September 24, 2014//
Meet Kasandra Keeling. After 13 years away from participating in national piano competitions, she was able to win the American Prize for Piano Performance for 2014 in the Concerto Division. Keeling won the award with her rendition of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini.
This was validating for me as a teacher, even more than as a performer.”
– Kasandra Keeling
The American Prize.org non-profit national competitions are designed to recognize and reward the very best in the performing arts in the United States. Prizes in 12 categories are awarded by accomplished judges who listen to submitted recorded performances.
Keeling stays abreast of national piano competitions for her students' benefit and decided to enter when she learned there were not any age limitations. She practiced three to four months to learn the 20-minute piece so she could produce her best recorded performance to submit for the competition.
"This was validating for me as a teacher, even more than as a performer," said Keeling. "Someone else, who is highly respected, recognized me and the quality musical product I am able to produce."
The San Antonio native began playing piano when she was six years old and pursued her bachelor's degree in music under the tutelage of late UTSA music faculty member Janice Hodges. Upon her passing, Keeling transferred and finished her degree at the University of Houston.
She went on to earn a doctorate of music arts degree from the University of Colorado and returned to San Antonio in 2001 to teach piano instruction at UTSA. As an instructor, Keeling says she enjoys teaching the 15-20 students that enroll every semester in the piano program.
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