Terrace Hill Piano Competition

Begun in 1986, the Terrace Hill Piano Competition is held annually at the Iowa Public Television studios in Johnston, Iowa. The Senior competition is always held on the second Saturday in February, and the Junior competition the preceding Friday evening. The dates for 2019 are February 8-9. All judging is done by out-of-state music professionals.

Announcements and competition updates are made via e-mail. Piano teachers who wish to be added to the distribution list should contact: diane.becker@iowa.gov

Junior Competition

All entrants must be in grades 9-11. The competition will take place Friday evening, February 8. Applications must be postmarked by January 5, 2019. Two winners will be named, with each receiving a cash prize of fifty dollars, courtesy of Des Moines Music Teachers Association and Music Teachers of Central Iowa.

Senior Competition

All entrants must be Iowa high school seniors planning to major or minor in piano. The competition will take place on Saturday, February 9. Applications must be postmarked by January 5, 2019. This year’s Saturday afternoon finals will be live streamed by Iowa Public Television on Iptv.org, and then broadcast on statewide IPTV on Friday, February 15 at 8:30 p.m. Watch this THEMA website for further details.


Each of the three Senior-level finalists will be awarded a scholarship over a two-year period to enroll as a piano major or minor at any Iowa college or university, with the winner receiving "The First Family of Iowa Scholarship." Scholarship amounts for 2019 are: winner, $5,000; second place, $3,000; third place, $2,000.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: The Terrace Hill Piano Competition is truly unique. Support exceptional Iowa music students and this outstanding event by contributing to THEMA. 100% of your donation directly supports the scholarships, and all gifts are tax deductible. Please make checks payable to “THEMA” and mail to:

Terrace Hill Endowment for the Musical Arts
2300 Grand Avenue
Des Moines IA 50312

Our Supporters

Thanks to West Music for its annual scholarship contribution of $3,000.

Additional scholarship support is provided by the Rotary Club of Northwest Des Moines.

Appreciation to Rieman Music for providing the Senior competition warmup piano.