FOR THE past week the Southern Highlands has been abuzz with the excitement of the finals for the fourth biennial Southern Highlands International Piano Competition, which offers brilliant young international pianists the chance to share in total prize money of $50,000.But did you know that for the first time ever, in a curious geographical readjustment by the newish artistic director Gerard Willems, the grand final will be held not in the Mittagong’s Clubbe Hall as before, but at the Llewellyn Hall in Canberra, with a full Canberra Symphony Orchestra in attendance?
Two years ago “CityNews” travelled to Mittagong for the finale to see Canberra’s Teddy Neeman narrowly trounced by the brilliant Chinese pianist, Wai Yin Wong.
This year, it was announced last Sunday, October 6 by Willems, the three finalists will be Kaoru Jitsukawa (Japan), Ilaria Loatelli (Italy) and Konstantinos Destounis, (Greece) who will perform with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Warwick Potter at Llewellyn Hall, Canberra.
Each finalist will perform a concerto of their choice and this year the audience will hear two interpretations of Rachmaninov’s “Concerto No 2 in C minor” Op 18 played by Jitsukawa and Destounis and Tchaikovsky’s “Concerto No 1 in B–‐flat minor Op 23” played by Loatelli.This year ‘s competition attracted over 80 entries and finished with 24 competitors from 17 countries including China, Japan, Italy, Russia, Netherlands, Ukraine, Latvia and America.
Willems said, placatingly, that he had enjoyed the past week of competition heats held during the popular Tulip Time Festival in the Southern Highlands. “We are looking forward to now moving the Competition to our nation’s capital,” he says.
Southern Highlands International Piano Competition, at Llewellyn Hall, Saturday, 3pm, October 12, bookings to 1300 795 012 www.ticketek.com.au