by Daniel Hathaway
Twenty-two young pianists from eleven countries will flock to the Cleveland Institute of Music next week to compete in both junior and senior divisions of the Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists. (Meet the contestants here.)
The competition — verging on a festival with the inclusion of several extra events — will be set in motion on Wednesday evening, May 30 with a 7:30 pm opening ceremony in Kulas Hall featuring Canadian pianist Leonid Nediak. Only 12 when he took home second prize in CIPC’s junior division in 2015, Nediak will play solo works before joining Liza Grossman and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra in the first movement of Rachmaninoff’s Second Concerto. WCLV’s Robert Conrad will introduce all of the contestants from the stage, and a reception will follow.
Competition rounds begin on Thursday afternoon, May 31 in Kulas Hall and continue daily through the semifinal rounds on June 6, when three pianists in each of the junior (ages 12-14) and senior divisions (ages 15-17) will advance to the final round. That event, on Friday, June 8 at 7:30 pm at the Maltz Performing Arts Center, will feature concerto performances with Gerhardt Zimmermann and the Canton Symphony Orchestra.
In past competitions, the jury has sequestered itself immediately following the final round and results have been announced late in the evening. There will be more suspense this time around: competitors, families, and audience members will have to wait until the award ceremony on Saturday, June 9 at 7:30 pm in Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art to learn the rankings of the winners. “That way, the awards ceremony actually has meaning,” competition publicist Della Homenik said in a telephone conversation. An encore recital will follow the bestowal of prizes.
Homenik, who has taken on more competition duties since CIPC’s CEO moved to the Gilmore Piano Festival early this year, went on to mention two aspects of the competition she really likes.
One, on June 1, involves a special day for 50 young people from the East End Neighborhood House organized in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland. Those guests will visit the competition and participate in eurythmics classes and drum circles, and nosh on pizza and ice cream provided by Dewey’s and Mitchell’s. “We tried to do that last time, but it flopped because of transportation problems. Their buses were stolen,” Homenik said.
Another event she’s excited about is “Dvořák and Donuts,” a free CIPC Family Day on June 2. That will be hosted by the PianoKids Trio, a rotating piano trio of young musicians who will lead children in games featuring musically-themed coloring, raucous fun on a giant floor piano, and Disney’s classic film Fantasia. The activities will also include one of PianoKids’ signature learn-and-play performances, using song, dance, simple instruments, and fun learning aids to teach the basics of pitch, scales, arpeggios, rhythm, and meter. The fun runs from 11 am to 1 pm in Studio 113 at CIM.
Free events open to everyone during the competition include master classes by Marco Solini, Olga Radosavljevich, Leonel Morales, Yaron Kohlberg, Antonio Di Cristofano, Caroline Oltmanns, and Alexander Ghindin. Free lectures will be given on Monday, June 4 by CSU’s Angelin Chang (“Music and Wellness Seminar,” 10 am in Kulas Hall) and Vera Holczer-Waroquet of the Aurora School of Music (“The Creative Beginner,” 2 pm in Mixon Hall).
And the Competition will also present two ticketed guest artist performances in CIM’s Mixon Hall. On Monday, June 4 at 8:00 pm, Drew Peterson will play a solo recital of works by Beethoven, Chopin, Griffes, and Barber, and on Thursday, June 6, Ran Dank and Soyeon Lee will perform solo works and put their four hands together for an arrangement of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
CIPC’s Bravo Piano benefit will wrap up the Competition immediately following the June 9 Awards Ceremony at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Tickets for the sessions, concerts, and benefit can be ordered online.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com May 22, 2018.
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