A Kentucky State University student won first place in a piano competition against students from other historically black colleges and universities on April 11.
Heekyung Do, who is a one-year exchange student from Andong National University in South Korea, received a cash prize with the first-place honor in the 11th Annual James A. Hefner Piano Competition hosted by Tennessee State University.
Do was the first pianist from KSU to compete in the competition, which included students from Fisk University, Florida A&M University and Alabama A&M University. She performed a Mozart piano sonata. Do also performed “Magnolia Suite” by composer Nathaniel Dett and won a special prize for the performance of a work by an African-American composer.
Do, 23, came to KSU from Andong National University, where she is a senior, to study English. But she is also studying music with Dr. Mark Tollefsen and Dr. Jae Won Kim of the Division of Fine Arts and wants to become a piano teacher. Do says she would love to stay at KSU and continue her music education.
“I’m happy to be here,” Do says. “And I want to learn more about music. I want to stay here.”
Do says she has played piano since she was 4 years old. She stopped playing at age 15, but her passion has recently been rekindled. Tollefsen says she wowed judges at the competition, and even some of the other universities’ teachers agreed that she was the clear winner.