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gene marcus Piano Competition

community Arts Academy

Accent texture
Accent texture

First-round auditions: Saturday, January 20, and Sunday, January 21, 2024 (or by video submission)

Final round: Sunday, February 4, 2024

Application deadline: Thursday, January 4, 2024

Winners Recital and Awards Ceremony: Sunday, February 4, 2024, 6:30 p.m.

A. Eligibility

  • The competition is open to all precollege piano students, ages 18 and under as of February 4, 2024, who reside within 100 miles of Fort Wayne.
  • All applicants must have been studying with their current teachers for at least six of the nine consecutive months immediately before February 4, 2023.
  • Previous first-prize winners may not reenter at the same division and may enter at a higher division only if age requirements are met.
  • Contestants in all divisions must pass the first-round auditions to compete in the final round of the competition.

B. General Rules for All Divisions and Repertoire Requirements

  • All performances are to be from memory and must stay within the following time guidelines:
    • Elementary Division (ages 9 and under): 5 minutes
    • Intermediate Division (ages 10–12): 8 minutes
    • Junior Division (ages 13–15): 12 minutes
    • Senior Division (ages 16–18): 15 minutes
    • (Note that minutes indicated are the maximum overall performance time, inclusive of repeats. However, time between pieces will not count. The jury reserves the right to stop a performance if it exceeds the time limit for the respective division. While no minimum performance time is required, the chosen program must be representative for its age division and demonstrate variety of style, tempo, and character.)
  • Repertoire previously performed in this competition may not be repeated by the same contestant.
  • Only complete, unabridged solo piano works in the original form and key will be accepted; no concertos or arrangements may be used. Individual movements of multimovement works that can be performed as musical units are permitted. Repeats are left to the discretion of the entrant/teacher, but cuts are not permitted.  
  • For all divisions, contestants are to perform two or more contrasting works from two or more of the following musical periods:
    • Baroque and earlier
    • Classical
    • Romantic
    • Impressionistic
    • 20th/21st Century
  • First-round auditions will take place on Saturday, January 20, or Sunday, January 21, 2024. Contestants may choose to perform their program at that time (individual times will be assigned on one of the two dates) or may submit a video recording of their competition program for review, to be received no later than Wednesday, January 17, 2024. Video recordings must be submitted via YouTube or other online link (see application form for further details). Results of the first-round auditions will be sent via email by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Those selected to compete in the final round will perform on Sunday, February 4, 2024. All live performances will take place at the Rhinehart Music Center on the campus of Purdue University Fort Wayne.
  • Contestants may perform their program in their preferred order; the same program presented at the first-round auditions must be performed in the final round.

C. Application, Application Procedures and Additional Regulations

*Fees are non-refundable.

  • Once an application is submitted, students, teachers, and parents agree to abide by the rules and regulations as stated on this website. Failure to comply will result in disqualification and will make the entrant ineligible to receive any recognition or monetary award.
  • Contact us at [email protected] prior to submission of the application with any questions regarding the appropriateness of chosen repertoire. No repertoire changes will be permitted once the application is submitted. Teachers are requested to verify that the repertoire is listed correctly before submission of the application.
  • Late applications will not be considered.
  • The Competition Committee will determine all schedules. It is the responsibility of the entrant to be available for the published dates of the competition.
  • By entering this competition, you agree to abide by all Federal Copyright Laws.  For live rounds, entrants are to provide to the competition jury a single hard copy score (original preferred) for each work to be performed.  Photocopies are strongly discouraged but may be used, if necessary, provided they are legal.  If submitting a video for first-round auditions, entrants MUST submit scanned scores for all pieces in order of performance, in one file, and in a separate attachment from the application.  Measures are to be numbered at the beginning of each system.
  • Applicants may not reveal their names or their teachers’ names to the Final Round Adjudication Panel until winners are announced. Students of final-round judges may not enter the competition.
  • The jury reserves the right to declare no winner, or fewer than three winners, in any division as it deems appropriate. The jury’s decision is final and may not be challenged by anyone, including the Competition Committee.
  • First, second, and third place winners are required to perform at the winners recital on Sunday, February 4, at 6:30 p.m. in order to receive their prizes and monetary awards.
  • Competition performances, including the winners recital, are open to the public.
  • Photography is not permitted during performances.
  • The final round of the competition may be recorded and videotaped for broadcast, video or audio recording use. It is anticipated that the winners recital will be made available on the internet. In addition, camera crews may photograph all competition events. Neither the Purdue University Fort Wayne Gene Marcus Piano Competition nor its assignees or licensees may be held liable for any payments to pianists arising out of materials derived from competition performances. Applicants are required to sign a release form yielding all rights on such materials.

Application Deadline
Thursday, January 4, 2024

First-Round Auditions
Saturday, January 20, and Sunday, January 21, 2024 (times to be assigned in one of those days) or by video submission. See application for more details on either option.

Final Round
Sunday, February 4, 2024
The competition final round typically runs from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  The schedule will be determined according to the number of finalists in each division.

Winners Recital
Sunday, February 4, 2024, 6:30 p.m.

First Round Judges

The competition first round is adjudicated by Purdue University Fort Wayne piano faculty. All contestants will receive written feedback from each adjudicator, to be sent by email following the first round auditions.

Hamilton Tescarollo 
Since his debut with the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), pianist Hamilton Tescarollo has performed as both soloist and collaborative artist in the United States, Canada, Europe, and South America. Recent performances have taken him to concert venues in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and multiple US states. He has appeared in international music festivals such as Orford (Canada), Eleazar de Carvalho (Fortaleza, Brazil), Cascais (Portugal), Saarburg (Germany), Bratislava (Slovakia), and Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia). In March 2016, he performed George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium. A versatile musician who performs both the mainstream and the avant-garde repertory, he frequently includes the music of Brazil and other Latin-American countries in his programs.
Also an active recording artist, he is featured in three published CD’s. With clarinetist Jorge Montilla (Professor of Clarinet at The University of Iowa and former Principal Clarinet of the Simon Bolivar Orchestra in Venezuela), he recorded the CD “La Revoltosa,” featuring contemporary works by composers of both North and South America for clarinet and piano (Clarinet Classics). He also appears in two CDs with Purdue Fort Wayne colleague Farrell Vernon (Centaur Records), containing works for sopranino saxophone and piano as well as larger ensembles involving these two instruments.
Tescarollo was awarded the top prizes at the OSESP Young Soloists’ National Competition and the Escola Municipal de Música de São Paulo’s piano competition and was one of three finalists at the 1991 National Mozart Competition in Brazil. Other distinctions include sponsorships by the Secretary of Culture of the State of São Paulo, the Vitae Foundation, the Arizona Community Foundation, and Arizona State University. A dedicated teacher, he received “Teacher of the Year” awards from the Indiana Music Teachers Association (2015) and the Schimmel-AZ Piano Young Artist Piano Competition (2001), as well as the “Top Music Teacher” award from Steinway & Sons (2016 and 2017). His own students have been prizewinners of many piano contests, including the Phoenix Symphony Guild Concerto Competition, Indianapolis Symphony Young Musicians Competition, Sewannee Summer Music Center Concerto Competition, Indiana Hoosier Auditions, and MTNA Competitions, among others. They also have been awarded numerous scholarships and grants to attend summer programs, such as Interlochen, Brevard, Idylwild, Adamant, Sewannee, and Saarburg (Germany), and have been accepted for graduate study at prestigious institutions such as the Manhattan School of Music, Peabody Institute, and the University of Michigan.
Tescarollo serves as Professor of Music and Director of Keyboard Studies at Purdue University Fort Wayne. In this capacity, he teaches applied piano and piano-related courses and coordinates the keyboard area. He also teaches both young and professional pianists through the PFW Community Arts Academy and serves as piano faculty at the Interlochen Arts Camp in the summer. He has previously held teaching positions at Faculdade Santa Marcelina, The Municipal School of Music of São Paulo, and Arizona State University, and has also taught at the Saarburg Serenaden International Music Festival in Germany. In addition, he directs the Gene Marcus Piano Competition and Gene Marcus Piano Camp and Festival, presents piano master classes both nationally and internationally, and is a frequent lecturer and competition adjudicator.
Dr. Tescarollo holds Piano Performance degrees from Arizona State University (D.M.A. and M.M.), Faculdade Santa Marcelina (B.M.), and Escola Municipal de Música de São Paulo (Diploma). His main teachers were Gilberto Tinetti (a pupil of Tagliaferro, Cortot, and Wuehrer) and Caio Pagano (also a pupil of Tagliaferro, as well as of Conrad Hansen and Carl Engel). He has also studied with Robert Hamilton, Sandra Abrão and Paulo Bergamo, and has coached with Menahem Pressler, Paul Badura-Skoda, Lazar Berman, Barbara Hesse-Bukowska, and Maria João Pires, among others.

D.M.A. Arizona State University
M.M. Arizona State University
B.M. Faculdade Santa Marcelina


Jonathan Young

Dr. Jonathan Young is an active pianist, composer, teacher, conductor, and accompanist. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance at the University of Kansas, studying with Dr. Steven Spooner. Career highlights include advancing to the final round of the American Prize for Solo Piano - Professional Division in 2021, the establishment of the American Liszt Society's Northern Indiana Chapter, working as coach/accompanist at Opera in the Ozarks in Summer 2018, attending the Bel Canto Summer Academy in Germany as a collaborative pianist in 2016, and performing solo piano at Haydn’s Esterhazy Palace in Austria through the Classical Music Festival in 2013. In concerto performances, Dr. Young has performed Mozart's Piano Concerto in C Minor with the Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra and Mozart's Piano Concerto in D Minor with the Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony Orchestra. He is an avid performer of chamber music, vocal, instrumental, and choral music. Dr. Young received his master’s degree from University of Missouri Kansas City with Dr. Robert Weirich and bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College with Dr. Karin Redekopp Edwards. He also served as vice president of KU’s Collegiate Chapter of MTNA, and reviews books for the American Music Teacher magazine. Jonathan currently serves as Lecturer of Piano at Purdue University - Fort Wayne and maintains an active piano studio at the Community Arts Academy.

B.M. Wheaton College
M.M. University of Missouri
D.M.A. University of Kansas

Final Round Judges

The competition final round is adjudicated by a panel of nationally and internationally renowned pianists and teachers. All finalists will receive written feedback from each adjudicator immediately following the conclusion of their respective division. Visit the competition archives page for listings of previous years’ judges.

David Abbott 
David Abbott has been Professor of Piano at Albion College since 2005.  Previously he lived for ten years in Switzerland where he was frequently heard both as soloist and collaborative artist through Switzerland, Germany and on tours in Australia as a member of the Swiss Chamber Soloists. His recording with that ensemble on the Swiss Claves label of Schumann’s piano quartet and quintet won the coveted Prix d’or prize for that year’s outstanding chamber music recording.

Dr. Abbott has dedicated a great deal of his career as mentor and teacher, serving on the faculties of the Zürich and Schaffausen Conservatories of Music (Switzerland), and earlier at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2010, he was asked to serve on the faculty of the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University as a sabbatical replacement for Edmund Battersby.  He has also directed summer courses in both piano and chamber music in Europe as well as in the United States for over 25 years. In 2003, he founded the Con Brio Music Academy at the Hindemith Music Center in Blonay, Switzerland where he works with students across Europe and from the United States in piano and chamber music.

In 2011, Dr. Abbott was invited to teach and perform in the Republic of China (Taiwan) and also appeared in recitals with his wife Lia Jensen-Abbott in France and Switzerland.  He was awarded a Bronze medal and two special prizes at the 1980 International Music Competition in Geneva.  A graduate of the Eastman and Juilliard Schools of Music, Dr. Abbott remains active in historically informed performance practice as a result of work with renowned fortepianist Malcolm Bilson.  He recently completed a two-CD recording project of solo and chamber music by 20th-century composer Dmitri Shostakovitch.

B.M. Eastman School of Music
M.M. The Juilliard School
D.M.A. Eastman School of Music

Joseph Bognar

Joseph Bognar is chair of the music department at Valparaiso University, where he teaches piano, harpsichord, and music theory. He has served on the faculties of the Maud Powell Music Festival, Lutheran Summer Music, and the Stamford International Music Festival. As a member of the Castillon Piano Trio, he has performed in the United Kingdom, receiving acclaim for “his superb technique … one could only marvel at this talented performer.” (Evening Telegraph, U.K.) His performances with the trio have aired on BBC radio. He toured China with Windiana, Northwest Indiana’s professional wind ensemble, where he appeared as piano soloist in works of Gershwin and Xian. His live performances from Symphony Center, Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Center have aired on WFMT-FM.

As a proponent of contemporary music, he has premiered piano solo works of composer Stephen Wilcox throughout the United States, including a performance at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and has recorded Wilcox’s work for the Capstone record label. He premiered a new piano work by Wilcox in November 2009 for the Santa Barbara Arts Fund. His most recent campus performances have featured some of the most formidable 20th-century works, including Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated! and Ives’s Sonata no. 2: Concord, Mass.

He has presented lecture-recitals on the works of Fauré and Schubert. His doctoral research explores Schubert’s compositional self-borrowing in the construction of operatic arias, and his article, “J.C. Bach’s Temistocle: Detecting the Reform Spirit in Eighteenth-Century Opera Seria,” appears in volume XIV of the Music Research Forum. His compositions for organ are published by Augsburg Fortress Press.

Bognar completed undergraduate studies in piano and organ at Valparaiso University, where he graduated summa cum laude. Awarded two university fellowships, he studied piano with internationally renowned accompanist John Wustman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned his doctor of musical arts.

B.M. Valparaiso University
D.M.A. University of Illinois

Lian Tan 
Siok Lian Tan is a Professor of Piano and Coordinator of the Keyboard Area in the Department of Music. She teaches piano performance, piano pedagogy, chamber music, and class piano.

As a performer, Tan has been heard in live broadcasts on Cincinnati Public Radio Station WGUC and has appeared as a soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Oxford Chamber Orchestra, and Miami University Symphony Orchestra. She has also presented solo and chamber music concerts in major cities such as New York, Chicago, Luxembourg, Cologne, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, and London, including a solo recital at the St. Martin-in-the-Fields concert series. Tan has recorded the chamber music of James Lentini on the Naxos

Active as a clinician and pedagogue, Tan has presented lectures at prestigious music conferences such as the College Music Society National Conference, the National Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Forum, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and the Music Teachers National Association National Conference. Her articles appeared in Piano Pedagogy Forum, American Music Teacher, MTNA e-Journal, and Clavier Companion. She has received the 2011 Ohio Music Teachers Association Teacher of the Year, the 2020 Miami University Crossan Hays Curry Distinguished Educator, and the 2023 American Music Teacher Article of the Year Awards.

D.M.A. University of Cincinnati 
M.M. University of Cincinnati
Performer's Licentiate in Piano, Trinity College of Music, London

Mary Siciliano

Mary Siciliano has a very successful private piano studio that includes pre-college students and piano teachers. She continues to give pedagogy workshops throughout the country and recently taught at the Interlochen Adult Education Seminar. Siciliano was on the piano faculty at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where she taught applied piano, piano ensemble, chamber music, and coordinated the piano pedagogy program. She also taught piano pedagogy classes at the University of Michigan, Madonna University, and Schoolcraft College. Her students have gone to prestigious music schools and have distinguished themselves in many local, state, national, and international piano competitions.

Siciliano and violinist Velda Kelly cofounded "Chamber Music with Piano". This summer workshop at Madonna University explores chamber music with piano and has included students from age 12 through adults. Students are offered intense coaching with various musicians from the Michigan Opera Orchestra. Thius culminates in a final recital that also includes verbal communication with the audience.

Siciliano is very active in piano teacher organizations. She has served on the boards of the Metropolitan Detroit Musicians League, Michigan Music Teachers Association, the East Central Division of the Music Teachers National Association, and the Tuesday Musicale of Detroit.

Siciliano performs throughout the United States, Canada, and France. She has been broadcast on CBC, WRCJ, and several others. She has collaborated on several cd albums that include first recordings of Richard Stohr on Toccata Classics as well as the chamber music of Jacques de la Presle, Pierre de Breville, Ignatz Waghalter, and Fernand de la Tombelle.


B.M. Michigan State University
M.M. University of Michigan

Aya Higuchi

Aya Higuchi Hagelthorn is the director of Collegiate Class Piano and the coordinator of the Piano Pedagogy Laboratory Program. She is a member of the College of Examiners at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She has been active as a piano teacher, clinician, collaborator, outreach performer, and is currently on the faculty of University of Michigan as a lecturer in Piano Pedagogy and a senior teacher of the Piano Pedagogy Laboratory Program.

Her solo and collaborative performances have been well received in Japan, Italy, Prague, and the U.S. She has presented her pedagogical research at several local and national conferences. Her recordings of Chopin’s piano works can be found in films, documentaries, and educational productions, and they are widely available from and

B.M.  University of North Carolina 
M.M.  University of Michigan
D.M.A.  University of Michigan

Minju Choi Witte 
Lauded for being “positively mesmerizing at the piano” by The Times-Tribune, Korean-American pianist Minju Choi Witte has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia as a recitalist, orchestral soloist, and chamber musician. She has appeared as a soloist with the Indianapolis and Shreveport Symphonies, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the Music Academy of the West and Juilliard Orchestras. Minju has been presented in recitals in cities in the U.S. and abroad, including Paris, New York City, Burgundy, Philadelphia, and Chicago. She has been presented in prestigious venues such as the Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, Steinway Hall and the Vancouver Chamber Music Festival. She has been heard as a soloist and chamber musician in live and recorded performances on radio stations around the country including, WQXR New York Radio, WFMT Chicago Radio, WQSC Santa Barbara, KDAQ Shreveport and WICR Indianapolis. Minju was a featured artist at the Vancouver Recital Society’s Chamber Music Festival, in which her performances were broadcast on CBC Radio.  

Committed to the education of young pianists and arts advocacy, Minju has created numerous community music engagement programs at schools and public hospitals. She has served as an adjucator at various MTNA State Competitions, Carmel Klavier International Competition, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition. She has previously served as the chair of the MTNA/MMTA (Missouri) Piano Performance Competition. Through her vision, she created the Community Music Service Fellowship at Eskenazi Hospital, Indiana’s largest public service hospital, which provides opportunities for university music students and faculty artists to uniquely contribute their talents by providing free concerts to its visitors. She has served on the Missouri Arts Council's Music Advisory Panel and on the Indiana Arts Commission’s Strategic Planning Committee. She has given masterclasses and pedagogy lectures at universities across the U.S. including at West Virginia University, University of Iowa, Butler University, University of Memphis, and Brigham Young University. She has similarly taught in S. Korea at Gwangju University and at Honam Christian University. In 2021, Minju was appointed to serve on the Research and Diversity Committees of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, hosted by the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy. Minju has served on the piano faculty at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. While at MSU, she created its Young Artists Keyboard Academy; a summer program for pre-college keyboardists. She was the recipient of several faculty grant awards, including a major equipment funding grant which allowed her to create a new keyboard lab for music major students. She was also showcased on the MSU’s faculty research magazine and video, Mind’s Eye highlighting her work as both a teacher and a performer (link).

The South Korean-born, Indiana-bred pianist has been awarded prizes in several competitions including first prize in the Nena Wideman International Piano Competition, the Music Academy of the West Concerto Competition, and the Juilliard Concerto Competition. Minju was also a winner in the National YoungArts Foundation Competition. She earned her bachelor´s and master´s degrees from The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Jerome Lowenthal. She pursued additional studies with Jean-Claude Pennetier at École Normale de Musique de Paris and with Bernd Goetzke at Hochschule für Musik, Theater, und Medien Hannover in Germany. She received her doctoral degree at Stony Brook University in New York.

Minju currently resides in Indianapolis. Her mission as an artist and educator is to foster meaningful connections with others through the universal language of music.


B.M. The Juilliard School 
M.M.  The Juilliard School 
D.M.A. Stony Brook University


First Prize: $100 award and trophy

Second Prize: $75 award and trophy

Third Prize: $50 award and trophy



First Prize: $125 award and trophy

Second Prize: $100 award and trophy

Third Prize: $75 award and trophy



First Prize: $150 award and trophy

Second Prize: $125 award and trophy

Third Prize: $100 award and trophy



First Prize: $200 award and trophy

Second Prize: $175 award and trophy

Third Prize: $150 award and trophy

*In addition, all competition finalists in grades 8 through 12 will be offered a partial scholarship to the 2024 Gene Marcus Piano Camp and Festival.



Winners in the senior division may be offered a scholarship to pursue a music degree at Purdue University Fort Wayne, contingent upon acceptance at the university.

The Gene Marcus Piano Competition is funded in part by the Gene Marcus Endowment, which was created specifically for that purpose. The competition is also sponsored by the Purdue Fort Wayne School of Music and relies on additional contributions to make its awards possible. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact us at [email protected] or 260-481-6059. Opportunities include naming one or more prizes, establishing a special prize,or contributing to the general operating budget of the competition. All donations are tax-deductible and will be recognized in the competition winners recital program (unless specified otherwise by the donor).

Wilda “Gene” Marcus (1927–2005) was a lifelong piano teacher and enthusiastic supporter of all the arts. She held several degrees, including bachelor of music in piano with honors from Indiana University, 1950; and a masters of music in piano with distinction, Indiana University, 1951. She was a public-school music teacher and later was associate faculty of piano at Indiana University Purdue University (which is now Purdue University Fort Wayne) from 1968 to 1986. She taught hundreds of piano students of all ages privately, accompanied many soloists, and was pianist in numerous ensembles throughout her 60-year career. Her extensive involvement at the Fort Wayne Civic Theater included rehearsal pianist and music director for numerous musicals. She was a former member of Morning Musical Society and patron of Fort Wayne Civic Theater. She was president of Northeast Indiana Music Teachers Association, a member of Sigma Alpha Iota (Music Honorary Society), and Patron of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. She was given the 1994 Teacher of the Year Award by the Indiana Music Teachers Association.

Check out the archive to see past winners and judges.