by Emily Sprewell

The University of West Georgia’s School of the Arts (SOTA) recently announced it will administer the Wadsworth Piano Competition, a highly regarded competition that hosts eight of the world’s best young pianists. The competition intends to provide participants with opportunities for growth by encouraging their artistic and entrepreneurial talents.

A woman playing the pianoThe competition, sponsored by the Fred R. and Nell W. Blackwell Testamentary Charitable Trust and the Edgar B. Hollis Testamentary Trust, will be held at the Wadsworth Auditorium in Newnan from March 18-22, 2020.

Both Blackwells were UWG College of Education alumni and were responsible for the advancement of many charities and organizations in Newnan and Coweta County.

“Their legacy of giving back to their community is continued in this incredible partnership opportunity in Newnan as the Charles Wadsworth Piano Competition,” said Ketty Cusick, director of development for the College of Arts and Humanities, in which SOTA is housed, and Ingram Library. “The University of West Georgia School of the Arts is humbly grateful for the Blackwell family, as well as the Blackwell and Hollis Trusts, for their benevolent investment in Coweta County supporting arts and education.

Dr. Chad Davidson, director of SOTA and professor of English at UWG, expressed his excitement for UWG to host this renowned competition.

“It’s great to be connected to such an internationally acclaimed competition,” Davidson said, “and to be connected to the Wadsworth name and legacy is very important.”

The Wadsworth Piano Competition was established in 2018 in honor of Charles Wadsworth, a legendary classical pianist from Newnan.

Katie Byrd, instructor of percussion at UWG and coordinator of the competition, explained this is an opportunity to have a highly competitive piano competition easily accessible to UWG students.

“I think it’s unique to have a competition of this size and stature in Newnan,” Byrd said. “For our community and our students to be able to access that level of performance only half an hour from here and not in Atlanta is remarkable.”

The Wadsworth Piano Competition embraces the idea that all students who participate should be treated as professional artists. Participants will be compensated for their time and work dedicated to the competition. The competition is held on a grand scale and the eight competitors will be granted a total of $34,500 in prize money.

The Aeolus Quartet, based out of New York City, is an award-winning, globally recognized quartet whose members will serve as the artistic directors of the competition while working directly with the contestants.

For more information about the Wadsworth Piano Competition, please visit

Photography by Steven Broome

Posted on October 25, 2019