Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

GCA Senior Wins State Piano Competition

Jessica Ahn, GCA senior, won first place in her age category in the Music Teachers' National Association state competition on Nov. 5.

Jessica Ahn, senior at Georgia-Cumberland Academy and the daughter of physicians Daniel Ahn and Susan Kim Ahn, recently won the top prize in her age category for piano performance in the Music Teachers’ National Association state competition. On Nov. 5, 2013, Jessica performed 25 minutes of advanced piano literature from a range of musical styles in front of a panel of judges.  She competed against 11 other top senior high school pianists from across the state for this award and will now have the honor of competing in the nine-state regional competition in Louisville, Ky., on Jan. 19.


Jessica’s piano program for the state competition included pieces by Haydn, Schumann, Ravel and Prokofiev. Jessica’s favorite of her repertoire was the Ravel piece.


“The first movement of Ravel’s suite Gaspard de la Nuit, entitled Ondine, is very water-y and impressionistic,” Ahn said. “It is my favorite of the pieces I played for the competition.”


Currently a student of Helen Ramsaur, retired long-time piano teacher at Shorter College, 17-year-old Jessica began studying music at the age of five. Her intelligence, discipline, and innate talent merged beautifully over the years, producing an outstanding young musician. Ramsaur is amazed at how quickly Jessica learns.


“I have had many bright students, but Jessica sees the notation patterns and can immediately play them,” she said. “I attribute this partially to her work and study habits, which her parents have taught her.”


Jessica has experienced many winning performances in her short piano career. In 2012, she captured a winning spot in the senior high school division of the Rome Symphony’s Concerto Competition and was privileged to perform with the Rome Symphony. She has also been the winner of a past Georgia Federation of Music Club’s competition, as well as Georgia Music Teachers’ Association and other more local competitions.


Music is not the only area in which Jessica shines brightly. This National Merit commended senior has been offered a full-ride scholarship to her university of choice based on her stellar grades and outstanding test scores. Jessica plans to pursue a career in medicine and is considering a double major in chemistry and music. On top of her academic and musical accomplishments, this well-rounded young woman has also been active in student government, class activities, the National Honor Society, and her church. In addition, Jessica accompanies the choir at Georgia-Cumberland Academy and holds down a part time job. 


“Music has taught me many things such as discipline and perseverance,” Ahn said. “However, I give credit to God for keeping me calm when competing and helping me to do my best.”


Written by Nancy Gerard, Georgia-Cumberland Academy director of alumni and development
Photo contributed