The Margaret Guthman New Musical Instrument Competition can trace its roots back to 1996. Georgia Tech alum Richard Guthman (IE 1956) wanted to find a way to honor his wife, Margaret, while supporting music at Georgia Tech.
He ultimately decided to sponsor a piano competition, since Margaret Guthman was a talented piano player in her own right. Two years later, the first Margaret A. Guthman Keyboard competition was held, focusing on jazz piano performances. Over the next decade, the competition continued to grow, welcoming competitors from as many as ninety-five high schools and colleges from a dozen states.
But music at Georgia Tech was changing. The School of Music debuted a Master of Science in Music Technology degree in 2006, and established the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology in 2007. As a pioneer of this new academic landscape, the Center sought to create a unique event that would showcase and complement their groundbreaking research in music technology, performance, and education.
In 2009, with Richard and Margaret's support, the keyboard competition transformed into the Margaret Guthman New Musical Instrument Competition, an event that has become a destination for instrument creators on the national and international stage. The competition winner is recognized for having the best new idea in the field of music technology.
Presently, the competition welcomes more than 20 semi-finalists every year to exhibit their inventions. Whether theirs is a unique instrument created in the garage or a commercial product that can be bought in an electronics store, the top nine competitors move on to the Margaret Guthman New Musical Instrument Competition event.