National composition contest recognizes Pleasanton musician

Nathan Cheung can be seen performing his piano duet on YouTube

A spirited and intricate composition dubbed "Whirling Wombat Waltz" garnered recognition for Pleasanton college student Nathan Cheung, 23.

Cheung, who has a bachelor's degree in music from Stanford University, is currently pursuing two master's degrees, in piano performance and collaborative piano, at the Eastman School of Music University in Rochester, N.Y.

A 2010 graduate of Foothill High School, Cheung received honorable mention in the Collegiate Composer category for ages 19-23 in the national 2015 Carol Klose/Hal Leonard Composition Competition.

"The competition was a good way of challenging my ability to relate my training as a professional musician to the general audience," Cheung said. "The real reward was my final product because I was able to output something I believed would engage general audiences and musicians alike."

Hal Leonard, the world's largest publisher of songbooks and music educational materials, created this online student piano composition competition in honor of Carol Klose, a popular piano teacher who died in 2013. Its purpose is to encourage the creative musical spirit always fostered by Klose.

Nearly 200 original compositions were entered in the contest via YouTube videos in the three age categories, which also included Junior Composer for ages 12 and under, and Teen Composer for ages 13-18.

"I was impressed by the level of talent from all the age levels in this year's contest," said judge Larry Morton, president of Hal Leonard. "Piano teachers can certainly be proud of the work they've done to help these kids become such talented and ambitious musicians."

Cheung can be seen performing his "Whirling Wombat Waltz," a piano duet, with Eric Tran at

Cheung is not sure what he will do after earning his two master's, but he said he may pursue a doctorate degree with the intention of applying for professor positions at universities.


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