Originally founded in 1980 as the New Orleans Institute for the Performing Arts by Melvin G. Alford and Julianne Nice, the initial aim of the organization was to provide students and teachers in the performing arts with masterclasses and workshops, as well as expose them to performances by artists in the mainstream of professional activity. Since our beginning, MASNO has provided both artists and students an opportunity to perform for appreciative audiences, assisting students in developing skills necessary to build artistic discipline, all while in a comfortable and supportive environment. MASNO has continued to encourage the performance of emerging and lesser known works, as well engaging the community to participate in all areas of the arts, particularly classical music. Each summer, MASNO has presented the New Orleans Keyboard Festival, an eight day event featuring masterclasses, lectures, and recitals. In 1989, MASNO members Madelyn Trible and Raymond Gitz saw the opportunity to augment the summer festival, and in 1989 the New Orleans International Piano Competition was born. William Koehler was the victor of the inaugural competition, and since that first year the competition has continued to expand in scope, attracting competitors and audiences from around the globe, and currently regarded as one of the finest showcases of pianistic talent.