The semifinals of the Honens International Piano Competition get underway Oct. 17 in Calgary. Over a five-day period, 10 pianists from eight countries will each play a 60-minute solo recital and a 65- to 70-minute collaborative recital. A jury of seven experts will evaluate their performances and select five pianists who will advance to the finals and play a concerto with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra under Roberto Minczuk.
For their solo recitals, the semifinalists will perform repertoire of their choice, although they are encouraged to play at least one pivotal work from the standard piano literature. Their choice of repertoire is taken into consideration by the members of the jury, who are looking for intelligent and imaginative programming. The semifinalists are allowed to perform an encore at the end of their solo recitals.
The collaborative recital is a chamber music concert that includes a violin sonata, a cello sonata and 10 minutes of art song. Each semifinalist performs with the same collaborators: violinist Geoff Nuttall, cellist Johannes Moser and soprano Amanda Roocroft. For this concert, the semifinalists choose their music from a list of repertoire supplied by the collaborators.
If it all sounds daunting, well, it is. But the Honens Competition isn't going to give away its $100,000 first prize for a song. Meet the 10 semifinalists who are up for the challenge:
Name: Lorenzo Cossi
"Every time I think of a piece I'm playing, I think 'This is my favourite piece; this is my favourite composer.'"
Name: David Fung
"An artist absolutely needs to reach down and find within themselves what they are."
Name: Sasha Grynyuk
"An artist is someone who creates, first of all."
Name: Pavel Kolesnikov
"An artist must not be just an entertainer; he must be something like a doctor who gives a pill, but the pill is very sweet."
Name: Maria Mazo
"The most important thing is to touch the audience from two sides: emotionally and intellectually."
Name: Jong-Hai Park
Country: South Korea
"When I play Schubert, I [also] read the literature of the time."
Name: Konstantin Shamray
"To choose your way and go your own way [...] it's more difficult, but I think it's the only possible way for an artist to go."
Name: Avan Yu
"Once you have a piece in your fingers, you have to ask yourself what kind of sound you want. What do you actually want to say with the piece?"
Name: Zenan Yu
"Picasso once said painting is a form of magic. I feel the same thing: music has the magic and the power."
Name: Eric Zuber
Country: United States
"I went to a lecture the other day on music and the brain, and I'm very interested in that; how the sounds we perceive translate into emotion."
You can watch the semifinal performances live at the Honens International Piano Competition website. The complete competition schedule is available here.
CBC Classical will host a live blog, including a video stream of the Honens Competition finals in Calgary on Oct. 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. AT, 9:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. CT, 6:30 p.m. PT). You're invited to participate and comment on the performances while they're happening. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #honens2012.
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on Oct 16, 2012