John Salmon, a keyboard professor in UNCG’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal in a story about the difficult art of judging piano competitions.

Salmon, who has worked with the likes of the late Dave Brubeck and served this year on the preliminary jury for the American Pianists Association’s (APA) Jazz Fellowship Award, said the key to a great piano performance is not only skill but uniqueness.

“The finalists we picked each had a compelling individual voice,” Salmon told the Journal. “They put their stamp on the music. When Art Tatum played ‘Tea for Two,’ it was his and his alone. When Dave Brubeck took ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story and made it into a polyphonic excursion in 1958, it became a work no one had heard before. The APA pianists also had to offer something that kept our attention.”