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Beethoven winners

MALCOLM MILLER reports on two European competitions


There was an international flavour to the 2005 13th Beethoven Intercollegiate Piano Competition, presented by the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe on 16 December at the Austrian Cultural Forum, Rutland Gate, London, thanks to the hospitality of its Director Dr Johannes Wimmer. The eight competitors, drawn from UK colleges, included pianists from Russia, Japan, Romania, China and Portugal. In the final of three sessions there was a capacity audience to hear the winning performance, that of the accomplished young Russian pianist Mikhail Shilyaev, a postgraduate student at the Royal Northern College of Music, whose masterly performance of the Sonata Op 111 in C minor, followed by the compulsory Bagatelle Op 119 No 3, formed the climax of the event. Second prize went to the Japanese pianist Yoko Misumi (Trinity College of Music) and third prize to Diana Zavalas (Birmingham Conservatoire) from Romania.

The BPSE's UK Chairman Malcolm Troup introduced the Competition's distinguished jury, Deborah Sobol, Raphael Terroni and Alan Walker. Deborah Sobol from Chicago is a Professor at North Western University and director of the Chicago Chamber Players -- a leading ensemble in its 20th anniversary year. Raphael Terroni, former Professor at the London College of Music, has recently recorded several CDs including première recordings of works by Arnold Cooke. Alan Walker, the Liszt scholar and Professor Emeritus at McMaster University, Ontario made some sparkling opening remarks in which he congratulated all the participants on their achievements. He emphasised that while there were qualities to all the performances, the Jury decisions on first prize had been unanimous, and their choice was borne out by the Audience Prize choice. Certainly the standard all round made this one of the best competitions to date. Alberto Portugheis introduced each of the participants, beginning with Madalina Rusu (Guildhall School of Music and Drama), one of the two Romanian pianists, who gave a sensitive account of the Sonata Op 28 in D Pastoral. Next came a propulsive Sonata Op 53 Waldstein by Su Ti (Royal College of Music) and a thoughtful interpretation by Portuguese-born Joao Rosa (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama) of the Sonata Op 111 in C minor.

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Copyright © 22 December 2005 Malcolm Miller, London UK


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