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Purcell School pupil wins inaugural Cliburn Junior Competition

10 July 2015, Katy Wright

Alim Beisembayev
Alim BeisembayevRodger Mallison/The Cliburn

Purcell School pupil Alim Beisembayev took first place in the inaugural Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition, winning the $10k first prize and $2k scholarship (to help further his musical advancement).

The Kazakhstan-born 17-year-old performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (accompanied by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under Mei-Ann Chen) in the competition final, which took place on 28 June in Fort Worth, Texas. His repertoire for previous rounds included works by Liszt, Chopin, Ligeti and Beethoven.

Beisembayev said: ‘Competitions really help you to develop as a musician because you try to play your best and learn as much as you can… it’s been really exciting for me to play this concerto because it’s such a big work and I really loved it.’

Cliburn gold medal winner and jury chairman Jon Nakamatsu said that he ‘loved his [Beisembayev's] sense of maturity, his concept of sound and of never rushing through things, especially during the earlier rounds.’

Tessa Nicholsam, Beisembayev’s piano teacher, said: ‘He’s a natural-born pianist. There are very few of the most difficult things that he finds difficult. Considering his parents aren’t musical, it’s just a God-given gift is all I can say.’

Beisembayev joined the Purcell School in 2010, supported by the Government’s Music and Dance scheme. He won third prize in the 2014 International Liszt Competition for Young Pianists in Weimar and first prize in the 2008 International Televised Competition for Young Musicians (‘Nutcracker’) in Moscow.

Arsenii Mun (Russia) and Youlan Ji (China), both 16, took second and third places respectively. Each of the top three candidates receive community residency and mentorship oportunities with the Cliburn.

Alim will be performing Rachmaninov's second piano concerto with The Purcell School at the Royal Festival Hall on 29 February 2016.

Cliburn Junior Competition

July/August issue out now

2 July 2015

Portuguese virtuoso Maria João Pires talks to International Piano about her new ‘Partitura’ teaching model combining the mechanics of playing with aspects of philosophy, psychology and social responsibility; celebrating the centenary of Sviatoslav Richter, one of the towering figures of 20th-century pianism; and we uncover the solo piano works of Vincent d’Indy. Plus, Artur Pizarro introduces ‘Songs My Grandmother Taught Me’, a musical journey through the first nine years of his life; piano music at this year’s BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival; embellishment, phrasing and cadenzas in Mozart’s piano works; we take a look at Stephen Paulello’s innovations in piano design; Joanna MacGregor shares her favourite tracks; Roger Vignoles looks back on an illustrious career as the recital partner of some of the greatest divas of our time; how to make the most of your sostenuto; free sheet music fragments by Schubert; and your chance to WIN Pires’ complete concerto recordings on CD.


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International Tchaikovsky Competition winners announced

1 July 2015, Moscow, Russia

Dmitry Masleev romps home to victory at this year's Tchaikovsky Competition
Dmitry Masleev romps home to victory at this year's Tchaikovsky Competition

Report by Ismene Brown
The 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition's piano category winner – always expected to be the headliner in Moscow – is a 27-year-old East Siberian, Dmitry Masleev, whose slight and boyish looks belie his age and experience. After a Moscow Conservatoire training under Mikhail Petukhov he has been fairly successful on the competition circuit and presently studies in the prestigious Lake Como International Piano Academy, Italy, where one of the faculty, the veteran pianist Dmitry Bashkirov, was one of the Tchaikovsky judges. Masleev’s capable and powerful playing of the Tchaikovsky first and Prokofiev third concertos concluded the final and brought him an ovation from the hall; less expected was his winning of the Round 2 chamber concerto prize for his Mozart No 20 in D minor K466.

The prizes were unusually awarded: no sixth and fifth prize, but a fourth to the unorthodox Frenchman Lucas Debargue, whose instinctive musicianship also captured the Moscow critics’ special award. The second and third prizes were both divided: the ebullient 19-year-old American George Li, a favourite with many, split the silver with another measured Russian, Lukas Geniušas, and a prodigiously virtuosic 16-year-old Russian, Daniel Kharitonov, took bronze alongside his countryman Sergey Redkin.

It has generally been considered a solid, rather than exciting piano section, and its reach worldwide via the Medici TV streaming drew in millions of viewers and heavy social media commentary. Two common strands are that Masleev is somewhat featureless as a musician and Debargue magical. Others have stressed the heavy workload likely to result from the win, and Masleev’s far superior technical reliability and stamina for what lies ahead. Meanwhile Debargue has already been given a Moscow recital in December by the critics, which can be expected to be packed out with his new Russian fans.

Winners of the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition

I prize and a gold medal: Dmitry Masleev

II prize and a silver medal: Lucas Geniušas; George Li

III prize and a bronze medal: Sergei Redkin; Daniel Kharitonov

IV prize: Lucas Debargue

V prize: -

VI prize: -

Special prize for the best performance of the concerto with chamber orchestra in the second round: Dmitry Masleev (Russia)

Special prize for the best two competitors of the second round: Ilya Rashkovsky (Russia), Mikhail Turpanov (Russia) 

One-handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy signs to Warner Classics

26 June 2015, London

Nicholas McCarthy
Nicholas McCarthy(Photo: Paul Marc Mitchell)

The one-handed British pianist, Nicholas McCarthy, has been signed to Warner Classics and his first solo album for the label will be released in September 2015.

McCarthy’s signing follows his recent Rhinegold LIVE recital at Conway Hall, where he was talent-spotted by executives from Warner Classics.

McCarthy’s first Warner album, entitled Solo, will feature 17 pieces that run the gamut from Wittgenstein’s arrangement for left hand of Bach/Gounod’s Ave Maria to popular early 20th-century works such as ‘O mio babbino caro’ from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi (arranged by Frédéric Meinders) and ‘Summertime’ from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (arranged by McCarthy himself).

‘My fan base has always been half core classical and half lighter classical,’ explains McCarthy. ‘I didn't want to alienate anyone by putting longer pieces on my first commercial release, but I hope this album will offer a snapshot of the range of repertoire that exists for left hand. My selection also offers a portrait of me as an artist, including three of my own arrangements.’

The disc’s final track is a new commission by the British composer Nigel Hess – a Nocturne for left hand, written specially for McCarthy: ‘It has a really simple, beautiful theme and I've I love the way Nigel uses harmony. He does some unexpected things that I really like.’

For this recording Nicholas McCarthy selected a Yamaha CFX piano, a revolutionary new concert grand representing the culmination of over 19 years of collaborative research and development with some of the world's greatest musicians. The instrument produces outstanding expressiveness coupled with exceptional tonal presence.

Nicholas McCarthy’s Solo will be released by Warner Classics on 18 September 2015.

Nicholas McCarthy

Alexander Soares wins ROSL Music Competition

17 June 2015, Katy Wright

Soares performing in Cantabria
Soares performing in Cantabria

Alexander Soares has won the gold medal at the Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) Music Competition 2015, receiving a £15k cash prize.

The pianist performed a programme of d’Anglbert, Boulez and Dutilleux at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on 1 June. Gavin Henderson chaired the jury, which was mostly comprised of former ROSL prizewinners.

Soares is currently studying the memorisation of scores by Pierre Boulez for his doctorate under Julian Anderson and Ronan O’Hara at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (with additional support from Daniel Leech Wilkinson at King’s College London).

He won Making Music’s 2014 AYCA scheme, and has also won prizes in the Dudley International Piano Competition, Brant International Competition and Beethoven Society Europe Competition.

Soares said: ‘Winning the Royal Overseas League Gold medal was the most exhilarating experience. It was a delight to compete with so many talented musicians in such a fantastic venue as the Queen Elizabeth Hall, in the highly professional care of the ROSL team. This achievement is a major step forward in my developing a performance career.’

The ROSL is a non-profit Commonwealth private members organisation which promotes international relations through arts and welfare activities. Besides the annual music competition, ROSL offers commonwealth music scholarships which provide young performers with valuable exposure early in their careers.

Royal Over-Seas League

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