Oxana Shevchenko wins Scottish International Piano Competition
20 October 2010
The young Khazakh pianist who won the International Music Critic Prize at the 2009 Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition has been named the winner of the Scottish International Piano Competition (SIPC), which concluded on 19 September at City Halls, Glasgow.
The 23-year-old returned home with £10,000, the Alexander Stone Memorial Trophy, the Frederic Lamond Gold Medal and a Bluthner grand piano, presented by Herr Bluthner himself, after performing Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto in the finals. As part of her prize she will also record a solo disc with Delphian Records, for release in November.
She said the news of her SIPC victory took time to sink in: ‘Only now, a week after the competition has finished, do I feel that I won. After the final round I felt tired and that my performance had not been good enough; but now that I have returned to Moscow people are congratulating me, and it is wonderful to hear.’
Shevchenko came fourth at the Busoni Piano Competition last year but her playing caught the attention of the press jury, whose panel included IP editor Chloe Cutts, who awarded her the International Music Critic Prize (see report, IP Nov/Dec 2009).
Second prize at the SIPC went to Nadezda Pisareva, 23, from Russia, who trains at the University of Arts in Berlin; placed third was her compatriot Pavel Kolesnikov, 21, a student at the Moscow State Conservatoire.
Shevchenko recently finished recording the competition CD in Glasgow, which features her competition pieces plus works by Shostakovich and Ravel. The contents of her debut recording for Delphian Records are yet to be released, but she hinted at an interest in recording Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Brahms’s Sonata no.1.
Mikhail Pletnev cancels Proms and Edinburgh Festival dates
5 August 2010
Press statement for immediate release regarding Mikhail Pletnev's BBC Proms appearance on 18th August, and Edinburgh Festival on 19th August.
Mikhail Pletnev has decided today (5 August 2010) that he will not be conducting the concerts of the RNO in London on 18 August and in Edinburgh on 19 August in order to have the necessary time to deal with the accusations against him. Andrey Boreyko, a former Member of the RNO Conductor Collegium, will replace him for both UK concerts. In a statement issued by the Russian National Orchestra, Pletnev said: 'I do not wish to overshadow the wonderful music making of the RNO and their tour in the UK with the current accusations surrounding my person. I will not comment on the ongoing investigation, but I hope the matter will be resolved speedily and it will be clear that I am innocent of the accusations against me. I look forward to returning to the UK with my orchestra soon'.
Fazil Say will face trial under hate laws after acquittal calls rejected
19 October 2012, Alex Stevens
Facing trial: Fazil Say
The trial of Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Say has been adjourned until 18 February after a Turkish court rejected calls for an acquittal.
Mr Say is being prosecuted for comments he made on Twitter, under laws against inciting hatred and insulting the values of Muslims.
The BBC reported one of the tweets as reading: ‘I am not sure if you have also realised it, but if there's a louse, a non-entity, a lowlife, a thief or a fool, it's always an Islamist.’
He also reportedly mocked a short call to prayer before making reference to Muslims’ forbearance of alcohol, tweeting: ‘Why such haste? Have you got a mistress waiting or a raki on the table?’
The maximum sentence for the crime is 18 months, but if Mr Say were found guilty his sentence would be likely to be suspended, said the BBC.
Mr Say has served as a cultural ambassador for the European Union and has also been a vocal critic of the Turkish government and its prime minister Tayyip Erdogan.
He has played with the London Symphony Orchestra and the world premiere of his Four Cities, a BBC commission, was given by cellist Nicolas Altstaedt and pianist Jose Gallardo at this year’s City of London Festival.
Leeds piano competition appoints Trevor Green CEO in its 50th year
22 July 2011
Ensuring succession: Trevor Green
Trevor Green, former managing director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, director of the Australian Academy of Music and head of music at BBC North, has been appointed chief executive officer and deputy chairman of the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition.
The appointment was announced today by the competition's chairman and artistic director, Dame Fanny Waterman, who turned 91 this year. Waterman founded the competition 50 years ago and said Green's appointment 'ensures the succession of the competition'.
Dame Fanny continued: 'I have known Trevor Green for many years, and I have always been greatly impressed by his business acumen and by his genuine concern and interest in helping young musicians of all disciplines.
'Trevor is an eminent international musician and his presence will not only make a great musical contribution to the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition but will also bring great vitality to the City of Leeds and Yorkshire.'
Green acknowledged the competition as 'the world’s premier piano competition' and said he was 'looking forward to building the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition into a broader 21st-century company, as well as maintaining [its] excellent reputation and artistic standards.'
Green will commence his role in August. The competition also recently appointed Elizabeth Blanckenberg as administrator.
Philadelphia Orchestra files for bankruptcy protection
21 April 2011
The Philadelphia Orchestra has sent shock waves around America’s classical musical community by filing for bankruptcy, writes Michael Quinn.
An open letter jointly signed by the orchestra’s president and chief executive Allison Vulgamore and its chairman, Richard B Worley, described the orchestra’s financial position as ‘serious’ and said its operating funds were ‘dwindling rapidly’ and likely to be exhausted by June.
Although the 111-year-old orchestra – long regarded as one of America’s ‘big five’ – does not have any debt, the letter added, it is currently ‘operating at a significant loss with a structural deficit of $14.5m,’ approximately £9m, a figure aggravated by ‘a decline in ticket revenues, decreased donations, eroding endowment income, pension obligations, contractual agreements, and operational costs’. Recent moves to avert the growing crisis have included pay cuts for orchestra players and administrative staff, and donations of more than $9.5m (£5.85m) from board members in addition to their annual contributions.
The decision to file for Chapter 11 protection – which will cede final decision-making responsibility to a bankruptcy court while allowing management to remain in place to implement a root-and-branch reorganisation of the orchestra’s affairs – was ‘difficult but necessary’.
‘Faced with such substantial financial challenges beyond the growing structural deficit and a lack of additional operational funds available,’ added Mr Worley, ‘the board of directors has chosen this path as the best means to help reset our financial obligations. This is a first step forward toward financial health and stability for this great orchestra.’
Founded in 1900, the Philadelphia Orchestra was brought to international prominence during Leopold Stokowski’s 26-year-long tenure as its music director from 1912. His successors in the role have included Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti and Christoph Eschenbach. Last year it announced Yannick Nézet-Séguin would take up the position at the beginning of the 2012/13 season.
Among the many historic firsts the orchestra can claim are beating its domestic rivals to become the first American orchestra to appear on television, the first to broadcast live on the internet, and the first to visit China and Vietnam.
The orchestra – which is due to make its first appearance in five years at the BBC Proms on September 8, with chief conductor Charles Dutoit – says it will continue to meet concert commitments already announced and has pledged itself to ‘placing all revenues for the 2011/12 season in escrow until the concerts occur’ and expressed a ‘deep commitment to stage a 2011/12 season’.