Grand Pianists

Throughout the ages, powerful dynasties have altered civilization with innovation and achievement. Mathematicians during India’s Gupta dynasty expanded the decimal system and the concept of zero. China’s Ming dynasty completed the Great Wall. As the third pharaoh of Egypt’s 19th dynasty, Ramses II built everlasting temples and monuments.

Over the past decade at Weber State University, what some might call the “Keyboard Dynasty” has gained remarkable momentum, racking up first-place finishes in piano competitions, luring gifted musicians from overseas and turning ambitious students into concert pianists.
In statewide competitions since 2009, WSU piano students have gone up against the best collegiate student-pianists in Utah, and have come out on top. In their latest accolade, WSU students took four of five top honors at the 2015 Utah Music Teachers Association (UMTA) Collegiate Piano Concerto Competition, halting 30 years of domination by other powerhouse university programs.
Chinese-born pianist Tong Miranda Wu greased the wheels of progress when she came to Weber in 2005. Wu’s academic excellence and formidable piano skills elevated the stature of WSU’s keyboard program and prompted then-Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. to name her a 2006 Governor’s Scholar. Following her 2010 graduation, Wu completed a master’s program at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She is currently in her fourth year of doctoral studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she recently earned a diploma in harpsichord performance.

To date, Fan-Ya Lin is the most celebrated graduate of Weber State’s keyboard program. In 2008, the Taiwanese piano prodigy declined admission offers from renowned music conservatories to study with Yu-Jane Yang, WSU’s director of keyboard studies. Under Yang’s guidance, Lin became the youngest collegiate pianist ever to win the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Steinway Young Artist Piano Competition. In May 2015, Lin earned a Master of Music degree from Juilliard, where she received multiple teaching fellowships and built a solid East Coast following. She has begun a doctoral program at the University of Minnesota School of Music.

Among Weber State’s reigning keyboard superstars is senior Ling-Yu Lee from Taiwan. After back-to-back first-place finishes in the state division of the MTNA Steinway Young Artist Piano Competition in 2013 and 2014, Lee advanced to the southwest division in January of 2015, where she bested many graduate and doctoral students to win first prize. In March 2015, Lee became the first WSU piano student to win both the MTNA (Utah) Steinway Young Artist and UMTA Collegiate Piano Concerto competitions in the same academic year.