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<<  -- 3 --  Keith Bramich    AN AFTER-SUN EXPERIENCE

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A recital by a young Japanese pianist on the previous evening (22 July) heralded the start of a new, ongoing and potentially beneficial arrangement between the festival and the Moscow-based Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition. Each future competition first prize winner will be offered a recital at the festival.

The relationship between Ayako Uehara (born at Takamatsu in 1980) and the Tchaikovsky Competition began in 1998 when she became the youngest semi-finalist. Returning to Moscow in 2002 she became the first female competitor ever to take the first prize. Her first major competition success came in 1992 when, barely a teenager, she was awarded first prize at the Third International Young Pianists' Competition in Ettlingen.

Ayako Uehara performing in the Rector's Palace Atrium at the 2003 Dubrovnik Festival. Photo © 2003 Zelyko Tutnjevic
Ayako Uehara performing in the Rector's Palace Atrium at the 2003 Dubrovnik Festival. Photo © 2003 Zelyko Tutnjevic

Beginning with sparkling Mozart (Sonata No 20 in F K322) that was balanced and secure, with an enviable economy of movement, featherweight playing and a precision that included beautifully smooth right-hand runs, Uehara, as with the Slovene Octet, gave the whole of her dazzling Dubrovnik Festival recital (which included two generous encores) from memory. Her Chopin (Scherzo No 3 in C sharp minor) in particular was superb, and she had no problems adopting the grand Russian manner for music by Rachmaninov (Preludes 1, 2, 6, 7, 10 and 12 from Op 32) or Tchaikovsky (The Dumka Op 59 and the Grand Sonata in G Op 37).

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Copyright © 31 July 2003 Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK

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