Welcome to the Upper Midwest Festival! We are currently celebrating our 41st anniversary. The festival was founded by teachers Norm Gary, Dawn Russo, and Bruce Ward in 1978. The current Executive Director of the festival is Joy Ellsworth.



The goal of the UMMF is to allow every participant the opportunity trio advance musically and receive recognition without competing against other students. The greater reward is a life filled with the art of creating music and the joy of watching others perform.

The directors of UMMF are well aware that through participation in the festival, students are motivated to learn and experience the many benefits of music production. We hope that the repertoire will help instructors to inspire our young musicians and nurture continued interest in piano.



The format of the festival allows each student to enter one of ten graduated levels, with Debut the introductory level, progressing in difficulty to Superior, as the most advanced.

Piano students are required to play two pieces from memory for a judge in the solo division; other areas of entry include ensemble and original composition.

Trophies, scholarships, certificates, and medals are granted to qualified performers.