CD in 1998 with fellow pianist Beth Tomassetti which was featured on Northwest Public Radio. He has performed concertos with numerous orchestras including the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra, Inland Northwest Musicians, Oregon East Symphony, and the Russian Chamber Orchestra “Gloria.” His most recent concerto appearance was with the Grande Ronde Symphony in November 2017, performing Mozart’s Concerto No. 21.

Dr. Cooper also served as the State President of Oregon Music Teachers Association (2000-2002) and has adjudicated many festivals and competitions throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, including the Music Teachers National Association Performance Competitions in Montana and Washington, the Boise Sonatina Festival, and other festivals in Bend, Eugene, Ontario, Walla Walla, Kennewick and Portland. He has also adjudicated and performed in jazz festivals in Ohio and Wisconsin, and was the featured artist at the San Juan College Jazz Festival (Farmington, New Mexico) in April 2016. A former faculty at Central State University (Ohio) and Northern Kentucky University, he has been a faculty member at Eastern Oregon University since 1991, where he teaches piano lessons, music theory, jazz studies, and co-directs the 45th Parallel Ensemble.

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Gina Meyer Pruitt has been a member of the Reed College piano faculty since 2008. She grew up in a musical family and gave her first public performance at age 4. She was soloist with the Boise Community Symphony at age 12.

She studied with internationally acclaimed artist teacher John Perry in the DMA program at the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin and the Aspen Music Festival. Awards include winner of the Idaho Arts and Humanities Trust Fund Award, semifinalist in the Ima Hogg National Young Artist Audition and honorable mention in the American College of Musicians National Recording Competition.

She has served on judging panels for national competitions such as the Fort Collins Symphony, the Jefferson Symphony and regional MTNA competitions for Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Colorado.

In addition to producing award winning students she maintains a busy schedule performing, composing, adjudicating and presenting teacher workshops. Music Matters Blog applauded her numerous piano compositions as ʻhaving received praise for their wit, creativity and pedagogical valueʼ.

She performs frequently as a jazz pianist and amongst CD credits is the recording ʻBopspaceʼ she produced with her husband Garner on trumpet.

She formerly has served on of the piano faculties at Boise State University and Colorado Christian University. She has performed extensively as both soloist and collaboratively in classical as well as jazz settings. She will be an upcoming featured artist on the Virtual Pedagogue, an online video tutorial series sponsored by the University of Oregon.

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Rachelle Ventura received a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and Musicology from the University of Alberta (Canada), and undergraduate degrees from the University of Winnipeg and Canadian Mennonite University (Canada) in music and religious studies. She is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) and member of the Music Teachers National Association, Spokane chapter.

Ms. Ventura is active as a collaborative pianist for numerous ensembles and soloists and has performed with the Fresno Philharmonic, Sierra Chamber Opera, Spokane Opera, and Best of Broadway. She is the music director and pianist for Millwood Community Presbyterian Church. Her interest in performance anxiety has led to her current pursuit of a Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling. Rachelle teaches in her home studio and as adjunct faculty at Whitworth University.

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A native of Chicago, cellist Kevin Hekmatpanah has presented hundreds of solo and chamber performances throughout the country, including concerts at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Society of the Cincinnati Artist Series in Washington D.C., the Sitka Music Festival, the Lower Makefield Performing Arts Society in Pennsylvania, the Camerata Musica Concert Series in Salem, Oregon, the Russian Chamber Music Foundation and the Kirkland Performance Center in Seattle. Additional recitals include appearances at the Princeton Music Club, the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville, the Hornby Island Recital Series in Victoria, B.C., the Bing Performing Arts Center in Spokane, the John Addison Cultural Arts Recital Series in Washington D.C., Daniels Recital Hall in Seattle, the Duck Creek Cello Festival in Utah, the Lake Chelan Bach Feste, the Cutter Theatre, the Battelle Auditorium as well as the Merc Playhouse Theatre.  He has also presented concerts of the complete works for Cello and Piano by Beethoven and over twenty cycles performing all Six Bach Suites.  He has made over one hundred and twenty solo concerto appearances with various ensembles, including the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Richmond Philharmonic, the Pueblo Symphony, the Kingsport Symphony Orchestra, the Middle Tennessee Symphony, the Oregon East Symphony, the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs in Colorado, the Southern Arizona Symphony, Gulf Coast Symphony, and the Vashon Chamber Orchestra.  Additional concerto engagements have been with the Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Coeur d’Alene Symphony, the Grande Ronde Symphony, the Timberline Symphony, the Berrien Springs Symphony, the Cascadia Summer Festival Orchestra, the Mc Call Chamber Orchestra, Spokane Falls Orchestra, the Woodlands Orchestra and the Okanogan Valley Orchestra.  Outside North America, he has performed concertos in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, in Stockholm, Sweden, and at the home of Edvard Grieg in Bergen, Norway.  He also appeared as soloist with the Vidin Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria.  He has also presented recitals in Costa Rica, Norway, at the Para XXV International Music Festival in Brazil, as well as St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna & the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria.

Mr. Hekmatpanah has released a compact disc recording containing cello sonatas by Franck, Debussy, and Chopin.  He has won several competitions and awards, including prizes in the Beethoven Club Young Artists’ Competition, the Virginia Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters Competition, the Brentwood-Westwood Concerto Competition, the Fort Collins Concerto Competition, and the Montpelier Cultural Arts Solo Competition. Deeply committed to teaching, Mr. Hekmatpanah is a Professor of Music at Gonzaga University, where he has taught since 1994. He recently received an Exemplary Faculty Award for his Academic Citizenship. He is currently a member of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra.  He has previously served on the faculty of Middle Tennessee State University and has taught cello at the Governor’s School for the Arts. He has served on competition juries, and he has presented master classes and clinics throughout the country.  In addition to being the first cellist to earn a DMA from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, he also holds a MM from Indiana University and a BM from the University of Southern California.  His teachers have included such nationally renowned pedagogues as Stephen Kates, Fritz Magg, and Gabor Rejto, and he has received coachings from such internationally celebrated artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, and Janos Starker.  For more information, visit his web site at

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Leonard Garrison is Professor of Flute and Associate Director of the Lionel Hampton School of Music at University of Idaho, Director of the Auditorium Chamber Music Series at the U of I, flutist in the Northwest Wind Quintet and the Scott/Garrison Duo, and Principal Flute of the Walla Walla Symphony. In summers, he teaches and performs at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. He received the University’s inaugural Presidential Mid-Career Award, a 2012 Idaho Commission on the Arts Fellowship, and third prizes for Chamber Music and Instrumental Soloist from The American Prize (2016).

His ten CDs have received rave reviews. Flute Talk magazine called Superflute (2005) “astounding,” The Flute Network’s review of American Reflections (2008) stated that “Garrison’s playing combines great virtuosity, superb control of musical expression, and high energy with lyricism.” Fanfare Magazine wrote of East Meets West, “Flutist Leonard Garrison’s basic sound is extraordinary—uncommonly rich, pure, and true.” The Flutist Quarterly’s review of Barn Dances stated, “Not only do I thoroughly enjoy listening to every piece, so lovingly played by Shannon Scott (clarinet) and Leonard Garrison (flute), but the performers leave me wanting more. This CD is a great little collection of flute and clarinet duos, and an equally great model of superb musicianship.”

Leonard has been a strong advocate for contemporary music and has released world premiere recordings of works by Robert Beaser, Derek Bermel, Robert Dick, Daniel Dorff, John David Earnest, Murray Gross, Libby Larson, David Loeb, Vincent Persichetti, Roger Nixon, Kaija Saariaho, Howard Sandroff, Joseph Schwantner, Harvey Sollberger, Dan Welcher, and others. His doctoral dissertation is on the flute music of Elliott Carter, and he coached personally with Carter.

Garrison has played flute and piccolo in the Chicago Symphony (including a 2003 tour of Japan), the Spokane Symphony, and the Tulsa Philharmonic, performed on American Public Media’s “Performance Today,” won the 2003 Byron Hester Competition, performed at numerous National Flute Association and College Music Society national and regional conventions and as concerto soloist with many orchestras. He has taught at The University of Tulsa, Bowling Green State University, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. The Flutist Quarterly and Flute Talk have published his articles. He has served as President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Program Chair of The National Flute Association. His YouTube Channel has over 158,000 views.

In demand as a teacher, he applies the results of research in the psychology of teaching and learning in the specialized atmosphere of the music studio. His students have won national and regional competitions. He has adjudicated for the Crescendo Music Awards, the National Flute Association, MusicFest Northwest, Music Teachers National Association, Alaska All-State Solo and Ensemble Festival and many regional competitions.

Leonard holds a Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University, where he studied with Walfrid Kujala and Richard Graef. He received Master of Music and Master of Arts degrees from The State University of New York at Stony Brook, studying with Samuel Baron. His Bachelor of Music is from The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where his teacher was Robert Willoughby.

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Dr. Jeffrey Snedeker has taught in the Music Department of Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, since 1991.  His duties have included teaching horn, music history, and brass literature and pedagogy, performing with the CWU Faculty Wind Quintet and the CWU Faculty Brass Quintet, and directing the CWU Brass Choir and CWU Horn Ensemble.  The CWUHE maintains an active outreach program for public schools, and has been an invited performing ensemble at numerous horn and music educator conferences, including the 28th (Eugene, OR), 30th(Banff), 33rd(Kalamazoo, MI), 40th(Denver), 43rd(San Francisco), 47th(Los Angeles), and 50th(Muncie, IN) international workshops of the International Horn Society. Dr. Snedeker has served as Interim Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, Associate Chair of the Music Department, and Chair of CWU’s Faculty Senate, as well as on numerous department, college, and university committees.  He has received recognition for his teaching, scholarship, and service, including 2006 CWU Faculty Member of the Year, 2008 CWU Phi Kappa Phi Scholar of the Year, 2012 Washington Music Educators Association Higher Education Music Educator of the Year, 2012 CWU Distinguished University Faculty for Service, 2014 Washington State Representative Timm Ormsby Faculty Citizenship Award, and the 2014 National Phi Kappa Phi Artist Award.  In 2018, Dr. Snedeker was inducted into the WMEA Hall of Fame.

Jeff is active in several national and international organizations, serving on the Board of Directors of the Historic Brass Society, the Washington Music Educators Association Advisory Board (elected to two terms as Higher Education Curriculum Officer), and the Advisory Council of the International Horn Society. He was elected President of IHS in 2006, re-elected in 2008 and again in 2016, and has served the society in many other capacities, including as Publications Editor (1998-2003) and Book and Music Reviews Editor (2003-2016).

As a performer, Jeff has received a number of honors, most notably First Place in the Natural Horn Division of the 1991 American Horn Competition. Jeff currently serves as Principal Horn with the Yakima Symphony. Jeff has been a featured artist, clinician, lecturer, conductor, and host of regional, national, and international conferences on six continents for the International Horn Society, Historic Brass Society, Northwest Horn Society, Washington Music Educators Association, among others, and given concerto appearances, traditional recitals, natural horn performances, and jazz gigs all over the US, and in Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, England, Finland, Taiwan, South Africa, Australia, and Brazil. He has also organized and hosted a wide range of events, including early music, brass, and horn workshops. He has held positions and played extra horn with regional, metropolitan, and festival orchestras in Washington (including Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera), Oregon (including the Oregon Symphony), Utah (including the Utah Symphony Orchestra), Wisconsin, Ohio, New Mexico, Virginia, and Michigan. He has also performed with Early Music Vancouver and the Pacific Baroque Orchestra of Vancouver, BC, and the Seattle Classical Players, among other period-instrument groups.  Jeff has also performed on film and video game scores with Seattlemusic, Seattle Film Institute, and others, including Mirror, Mirror, Underworld: Awakening, Worlds of Warcraft 6, and Arkham Origins.

Jeff has published over 50 articles on a variety of musical topics in scholarly and popular journals, including seven entries in the second edition of The New Grove Dictionary. With pianist Marilyn Wilbanks, Jeff released his first solo recording in 1996, Musique de Salon: 19th-Century French Music for horn and piano, which includes music for natural and early valved horns with fortepiano, and has received much critical acclaim. A second successful recording devoted to jazz, First Times, was released in 1998, and features the horn in settings ranging from horn/bass duo to fronting a big band. His third and fourth solo recordings were released in 2010—The Contemporary Natural Horn, the first ever CD devoted to this literature, and a second jazz CD Minor Returns: Tributes to the Horn in Jazz. His most recent recording, Twelve Etudes for Second Horn, op. 57, by Jacques-François Gallay, is the first-ever “side-by-side” recording, featuring these etudes on both the natural horn and the modern valved horn, serving as a unique pedagogical and artistic resource.  All of his recordings have received very favorable reviews, and are available on and iTunes. Jeff has also been featured on recordings of the works of Douglas Hill and Lowell Shaw.

Jeff completed a BA in music and mathematics at Heidelberg College (1980), a Master of Music in horn performance at the University of Michigan (1981), a Master of Arts in music history at The Ohio State University (1985), and a Doctor of Musical Arts in horn performance and historical musicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1991).  He lives in Ellensburg, Washington, with his extremely patient wife and two talented sons.

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Winner: Adrian King (student of Peter Mack)
Alternate: Edward Zhang (student of Sasha Starcevich)
Honorable Mention: Grace Weppler (student of Duane Hulbert) and Nicole Wang (student of Nino Merabishvili)


Winner: Marley Erickson, violin (student of Simon James)
Alternate: Carson Ling-Efird, cello (student of Kevin Krentz)
Honorable Mention: Jessica Na, violin (student of Leonid Keylin)


Winner: Brooke Lambert, flute (student of Bonnie Blanchard)
Alternate: Jasmine Lin, flute (student of Robert Wilson)
Honorable Mention: Claire Wei, flute (student of Robert Wilson)

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Representative: Evan Minsk, horn (student of Roger Burnett)


Winner: Leah Deobald (student of Duane Hulbert)
Alternate: Robert Yan (student of Ivona Kaminska-Bowlby)
Honorable Mention: Janet Phang (student of Peter Mack)


Winner: Jeslyn Cai and Justin Cai (students of Peter Mack and Karlyn Brett)
Alternate: Dajeong Yoon and Hyun Yoon (students of Allan Park)
Honorable Mention: Grace Winslow and Caleb Winslow (students of Irene Bowling)


Winner: Ryan Char, violin (student of Simon James)
Alternate: Stephen Leou, cello (student of Leslie Marckx)
Honorable Mention: Shintaro Taneda, violin (student of Simon James)


Winner: Minsoo Kwon, flute (student of Zart Dombourian-Eby)
Alternate: Anthony Xie, flute (student of Bonnie Blanchard)

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Winner: Anthony Achille, euphonium (student of Chris Dickey)
Alternate: Matthew Tatz, tuba  (student of Chris Dickey)


Winner: Garrett Snedeker (student of Jeffrey Savage)
Alternate: Frankie Bones (student of Jeffrey Savage)
Honorable Mention: Luke Irvine (student of Leonard Richter) and Aubrey Marks-Johnson (student of Jeffrey Gilliam)


Representative: James Marshall, viola (student of Jody Graves)


Representative: Monica Weber, saxophone (student of Fred Winkler)


Winner: Trio Giada  Sarah Lee, violin; Nolan Welch, cello; and Kassidy Dent, piano (students of Carrie Michel)
Alternate: The Brahamas  Ethan Seid, violin; James Marshall, viola; Timothy Gales, cello; and Cristian Garcia, piano (students of Jody Graves)

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2017 WA State National Winners (pdf)

2016 WA State National Winners (pdf)