February 16, 2009



Dorothea Cromley, Department of Music, 657-2042
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — An old Yellow Pages advertisement urged people to “let your fingers do the walking.”  These days, Ashlee Young is letting her fingers do the talking.


And those fingers are speaking volumes for the Montana State University Billings senior. After winning another state and regional competition, she will be traveling to Georgia in March. And last week she announced she will be going to Texas in April in compete against some of the best young pianists in the world.


Young recently won the divisional Music Teacher’s National Association piano competition held in Spokane, Wash. By winning that event against other state winners from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and Wyoming, she earned an opportunity to Ashlee Young.jpgcompete at the national level in March. She will compete against seven other contestants for a Steinway grand piano as well as appearances with orchestras.


After returning from that event, Young will travel to Kingsville, Texas to complete in the Kingsville International Young Performers Competition at Texas A&M University. She will be playing in two separate divisions — the solo works and also the concerto competition.  The international competition has over $20,000 in cash awards.


Young began her piano study at the age of 4 in Southern California and continued studying with various teachers after her move to Nevada.  In 2001, she came to Montana where she attended high school and studied with Kathleen Guehlstorff.  In 2005, she auditioned and was accepted into the music department at MSU Billings.  She then began her study with her current teacher, Professor Dorothea Cromley.


Throughout her career, Young has been an active performer appearing in many recitals, festivals and competitions.  In 2006, she traveled to Los Angeles to compete in the International Franz Liszt Competition where she received honorable mention.  In 2006, she was also a finalist in the Coeur D’Alene Young Artist Competition. 


She was the winner of the Montana Association of Symphony Orchestras Competition in January 2007. She appeared with the Great Falls Symphony in March of 2007, billed on the same program as world renowned violinist, Midori.  In addition to this performance, Young appeared with the Billings Symphony Orchestra in November of 2007 and the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra in December of 2007. In November of 2007, she won the State Music Teacher’s National Association Competition at the state level and went on to compete in divisionals. 


In 2007, she was a finalist in the Missoula Young Artist Competition and also the National Wideman Piano Competition.  She won the VSA Arts International Young Soloist Award.  In addition to her $5,000 prize, she performed at the Kennedy Center in May of 2008. 


Young won the collegiate artist division of the National Liberace Piano Competition and along with her $1,000 scholarship, she will perform in Las Vegas throughout the year.  In November, she got fifth place in the concerto division of the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition and was recently one of 12 finalists to compete in the International Jefferson Young Artist Competition. 


Upon graduation, Young intends to pursue a career as a concert pianist and devotes most of her time to her studies and the piano.