by Mike Telin
Following the Sixth Session of the Second Round on Sunday afternoon, July 25, PianoCleveland announced the names of the eight pianists who will advance to the Semifinals of the 2021 Cleveland International Piano Competition. Having reached this point through videos recorded at locations around the globe, they will now be performing live in Cleveland.
Those four sessions will be held in Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Thursday, July 29 at 7:00 pm — Ying Li (China) and Honggi Kim (South Korea).
Friday, July 30 at 7:00 pm — Jiarui Cheng (China) and Yedam Kim (South Korea).
Saturday, July 31 at 2:00 pm — Rafael Skorka (Israel) and Martín García García (Spain).
Sunday, August 1 at 2:00 pm — Byeol Kim (South Korea) and Lovre Marušić (Croatia).
New to 2021
A new addition to the semi-final required repertoire is the inclusion of a virtuosic popular music transcription made by Alexey Kurbatov. “I was introduced to him in 2011 when I was playing a concert in Moscow,” CIPC president Yaron Kohlberg told us in March. “He has the ability to take familiar pieces and make them into super-difficult pianistic pieces.”
Kohlberg also sees the popular song requirement as audience building. “We want to create a space for people who already love classical music, as well as a space for the audiences of tomorrow — no matter what background or age. When people hear a melody that they know, they may be more inclined to listen to other things.”
Contestants can choose from four arrangements commissioned by CIPC: Themes from Mission Impossible (Lalo Schifrin), Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), America (Leonard Bernstein), and the Olympic Fanfare (John Williams).
Another edition to the 2021 Semi-Finals is the duo-piano round. Teams may choose either the Schubert Fantasie in f, or the Mozart Sonata for Two Pianos in D.
“We wanted to give the semi-finalists the opportunity to play twice,” Kohlberg said. “This will also give the jury and the audience a chance to get to know the contestants better. We see this as a great opportunity to form friendships and collaborations, and develop the feeling that we are all in this together. It also reveals a different aspect of one’s playing.”
What will you hear? Visit our concert listings here to view each contestant’s program.
Bartók Sonata, Sz. 80, (two) Bernstein “America” from West Side Story (arr. Kurbatov), Brahms Sieben Fantasien, Op. 116, Chopin Twelve Etudes, Op. 25 — Barcarolle in F-sharp, Op. 60 — Polonaise-Fantaisie in A-flat, Op. 61, Gottschalk The Union, Op. 48, Jalbert Toccata (2001), Leighton Fantasia Contrappuntistica, Op. 24 (“Homage to Bach”) (1956), Liszt “Les cloches de Genève (Nocturne)” from Années de Pèlerinage I, S. 160 — Étude de Concert, S. 145, No. 2 (“Gnomenreigen”) — Transcendental Etude, S. 139, No. 10, Mendelssohn Fantasie in f-sharp, Op. 28, (four) Mercury Bohemian Rhapsody (arr. Kurbatov), Mozart Sonata No. 13 in B-flat, K. 333, Sonata for Two Pianos in D, K. 448, Prokofiev Sonata No. 4 in c, Op. 29, Scarlatti Sonata in b, K. 87 — Sonata in E, K. 380, (two) Schifrin Themes from Mission Impossible (arr. Kurbatov), Schubert Fantasie in f for piano four hands, D. 940, Wanderer-Fantasie in C, D. 760, C. Schumann Notturno in F, Op. 6, No. 2, R. Schumann Arabeske in C, Op. 18 — Kreisleriana, Op. 16, R. Strauss “Ramble on Love” from Der Rosenkavalier (arr. Grainger), and Rachmaninoff Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42.
In the community
During their time in Cleveland, the Semi-Finalists will continue the tradition of presenting recitals at senior centers, retirement communities, community centers, and venues in partnership with local arts organizations. These include Beachwood Community Center, Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center, Judson Manor, Maplewood at Chardon, Greater Cleveland Chinese Chamber of Commerce (hosted at the Gilmour Academy), Broadway School of Music, and Normandy Manor.
And for the first time, the Semi-Finalists will also be connecting with specific immigrant communities in Cleveland based on their own national heritage through these concerts.
Two events of interest
Have you ever wondered what is going through a juror’s mind when they’re listening to a contestant’s performance? Join the Jury Roundtable on Saturday, July 31 at 10:00 am in CMA’s Gartner Auditorium. Yaron Kohlberg leads a discussion with Margarita Shevchenko (Chair – Russia), Michelle Cann (United States), Jeremy Denk (United States), Noriko Ogawa (Japan), Linda Petríková (Czech Republic), Nimrod David Pfeffer (Israel), Balázs Szokolay (Hungary), and Mira Yevtich (Serbia/Australia). Click here to learn more about the jury and here for ticket information.
On Sunday, August 1 at 10:00 am in Mixon Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music,
Michelle Cann (Eleanor Sokoloff Chair in Piano Studies at the Curtis Institute of Music) and Nimrod David Pfeffer (Assistant Conductor at The Metropolitan Opera) will present a master class for local piano students. The event will be streamed on Facebook Live. Free but registration is required.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com July 27, 2021.
Click here for a printable copy of this article