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Nita has Won "From the Top's" Coveted Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award

Here is From the Top's Press Release of this great news!

October 18, 2017 Erin MacCurtain, 617.437.0707 x103,


Nita Qiu, a 15-year-old pianist from Woodbury, Minnesota, has won From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, a national scholarship for extraordinary young musicians. Nita is one of only twenty young musicians to receive From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award in the 2017–2018 season. In addition to receiving a scholarship of up to $10,000, she will also appear on an episode of NPR’s From the Top with host Christopher O’Riley, which will air on Minnesota Public Radio Classical, Sunday, December 3 at noon, and by podcast at Her performance was taped at the Pioneer Center for the Arts in Reno, Nevada in early September.

The Young Artist Award helps young musicians with the high costs of studying classical music. Recipients must demonstrate exceptional musical ability, quality of character, and financial need.

The Young Artist Award is generously supported by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Nita, who is currently a sophomore at Trinity School in River Ridge, will use her Award for tuition at a high-level pre-collegiate summer music program and for maintenance of her piano.

Nita is a sophomore at Trinity School at River Ridge.

She has studied for ten years with Dr. Joseph Zins, of Crocus Hill Studios in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Nita was also recently named a national winner of a Career Development Grant from the Chopin Foundation of the United States. She was a semi-finalist for the second year in a row at the Southeastern Piano Festival’s Arthur Fraser International Competition in Columbia, South Carolina. As a 2017 Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) Varsity Showcase Young Artist, Nita recently performed at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul in a live broadcast. Her previous professional recording at MPR’s Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio was aired twice earlier this year. She was also a semi-finalist at The International Institute for Young Musicians (IIYM) International Competition in 2016. In 2015, she was the Second Place Winner of Thursday Musical’s Young Artist Scholarship Competition, (Junior High Division), the Third Place Winner of the Aloha International Piano Competition and Festival in Honolulu, and was a National Finalist in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Young Artist Competition (Junior Category) in Las Vegas. Nita was the First Place Winner in each of the St. Paul Piano Teachers (SPPTA) Concerto Competition (2015), Young Artist World Piano Festival Concerto Competition (2014), and the Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum Mozart Concerto Competition (2014). As a result, Nita has performed with the Mississippi Valley Orchestra, the Young Artist World Piano Festival Orchestra, and the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, Nita was the winner of Second Place (Division I) in the national Augustana College Lee Piano Competition, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Nita is a competitive swimmer as well as a prize-winning poet. She loves to read and watch movies.

Since 2005, From the Top and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation have awarded more than $2.4 million in scholarships to exceptional young musicians with financial need. In addition to providing these young artists with an opportunity to perform on From the Top’s national broadcasts, recipients are awarded up to $10,000 to help offset the often prohibitively expensive costs of studying classical music at a high level. Each year, From the Top chooses approximately 20 exceptional pre-collegiate musicians ages 8-18 to receive the Award.

About From the Top

From the Top is America’s largest national platform celebrating the stories, talents, and character of classically-trained young musicians. Through live events, NPR and YouTube broadcasts, scholarships, and leadership programs, From the Top empowers these extraordinary young people to engage and inspire music lovers of all ages.

Support for From the Top’s radio program is made possible through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. It is also supported through the generous contributions of individuals and institutions as well as public radio stations. From the Top’s founding partners are New England Conservatory and WGBH.

From the Top is an independent non-profit organization proudly based in Boston’s vibrant cultural district. Learn more at

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