Classical Piano

Des Moines Area Piano Festival

2 p.m., Sunday, February 28, 2021


Information and Registration

2 p.m., Sunday, February 28, 2021

Thank you for your interest in the 2021 Des Moines Area Piano Festival, a professionally-adjudicated performance opportunity for students in a friendly, welcoming environment.

Below is information about the 2021 event; you may read the recap here. Check back on this page for information about the 2022 event! 

About the Festival:

This year's Festival will be held 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 28, 2021 virtually via Zoom. Pianists in grades K-12 from the Des Moines metro area (Des Moines and all surrounding suburbs) are invited to participate. 2021 participants will be capped at 120.


To register, please complete the following three steps: 

1. Fill out this registration form.

2. Pay the $10 registration fee (payable via the link on the registration form or here).

3. Email a pdf or jpg of the solo audition piece with numbered measures to

The registration form, payment and pdf/jpg of the audition piece must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 19 before a student is registered to participate in the 2021 Des Moines Area Piano Festival and/or the Victor Borge Legacy Award Competition. Participants will be notified of their audition time by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, February 22. All performance times are final and no refunds will be offered.

Audition Information: 
The audition will be held via Zoom. A link will be sent once the registration form, fee and pdf/jpg of the audition piece have been received. Please be on time for your assigned audition time. You will be admitted from the waiting room into the audition. Please ensure the camera angle has a view of the performer's hands.

Audition Criteria & Evaluation

All participants will be evaluated by Drs. Mei-Hsuan Huang and Nicholas Roth and will receive a rating and judge's comments. Each student will begin with the technical exercise (below) and then perform a memorized piece that showcases the student's current playing level. Each audition is a maximum of five minutes total per student. The rating and comments will be sent to the student's instructor. 

Technical Exercise Requirements:

Please consult with your student's instructor regarding your student's current playing level. Scales and cadence patterns are to be in the key of the memorized audition piece: 
Beginner: Play a one-octave scale and a I-V7-I pattern with both hands (chords may be simplified).
Intermediate: Play a two-octave scale and a I-IV-I-V7-I pattern with both hands. 
Advanced: Play a four-octave scale and a I-IV-I-V7-I pattern with both hands.

Victor Borge Legacy Award Competition: 

If the Piano Festival entrant is at an advanced playing level and in grades 8-12, he/she is invited to participate in the Victor Borge Legacy Award Competition at the 2021 Des Moines Area Piano Festival. No additional repertoire is required, and the student will be adjudicated as part of his/her Piano Festival audition. 

Previous second place Victor Borge Legacy Award winners are eligible to enter; previous first place Legacy Award winners are ineligible to enter. 

First and second place winners will receive an award of $1,000 and $500, respectively, which will be given to the winners after they perform at least two memorized, classical pieces (10 minutes total) in a recital (date TBD) on the Victor Borge piano at the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa. Failure to perform in the recital will result in forfeiting the award money.

In addition, winners will submit a 500-word essay about the legacy of Victor Borge (due April 1, 2021), which will be judged by a panel that includes Borge's daughter, Janet Borge Crowle, for an additional $500 cash prize.

Funding for the Victor Borge Legacy Award is provided through a generous gift from R. James and Janet Borge Crowle, Saint Michaels, Maryland. Additional support provided by the Charles W. and Norma J. Wilson Foundation and the Eric & Joan Norgaard Charitable Trust.


With questions, please email Des Moines Area Piano Festival Director Sophia S. Ahmad at

Follow @DSMPianoFestival:

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Dr. Mei-Hsuan Huang

DMA in Piano Performance -  The Ohio State University 

MM in Piano Performance - Cleveland Institute of Music

BM in Piano Performance - National Taiwan Normal University

Pianist Mei-Hsuan Huang is the Associate Professor of Piano at Iowa State University and a member of the Ames Piano Quartet (Joanne Rile Artists Management). 

Huang has been a prizewinner in several international piano competitions, including the USASU International Piano Competition in Tempe, Arizona, the 57th Wideman Piano Concerto Competition in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the International Chopin Piano Competition in Taipei, Taiwan. She regularly performs over fifty solo and chamber recitals every year in Europe, the United States, Canada and Taiwan. She has been invited to summer festivals including the 2006 Aspen Music Festival, the 2007 Pianofest in the East Hamptons, the 2008 Orford Music Festival in Quebec, the 2010 Atlantic Music Festival in Maine, the 2012 CICA Eureka Springs International Music Festival in Arkansas, and the 2012 and 2013 Banff Music Festival in Alberta, Canada. Festivals increasingly ask for her presence on their artist rosters.

Recently, Huang presented a piano recital in the National Taiwan Concert Hall (Taipei), as a result of being nominated for the prize of “Excellent Musician Series” by ProArtist. She also gave a sold-out concert (Chamber Label Management) in 2017 at the National Taiwan Concert Hall and TaiChung Opera House. 

Huang has travelled with the Ames Quartet to perform at the Colours of Music Festival in Barrie, Ontario and on concert series in Illinois, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas. The quartet released compact disc on the Fleur de Son label in 2016, a recording of American quartets. In 2018, the quartet recorded both Faure Piano Quartets on the Fleur de Son label. Recently Huang performed Beethoven's Concerto No. 5 "Emperor" with the Central Iowa Symphony and Iowa State University Orchestra.

​Besides performing, Huang is dedicated and passionate about teaching. She maintains a strong studio in Ames, IA where she teaches a select number of high school students along with her University students. Students of Huang have won and placed in numerous regional and local competitions, including Fort Dodge Concerto Competition, Central Iowa Young Artist Competition, Terrace Hill Piano Competition, Iowa State Fair Talented Show, Iowa Teacher Music Association (IMTA) competition and Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) competition.

​Huang received her bachelor’s degree at The National Taiwan Normal University, her master’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Sergei Babayan, Margarita Shevchenko, and Paul Schenly. She received her doctorate of musical arts degree at The Ohio State University under a full scholarship.

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Dr. Nicholas Roth

DMA in Piano Performance - Michigan State University

Artist Diploma - Hochschule für Musik in Munich

MM in Piano Performance - Indiana University

BM in Piano Performance - Indiana University 

Nicholas Roth began formal studies at age twelve, receiving critical acclaim for his appearances by the age of eighteen. He appeared as soloist with the St. Louis Symphony and the Indianapolis
Symphony under Raymond Leppard, among many others. Roth is a featured performer and teacher
throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. He is a Yamaha Artist, a Beethoven Fellow
of the American Pianists Association, earned prizes in the chamber music competitions of Tortona
and Pietra Ligure, Italy, and received a DAAD grant to further his studies in Germany.

Roth holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University, Artist Diplomas in
solo piano performance and art song collaboration from the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, and
MM and BM degrees from Indiana University, where he was also the recipient of the Jacobs School
of Music’s highest honors, including the Performer’s Certificate and the Joseph Battista Memorial
Scholarship. He studied with Ralph Votapek, Elisso Virsaladze, Helmut Deutsch, Edward Auer,
Emilio del Rosario and Michel Block.

Roth has taught masterclasses at Indiana University, SoundSCAPE Festival in Italy, Isidor Bajić
School of Music in Serbia, Conservatorio Superior Nacional de Musica in Quito, Ecuador,
International Beethoven Festival in Chicago, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Chicago
and many other schools in the USA.

He was a presenter for the European Piano Teachers Association World Piano Conference in Serbia
and is an Accreditation Examiner with distinction (Diploma of Excellence) for the World Piano
Teachers Association. A Nationally Certified Teacher of the Music Teachers National Association, he
is a frequent presenter, adjudicator and administrator for MTNA events.

Roth was honored by the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of the State of Indiana
for his contribution to the performing arts, his accomplishments as a concert pianist and his
inspiration to young musicians. He has presented masterclasses and concerts at Minzu University,
Beijing Normal University and Art Education School of Huaxi in China as well as Pusan National
University in South Korea. He has also taught for the Edward Auer Summer Piano Workshop at the
Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University and the Classical Music Festival Piano Seminar in
Eisenstadt (Austria). Since 2017, Roth has served on the faculty of the Ono Zone International Music
Festival in Quito, Ecuador.

Roth is Professor of Piano at Drake University. Previous appointments include University of
Wisconsin – Stevens Point and Alma College. He has recorded for the Blue Griffin, Naxos, MSR
Classics and Innova recording labels. His recordings with Blue Griffin have garnered exceptional
reviews from International Record Review, Gramophone, Fanfare, and American Record Guide.
In March 2019, Roth participated in a performance of the Hexaméron for six pianos and orchestra in
Baku, Azerbaijan. In recent years, he was a featured A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison
Keillor, and collaborated with Robert Spano in a performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Roth
is the founder of the Drake University Keys to Excellence Piano Series, now in its seventh season,
featuring renowned artists from all over the world.