Czech pianist Ivan Moravec dies aged 84
27 July 2015, Katy Wright
The Czech pianist Ivan Moravec has died aged 84.
Moravec began piano lessons at age seven, continuing his studies at Prague Conservatory and Prague Academy of the Arts. In 1957, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli invited Moravec to attend his masterclasses in Arezzo.
He made his first recording with the Connoisseur Society in 1962, and his New York debut two years later, appearing with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. The success of this concert placed Moravec in the international spotlight, launching his career.
Smetana and Dvorák were at the heart of Moravec's repertoire, but he will be remembered for his Chopin. He recorded for a number of labels, including Nonesuch, Dorian and Supraphon, but his early recordings of Chopin for Connoisseur Records remain the most highly regarded.
In 2000, Moravec received the Charles IV Prize, the Czech Republic's most prestigious award for service to humanity.
- Ivan Moravec, pianist, born 9 November 1930; died 27 July 2015
RCM student wins Ahmed Adnan Saygun Piano Competition
24 July 2015, Katy Wright
Salih Can Gevrek
Royal College of Music student Salih Can Gevrek took first prize in the third Ahmed Adnan Saygun Piano Competition. The 23-year-old will receive a 3,000TL (£7k) prize and will perform at the 2016 International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival.
For the final round of the competition, which took place on 23 July in Gümüşlük Ancient Stone Quarry, Gevrek performed Rachmaninov's 'Six Moments Musicaux' and Saygun's Sonotin, Horon.
The panel, comprised of Gülsin Onay, Martin Roscoe and Vyacheslav Gryaznov, awarded second prize to Atakan Oyal and third prize to Ecem Alnıaçık. Oyal received the prize for 'Best Saygun Interpretation', while Alnıaçık was named the audience favourite.
The Ahmed Adnan Saygun piano competition occurs biennially as part of the International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival (which was awarded the European Festival Association's EFFE award for 2015-16). Each year, 50 young pianists participate in masterclasses given by the Gümüşlük Festival Academy. To date, the GFA's activities have enabled 10 students to study music through scholarships.
Kristiina Rokashevich wins 2015 Brant piano competition
17 July 2015, Katy Wright
Rokashevich in Town Hall
Estonian pianist Kristiina Rokashevich won both the main prize and audience prize at the 2015 Brant International Piano Competition, for which she received a total of £3500 and a number of recital opportunities.
Tunisia charity single tops iTunes classical charts
10 July 2015, Katy Wright
A charity single by pianist David Schofield has topped the iTunes classical charts within hours of its release. All profits from Schofield's recording of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' will go to the Red Cross, who provided support after the attack in Sousse, Tunisia on 26 June.
Purcell School pupil wins inaugural Cliburn Junior Competition
10 July 2015, Katy Wright
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.