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Dennis Alexander Piano Festival and Competition

November 12, 2016

Dennis AlexanderSince his affiliation with Alfred Music Publishing Company in 1986 as a composer and clinician, Dennis Alexander has earned an international reputation as one of North America's most prolific and popular composers of educational piano music for students at all levels. Professor Alexander retired from his position at the University of Montana in May 1996 where he taught piano and piano pedagogy for 24 years.

Upon moving to California, he taught privately, in addition to serving on the faculties of Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge. He currently lives in Albuquerque, NM where he maintains an active composing and touring schedule for Alfred Music Publishing Company.

About the Competition and Festival

The Dennis Alexander Piano Festival and Competition is an event designed to bring students together for a variety of activities to participate in and observe. It will be held November 12, 2016, at Saint John's University, Stephen B. Humphrey building. Funding for the Festival and Competition is made possible through the generous support of the Central Minnesota Arts Board and the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University.

There are four activities for students to "opt-in" for participation.  Students can elect to enter any or all.

Piano Competition

  • Prize money awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places for each level
  • "Best performance of a piece by Dennis Alexander" awarded for each level
  • Certificates and judges' comments for each participant
  • A piece of signed sheet music by Dennis Alexander for each participant
  • Mini-recital of competition winners will take place in the SBH theater immediately following the winners announcement

Festival - Repertoire Workshop

  • Students bring any piece of music "as is" and receive practice tips, musical suggestions, and encouragement to assist in their continued study of music from CSB/SJU piano faculty
  • "As is" really is what we mean! This workshop is about sharing ideas, exploring practicing and feeling motivated to keep learning
  • Students will be in small groups during the workshop so everyone can learn from hearing other repertoire and musical suggestions

Festival - Dennis Alexander Creative Workshop

  • Not to be missed!  Mr. Alexander is an enthusiastic champion of the piano and music!  Although the focus will be geared towards students, all ages will find his demonstration to be inspiring
  • Topic this year: "Going for the Gold" - Dennis Alexander will share ideas for young pianists of all ages to help them "Look", "Sound", and "Feel" like a winner.

Festival - Duet Workshop

  • Students learn one part of a selected duet from the Collaborative Duet Workshop Repertoire list at their level.  For example, if a student is Level 2 for another activity they should select a Level 2 duet as well. Students will be partnered with a college student for this workshop and receive coaching from them.  Duos will rehearse and give an informal performance for the rest of the class.

"New" in 2016

-The Collaborative Duet workshop is back!

-Scheduling: We will retain the same scheduling as last year (2015).  Students will register for one of three categories, based on their level of repertoire and experience (there is no age requirement for each category).  Each category will have its own competition, repertoire workshops and duet workshop for students to elect to participate in.  Students enter divisions categorized by level:

  • Category 1 students (Elementary to Late Elementary repertoire level) will be scheduled for the morning
  • Category 2 students (Early Intermediate to Intermediate repertoire level) will be scheduled for mid-day to mid-afternoon
  • Category 3 students (Late Intermediate to Early Advanced repertoire level) will be scheduled for the late afternoon/early evening

-Enrollment Limits - Please check the pages for each activity for our maximum enrollment limits (they are different for each category and activity). Enrollment will be secured on a first-come, first-served basis.

-There will be only one Dennis Alexander Creative Workshop.  This will be scheduled between 12:00-1:30 (exact time TBA once registrations are in).

How to Register

  • Determine which Category to select based on level of repertoire the student is performing.  Please register for only ONE Category.
  • Select which of the three events the student would like to participate in on the registration form.
  • Submit registration form along with $25 fee online or by mail before October 24, 2016.


The fee is $25 per student. Students select their activities on the application. We encourage students to participate in as many activities as they want to experience. When students are not participating in an event they can observe other events, practice piano and interact with other young pianists. Family members and teachers are encouraged to observe.

Registration Deadline - October 24, 2016

Upon registering, students will be sent an individual schedule no later than one week before the event.

Contact information

Dr. Amy Grinsteiner, 320-363-3375 [email protected]

Dr. Ed Turley,  320-363-5717 [email protected]


CMBA CMAB Schmitt Music

This activity is made possible, in part, by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from
the Central MN Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.