CIPC executive director Karen Knowlton looked relieved a few minutes after five o’clock on Monday when thirty-two of the thirty-three contestants were neatly arranged on chairs on the Mixon Hall stage at CIM, ready to draw for their slots in the competition schedule.
“I call this hell day”, she admitted after being introduced by WCLV‘s Robert Conrad. The contest’s beloved materfamilias reported only two glitches in a cliffhanger day when nearly three dozen pianists were scheduled to descend on Cleveland from multiple points of embarcation: one contestant was stranded in New York due to a flight cancellation and was being driven in by friends from Eastman, and jury chief Peter Frankl’s luggage was apparently still in Helsinki. Not bad!
Following greetings from board president Rand Curtiss and CIM president Joel Smirnoff, Frankl gave the competitors a little motivational speech, pointing out that he had come in twelfth in the Queen Elizabeth competition half a century ago (Vladimir Ashkenazy was no. 1) and had walked the streets of Brussels thinking his career was over. “But I’m still here, and I’m still playing!” Other dignitaries on the stage were quick to point out that a few household names like Thibaudet and Hewitt didn’t make it to the top in previous Cleveland contests either.
Then the drawing. Two members of the CIPC board had come up with a clever alternative to the usual numbers-in-the-fishbowl routine. Contestants were called up in alphabetical order to pluck white keys off a mockup of a piano keyboard. The numbers, underneath the keys, determined when they would play in the first round (and, in retrograde order, in the second). The lucky (or unlucky) number 1 was finally drawn by Anna Shelest (USA). The missing contestant, due to arrive late that evening, will be eternally grateful to Joel Smirnoff, acting as her proxy, for drawing a number in the teens.
After a well-provisioned reception, it was either off to practice or sleep —many contestants were recovering from overnight international flights. To sleep or perchance to dream.
The draw for rounds one and two is up on CIPC’s web page. Here’s the schedule for Tuesday, July 28. Come along to the Bolton Theatre at the Play House ($10 per session), listen live on WCLV, 104.9 FM, or view the live web cast. We’ll be back tonight and tomorrow morning to reflect on the first two sessions.
1:00 pm — Anna Shelest (USA): Chopin’s Etude in B Minor, Op. 25, No. 10, Ligeti’s Etude No. 10, (Der Zauberlehrling) & Beethoven’s Sonata in E Major, Op. 109. 1:35 pm —Hoang Pham (Australia): J.S. Bach’s Partita No. 4 in D Major, BWV 828 & Chopin’s Scherzo No. 4 in E Major, Op. 54. 2:10 pm — Olga Kozlova (Russia): Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in B flat Major, K. 202, Beethoven’s Sonata in C Minor, Op. 111 & Chopin’s Etude in A Minor, Op. 25, No. 11 (“Winter Wind”). 3:00 pm — Jae Weon Huh (Korea): Chopin’s Etude in C Major, Op. 10, No. 1, Takemitsu’s Rain Tree Sketch Ⅱ & Beethoven’s Sonata in F Minor, Op. 57 (Appassionata). 3:35 pm — Yekwon Sunwoo (Korea): J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in B flat Minor, WTC I: 22, Chopin’s Etude in A Minor, Op. 25, No. 11 (“Winter Wind”) & Beethoven’s Sonata in E flat Major, Op. 81a, (Les Adieux). 4:10 pm — Kyoko Soejima (Japan): Mozart’s Sonata in D Major, K. 576, Chopin’s Etude in C Major, Op. 10, No. 1 & Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise Brillante in E flat Major, Op. 22.
7:00 pm — Dmitri Levkovich (Canada): Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonatas: K. 45 in D Major & K. 17 in F Major, Beethoven’s Sonata in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2 (“Tempest”) & Chopin’s Etude in G flat Major, Op. 10, No. 5 (“Black Key”). 7:35 pm — István Lajkó (Hungary): J.S. Bach’s Toccata No. 5 in E Minor, BWV 914, Beethoven’s Sonata in E Major, Op. 109 & Chopin’s Etude in E flat Major, Op. 10, No. 11. 8:10 pm — Maria Masycheva (Russia): J.S. Bach’s Toccata in F Minor, BWV 910, Chopin’s Etude in F Major, Op. 10, No. 8 & Gubaidullina’s Chaconne. 8:55 pm — Sean Chen (USA): J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in B Major, WTC II: 23, Beethoven’s Sonata in E Major, Op. 109 & Chopin’s Etude in C Minor, Op. 25, No. 12 (“Ocean”). 9:30 pm — Chun Wang (China): J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in G Minor, WTC I: 16, Mozart’s Sonata in B flat Major, K. 333 & Chopin’s Etude in A flat Major, Op. 10, No. 10.