|Hitting the right keys: Nguyen Duc Anh won a silver medal at the Alkan-Zimmerman International Piano Competition in Greece. — Photo tienphong.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese piano student Nguyen Duc Anh, studying in Germany, has taken the silver medal at the Alkan-Zimmerman International Piano Competition in Greece, which took place between May 6-9.
The 23-year-old pianist placed equal with Italy's Alessandro Marino, while the bronze medal went to Melina Karagianni from Greece. A first prize was not awarded.
The coveted piano competition is dedicated to Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-88) and Pierre-Joseph-Guillaume Zimmerman (1785-1853), as well as other legendary piano composers of the 19th century, many of whom are considered forgotten today.
Constantine Carambelas-Sgourdas, president of the Alkan - Zimmerman International Music Association, said the competition is an homage to the extraordinary composers.
"Through the competition, we want to express the great admiration, love and respect Alkan and Zimmerman and promote their music," she said.
Charles-Valentin Alkan was one of the most outstanding piano virtuosos of his age and considered a musical genius. He was known for his strong personality and imaginative compositions. The formative musician was often compared with other masterful composers of his period, such as Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt. Chopin was one of his closest friends.
Pierre-Joseph-Guillaume Zimmerman was Alkan's admired piano professor. He was considered the top piano professor and one of France's most compelling composers of his time. History shows Alkan regarded Zimmerman as a formative influence in his career in addition to being a close father figure.
Anh was the first pianist to introduce Alkan's music to Vietnamese audiences, when he performed in Ha Noi earlier this year.
Anh said he entered the contest to bring greater attention to Alkan's work.
"Alkan's music is a precious heritage but not many people know [about it] because he was considered a reclusive genius at his age," said Anh.
Anh said he was determined to enter the final round, where he had a chance to play Grand Sonate Op 33, one of Alkan's more difficult pieces.
"Realising the beauty of the piece, I practised diligently to understand it," he said.
"I dream to perform it in front of people, to let them know what I discovered and I expect that they would enjoy my work."
"His creations for piano are especially difficult," he said. "I need more time to understand and perform them."
Anh is in his final year at the Freiburg University of Music, in Germany. — VNS