The Rochester Piano Teachers’ Guild annually presents its Howard Hanson Certificate of Merit to high school seniors who exhibit excellence in piano performance.
The award is named for composer Howard Hanson, who directed the Eastman School of Music from 1924 to 1964.
This year’s winners are Oliver Bauer, Helen Gong, Judith Lanahan, Noah Lee, Adam Mroueh, David Munechika, Brian Phung, Shira Presberg, Henry Qin, Marlo Smith, Rudolph Vollo, Matthew Woodworth and Thomas Xue.
Bauer studies classical and jazz piano under the direction of Kym Schifino. He participates in the Jazz Band, Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band and Wind Ensemble at Pittsford Sutherland High School. Bauer plans to study economics and minor in music next fall in college.
Gong attends the Harley School and is a student of Wendy Henrickson. She participated in the Flower City Gold Cup Festival in 2019, and plans to study philosophy and pre-med in college.
Lanahan is the student of Stephanie Hong. She plays alto saxophone in the Our Lady of Mercy Jazz Band and teaches piano at Nativity Preparatory Academy in Rochester. She plans to study mechanical engineering next year.
Lee studies piano with Jacob Ertle. He attends the Harley School and is co-concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. He plans to major in neuroscience at Yale University in the fall.
Mroueh attends Pittsford Sutherland and studies with Ria Senobroto. He received three Gold cups from the National Federation of Music Clubs and Teachers’ Guild, and was selected for the NYSSMA All-State Conference for baritone saxophone. He plans to study physics or economics in college.
Munechika studies with Gary Fisher and won the 2017 Junior All-Star Competition. He earned four Gold cups, and placed second in the Nazareth College Piano Competition in 2017 and 2019. Munechika is principal cellist with the Fairport High School Orchestra. He plans to study computer science in college with a focus on artificial intelligence and entrepreneurship.
Phung studied piano with Carol Cerone for 12 years and jazz piano with Steve Cerone for two years. He played piano in the Hilton High School Jazz Ensemble for four years and was featured as a soloist. He plans to pursue biochemistry and music in college.
Presberg studied with Bonnie Choi and John Gabriele. The School of the Arts senior received the Chemistry Achievement Award for academic excellence from the American Chemical Society in 2018 and 2019, as well as the Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award. She plans to study chemistry in college.
Qin has studied the piano since age 5 with Alla Kuznetsov. He is in the diploma program at the Eastman Community Music School and is a violinist with the Sutherland Orchestra. Next year, Qin will major in biological sciences at Cornell University.
Smith studies piano with Roberta Honadle. She received two Gold cups and participated in the NYSMTA Student Achievement Program for 10 years. Smith plays piano in the jazz band and sings with the chorus at Pittsford Mendon High School. She will attend the University of Rochester.
Vollo won a scholarship to the Eastman Community Music School, where he studies piano with Howard Spindler. He attends Webster Thomas High School and plans to study business at UR in the fall.
Woodworth is a student of Sarah Rhee-Tirre and attends Victor High School. He plays organ at his church and accompanies the choir. He plans to attend Brigham Young University.
Xue has studied with Patricia Hanson for two years and Brian Preston for the previous nine years. He won second prize in the Nazareth College Piano Competition and attends Brighton High School. He will study neuroscience/psychology at UR in the fall.