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Marian Garcia International Piano Competition 2019: High School Division

Applications must be postmarked by October 14, 2019

First prize: $750; Second prize: $400

The high school competition will be held on Sunday, November 10, 2019. It is open to piano students currently in grades 9-12. There is a one-time, non-refundable $75.00 application fee required for participation. Checks or money orders (which can be obtained from the post office for a small fee) should be made payable to "Penn State University." Please include "Garcia Piano Competition" and the name of the applicant in the memo line. Application fee postmarked by October 14, 2019. Send checks to:

  • Garcia Piano Competition, c/o Christopher Guzman
  • 233 Music Building I
  • Penn State University
  • University Park, PA  16802
No pre-screening recordings are required to apply for the competition. Contestants will be accepted on a first come, first-served basis. Participation limit is 20.
Applicants may also elect to apply for the high school master class. Recordings of your proposed repertoire are required if you apply for the master class. Recordings may be submitted electronically in one of two ways: You may choose to go to and upload your video, following the instructions provided. Under the video settings choose "unlisted," and include the link(s) in your application. If this is not possible, you may send in a DVD (using your proposed masterclass repertoire) with your application fee to the address above.
**All completed applications will be processed in the order received. The high school competition is open to a maximum of 20 contestants. Applications will be not be considered complete until the application fee and repertoire list have been received. Applicants to the competitions and masterclasses will be notified of their results by October 21, 2019.**

Applicants for the competition must be prepared with the following repertoire:

1.  Classical period sonata fast movement (Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, etc.)

2.  Work of the contestant's choice from the Baroque, Romantic, 20th-century, or 21st-century piano literature

3.  Students may program additional works, although these may be heard only at the judges' discretion.

With the exception of avant-garde works, all repertoire for both rounds must be memorized. Any exceptions must be requested in the application and approved by the faculty. You may select the first work to perform at the competition, and the judges will select the remainder of the program. Total competition performance time will not exceed 15 minutes. Your first piece and others may be stopped early at the judges' request to accommodate the performance time.


  • Previous first-place winners may not compete again in the same level. Previous high school winners may enter the collegiate competition if eligible.
  • Judges are professional pianists. Judges' decisions on all awards and eligibility will be final.
  • Students must be present at the awards ceremony to remain eligible for any prizes.

Apply for the competition here.

For more information, or questions about any part of the Garcia competition process, please call 814-863-4405 or email

Meet the Judges

Amanda GundersonAmanda Gunderson serves on the faculty at Lycoming College as an assistant professor, teaching courses in applied piano and music theory. Her diverse research interests include biomechanics (especially for small-handed pianists) and asymmetrical meter in pedagogical repertoire. She has presented research and lecture recitals at state conferences for Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association and published in "American Music Teacher," the bi-monthly journal of Music Teachers National Association. Her most recent article, entitled “The Well-Crafted Question: Inspiring Students to Connect, Create, and Think Critically” earned the 2017 “Article of the Year Award” from MTNA. Her performances also range widely from solos in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall (2008) to chamber music performances at the Beijing National Library (2015).  

Gunderson holds degrees from Penn State University (BM, MA, MM) and a DMA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she attended as a University Fellow. She is the recipient of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery’s “Emerging Interfaces Award”, a UW-Madison “Graduate Student Mentor Award”, and first prize in the Irving Shain Duo Competition. In 2017, she was named “Teacher of the Year” by Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association. Her primary teachers include Jessica Johnson, Timothy Shafer, and Christopher Taylor.

CranmerCarl Cranmer debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age nine, playing Mozart’s Concerto in A Major, K. 488.   In addition to solo recitals in Europe, Asia, and North America, he has performed with the Royal Philharmonic of England, the Gulbenkian Orquesta of Portugal, the Juilliard Orchestra and several other orchestras in the U.S. and Asia.  Cranmer has performed chamber music with the Grammy-winning Takacs Quartet, violinist Axel Strauss and Akiko Suwanai, and tenor Robert White,among others.  Of his performance of Liszt’s Concerto No. 2, The New York Times’ James Oesterreich remarked “He made light work of Liszt’s fiendishly demanding octaves, scales, and glissandos, showing a fine lyrical strain to boot.  And he did it all with lovely, controlled tone.” 

Cranmer’s 2019-20 performance season includes the quartet version of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Dali Quartet, and solo recitals in Guangzhou, Beijing, and Xian, China and Seoul, South Korea in Fall 2019, and Gershwin’s Concerto in F with the Helena Symphony Orchestra in February 2020.  Last year he concertized in Anchorage, Alaska, Salt Lake City and Guangzhou, China.   In summer 2019 he was a faculty member of the Aruba Symphony International Music Festival in Oranjestaad.  His performances have been televised in Madrid, Tokyo, Montreal, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, and have been aired on American National Public Radio, and radio stations in Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Montreal, Boston, and Atlanta.  He performed two solo concert tours of Spain, and also concertized in France, England, Austria, Japan, South Korea, China, and Canada.  His recordings include a solo album titled “Soirée”, of the music of Poulenc, Fauré, Liszt, Granados, Chopin and Samuel Barber.  In 2010 he recorded Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto with the Russian Philharmonic, and in 2015 released a CD of Barber’s complete published solo piano music, recorded in Seoul, South Korea.  In the coming year he plans to record a CD of Rachmaninov’s Suite Nos. 1 and 2 and other pieces for two pianos with pianist Young-Ah Tak.  Cranmer has performed in Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, and Carnegie Weill Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and the Academy of Music, Verizon Hall and the Perelman Theater in Philadelphia. Dr. Cranmer was the Grand Prize winner of the 1994 Missouri Southern Piano Competition, and won the Spanish Music Prize and Finalist Prize in the 1995 Santander Paloma O’Shea International Piano Competition in Santander, Spain.

Cranmer received his Doctoral and Masters degrees, and Professional Studies Certificate from the Juilliard School, and his undergraduate degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music.  For three years, most recently 2018, he was a member of the piano faculty of the Cooper International Piano Festival at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and in 2017 was invited to be on the summer piano faculty of the Interlochen Music Festival.  In 2016 he became Visiting Artist Faculty at the new Guangdong Open College-Conservatory in Foshan, China. In August of 2018 he was invited to be a member of the international jury for the 12th Moscow International Frederick Chopin Competition in Foshan, China.  Cranmer is an Associate Professor at the Wells School of Music at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and is the Artistic Director of the American Piano Forum (APF) at West Chester University, begun in 2016.