Hawaii Piano Students Win MTNA Southwest Regional Competition

Local piano students Sophie Nguyen and Jairus Rhoades have dreamed big and practiced hard, and their efforts have paid off in a big way. On January 15th, Nguyen, a freshman at ‘Iolani School, and Rhoades, a freshman at Punahou School, were announced as the winning Piano Duet in the Music Teachers National Association’s (MTNA) Southwest Division Competition. Nguyen and Rhodes are among seven high-school-aged piano duos from around the country who will compete at MTNA’s national music competition on March 17, 2019 in Spokane, WA.

After winning MTNA’s statewide contest last November, hosted by the Hawaii Music Teachers Association (HMTA), Nguyen and Rhoades represented Hawaii in the Southwest Division Competition, which also included top performers from California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. Based on a video recording of their performance, they were chosen to represent the entire Southwest Division, and will compete in person at MTNA’s national competition in Spokane this March.


Nguyen and Rhoades have been guided along the way by their piano teacher, Joanna Zane-Fan. Although it can sometimes be challenging to play in total sync from memory, the young pianists have learned to watch each others’ fingers carefully and to enjoy the experience of making music together. It certainly beats practicing alone!

Congratulations to Sophie and Jairus!

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Hear Sophie and Jairus perform for Van Cliburn Bronze Medalist, Daniel Hsu, March 13th at UH Manoa