Nathan Paek of Mercer Island is the national second-place winner in the 2019 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Junior Composition Competition.
Paek, the son of Timothy and Ellen, is a freshman at Mercer Island High School. Paek began playing the piano at age five and started formal lessons a couple of years later. A passion for composing his own music was apparent from his earliest introduction to music. He has been studying composition with Sharon Van Valin for six years, and has received top recognition for his work.
Prior to winning the most recent accolade, Paek was the national winner of the 2015 MTNA Elementary Composition Competition, premiering his original piece at the MTNA National Conference in Las Vegas. He has also been selected twice to participate in the Seattle Symphony’s Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop. In spring 2018, his chamber piece was premiered by Seattle Symphony musicians at Benaroya Hall. Besides music, Nathan reads science fiction, plays racket sports and pursues other creative endeavors like writing poetry and robotics.
The three-tiered MTNA competitions begin at the state level. Winners of each state competition advance to the division competition. Division winners then proceed to the national finals.