Review / Tough time for the Chopin semi-finalists

Music / 2017 Chopin 3rd Australian International Piano Competition, Semi-final Session 3. At ANU School of Music, Llewellyn Hall, Saturday, September 16. Reviewed by LEN POWER

Tetiana Shafran from the Ukraine. Photo by Peter Hislop

THE 3rd Australian International Chopin Piano Competition is co-hosted by the ANU, the Polish embassy and the Friends of Chopin Australia under the honorary patronage of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

The competition attracted 16 young pianists from 11 countries to Canberra to compete.  After two elimination rounds, the successful nine competitors competed in three sessions of semi-finals. The distinguished seven-member jury included ANU emeritus professor Larry Sitsky and Prof Ewa Poblocka, from Warsaw.

The third semi-final session showcased the abilities of Tetiana Shafran from the Ukraine and Alexander Yau and Nicholas Young, both from Australia. All three were required to play the same works by Chris Williams and Ferruccio Busoni plus a choice of a Chopin sonata or the complete cycle of Chopin preludes.

Alexander Yau from Australia. Photo by Peter Hislop

Alexander Yau chose to play the preludes while Tetiana Shafran played the Sonata in B minor, Opus 58 and Nicholas Young played the Sonata in B Flat minor, Opus 35.

All three performers already have a formidable list of performing credits and competition wins from around the world behind them so it was not surprising to see them all play with assurance and confidence.

Nicholas Young from Australia. Photo by Peter Hislop

Hearing all three play the same two Williams and Busoni works was quite enlightening.  Each performer brought something individual to their performance of each item, making it a compelling and enjoyable program to listen to. The jury would had have a tough job deciding which of these performers, if any, would go on to the finals.

In the event, none of these three performers made it to the finals. When you think of the amount of work each performer has to put in to compete in these competitions, the classical music business is a tough world.

[The three finalists, who will battle it out today, Sunday September 17,  are Shaun Choo (Singapore) Konstantin Khachikyan (Russia) and Edwin (Sungpil) Kim (US).]



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