durham music teachers

Charles F. T. Nakarai/Loren Withers Piano Competition



Participating student pianists must be between twelve and fourteen years of age in the year of the contest. No student may win first place more than once. Previous first place winners may enter the contest for comments only and are encouraged to enter other contests as they continue their pursuit of musical excellence.



Repertoire requirements

Early intermediate level

  • AM Bach Minuets or Bach Minuets/Little Preludes
  • Other repertoire from contrasting styles/periods and at same level (would need final approval by chair).
  • ALL pieces at this level should at the NCMTA Junior Level A.
  • Maximum number of pieces: 3
  • Maximum time: 8 minutes
  • Awards: 1st place, $75; 2nd place, $50; Lyrical Award, $25

Intermediate/Advanced level

  • Each contestant must play one piece by J.S. Bach, at least the level of the Two-Part Inventions or more advanced. Each contestant must play two additional pieces chosen from two or more of the following stylistic periods: Classical (through Beethoven), Romantic, Impressionistic, or Twentieth Century. A student may not play more than three unrelated pieces. Repertoire is the same as current requirement, including the Bach requirement
  • Maximum number of pieces: 3
  • Maximum time: 15 minutes
  • Awards: 1st place, $100; 2nd place, $75; Lyrical Award, $50. The first place winner is also invited to perform at the Performance Festival Sunday Honors Recital in May.

All pieces must be played from memory. “Popular” music, gospel songs, hymns, jazz, and movie themes are not permitted. Participants are strongly encouraged to perform pieces that are of contrasting style and mood. If you have questions about repertoire requirements, please contact the Nakarai/Withers Chair.


Time Requirements

The minimum time limit is six minutes. A student who plays less than six minutes will be disqualified. The maximum time limit is 8 minutes for early intermediate level and fifteen minutes for the upper intermediate/advanced level. Students who exceed the time limit will be asked to stop playing (but not disqualified) by the Room Monitor. Short repeats indicated by the composer may or may not be taken. Longer repeats, such as sonatina or sonata expositions, may not be taken. Pieces may not be cut.


Judges will be engaged to select winners. The judges will base their decision on both the quality of the performances, as well as the level of difficulty of the music. The student must present the score of each piece on his/her program to the chair for use by the judges. NO PHOTOCOPIES ARE ALLOWED.

Registration & Fees

Teachers must complete the registration form , which you can download here.


Please write student’s name on the memo line of the check. The non-refundable entrance fee is $25 per student.An additional fee of $30 will be charged for non-member teachers to enter one or more students. Please be sure the registration form is mailed by the postmark date. Be sure to give detailed information about each piece (exact title, movement, opus number, etc.).  Time requests will not be honored.  Registration forms with incomplete information will not be processed.  Form must be signed by both parents and teachers.