The USU Piano Program is recognized throughout the country and the world as one of the finest undergraduate programs in piano performance and pedagogy. Students from all over the world attend USU to study with USU piano faculty in both performance and pedagogy. During the 2002-2003 academic year, piano majors included students from Italy, Spain, Armenia, Arizona, California, Nevada, Idaho, and Utah.
Graduates of the USU piano program are successful in a diverse array of fields. Many alumni serve as faculty at such universities as Missouri Western State College, Utah State University, and Iowa State University, to name a few. Many other piano program graduates have distinguished careers in piano teaching. Some, such as Laura Zisette and Kathleen Lloyd, have even built successful small businesses. Finally, others have used their degrees as foundations for careers in medicine. Simply put, students in the USU piano program receive an educational foundation for a lifetime.
Students of the USU Youth Conservatory and the USU piano program have continued their education in both music and other fields at the following institutions:
Curtis Institute of Music
Eastman School of Music
Hochschule (West Germany)
Juilliard School of Music
Manhattan School of Music
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
New England Conservatory of Music
The Royal Conservatory of Music (London)
The University of Cincinnati College Conservatory
The University of Colorado - Boulder
The University of Houston
The University of Oklahoma
The University of Maryland
The University of Rochester
The Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California
Yale University School of Music
The USU piano performance program consistently produces outstanding pianists. The success of the program stems from the master teaching of program director Gary Amano.
Students of Gary Amano have won the following competitions:
45th Annual Kosciuszko International Chopin Competition (New York City)
Kingsville International Competition (Kingsville, Texas)
National Stillman-Kelly Competition
Stravinsky International Competition (Champaign, Illinois)
All Divisions of the National MTNA Piano Competitions (Arkansas, Washington, Michigan, Los Angeles)
International Junior Gina Bachauer Competition (Salt Lake City)
Young Keyboard Artist's International Competition (Los Angeles)
First prizes in 20 Music Teachers National Association Regional Competitions held in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah
Grand Junction National Concerto Auditions
The Utah Symphony Youth Guild Competition
Numerous Utah Music Teachers Competitions
Numerous Utah State Fair Music Competitions
Numerous Utah Symphony Salute to Youth Auditions
Students of Gary Amano have also received 2nd place at the following competitions:
Esther Honens Calgary International Piano Competition (Calgary, Canada)
Joseph Fisch National Competition (San Diego, CA)
Richardson National Competition (Lansing, MI)
Young Artist's Competition (Phoenix, AZ)
Wayne Nadeau Competition (Stockton, CA)
Professor Amano has also had over 30 students perform with the Utah Symphony. In addition his students have performed with symphony orchestras in Europe, Mexico, Canada, and across the country.
Every other year USU hosts the highly acclaimed Wassermann Festival. This festival brings top concert pianists to Logan for a one-week residency at USU. A partial listing of Wassermann Festival Guest Artists includes: Katherine Chi, Jose Fegali, Leon Fleisher, Claude Frank, Stewart Gordon, Douglas Humpherys, Olga Kern, Marina Lomazov, Jerome Lowenthal, Panayis Lyras, Jane Magrath, John Perry, Daniel Pollack, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Charles Rosen, Andre-Michel Schub, Nelita True, and Ralph Votapek. In 2002 the Wassermann Festival was proud to feature Utah premier performances of Gold and Silver Medal Winners of the Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
Without fail, every single Guest Artist of the Wassermann Festival has marveled at the level of excellence in the USU Piano Program. Andre-Michel Schub, 1981 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Winner, said that the level of student piano performance at USU is what one would expect to find at the leading music conservatories in the country.
The USU piano program also administers the USU Youth Conservatory. Established in 1978, the Youth Conservatory provides piano and music instruction for pre-college students in the Northern Utah and Southern Idaho region. This program has been recognized by the National Association of Schools of Music as a model program for other schools throughout the state, region, and country. The Youth Conservatory currently provides classroom and private instruction for over 300 children. The Youth Conservatory also showcases young performers in the Kids in Koncert series. This concert series includes the YC Halloween Recitals and Carnival, Christmas Recitals at the Logan Tabernacle and local retirement homes, the Annual "Monster" Concert, and the Young People's Concert.
The Youth Conservatory serves as a lab program for USU piano pedagogy majors to hone their teaching skills and receive faculty guidance in "real life" teaching situations. The strength of this program directly contributes to the success of USU piano pedagogy graduates.