durham music teachers association

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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

Intermediate level

  • Bach, any 2-part Inventions or Small Preludes
  • Other music, comparable to the NCMTA Jr A and B levels, subject to approval of the competition chair
  • Other repertoire from contrasting styles/periods and at same level (would need final approval by chair).
  • Maximum number of pieces: 3
  • Minimum time: 4 minutes
  • Maximum time: 8 minutes
  • Awards: 1st place, $75; 2nd place, $50; Lyrical Award, $25

Advanced level

  • Each contestant must play one piece by J.S. Bach, at least the level of the 3-Part Sinfonias or any other music by the composer. 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. These pieces should be at the level comparable to the NCMTA Sr level A or higher. A student may not play more than three unrelated pieces.
  • Maximum number of pieces: 3
  • Minimum time: 6 minutes
  • 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

A student who plays less than the minimum time 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

Please write student’s name on the memo line of the check. The non-refundable entrance fee is $30 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.

Donation to DMTA Scholarship Fund

We welcome your gift of any amount to our scholarship fund. If you would like your gift in honor or memory of a specific person, please let our scholarship chair know by emailing