Running the Gauntlet
MALCOLM TROUP, one of the judges
of the 30th anniversary 'Gina Bachauer'
International Artists Competition,
reports on the recent finals in Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City, situated at 'the crossroads of the West', is the home of that arch-guru of International Piano Competitions Paul Pollei who, for the 30th Anniversary of the prestigious 'Gina Bachauer' [15-30 June 2006] over which he presides there, combed the keyboards of the world for an all-star cast of young Titans. Either personally auditioned by him and his team in Paris, Berlin, Venice, Moscow, Seoul, Beijing and Brazil or accepted on the strength of their having received First or Second Prize in other international competitions, 39 representing 24 nations lined up to pay homage at Gina's shrine, among them Sergei Salov (First Prize, London's Beethoven Intercollegiate Piano Competition, 2001 Epinal, 2004 Montreal Grand Prize, etc), with the chance to carry off appetizing awards of US$30,000, $15,000 and $8,000 respectively, not to mention recording and orchestral contracts.
The gauntlet they had to run was an international jury of Janina Fialkowska (Arthur Rubinstein's former protegée and a winner of his Inaugural Piano Masters Competition in Israel), London-based Seta Tangel (who tied with her on that occasion), Piotr Paleczny (fresh from the Cleveland Competition and homeward-bound for his own Competition in Duszniki Zdrój, Poland (the oldest international piano festival in the world), Matthias Kirschnereit (Germany), Akiko Ebi (Japan), Petrus Geniusas (Lithuania) son-in-law of the great Vera Gornostayeva and Visiting Professor at London's Royal Academy of Music, Yafen Zhu (China), Douglas Humpherys (a former 'Bachauer' laureate) and, as Chairman, the indispensable Nelita True (Eastman School). The consolation for the semi-finalists was to have a 'heart-to-heart' with each of the Jury in turn, explaining where they had fallen short.
Copyright © 17 July 2006
Malcolm Troup, London UK