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VN welcomes 9-country youth piano contest

Update: September, 04/2015 - 09:40

Challenging: The annual Ha Noi international piano competition this year will draw 55 competitors from nine countries and territories to vie. — File Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — The 3rd Ha Noi international piano competition kicks off at the Viet Nam National Academy of Music (VNAM) today.

As many as 55 competitors from nine countries and territories have entered, with Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, mainland China, Ukraine and hosts Viet Nam being represented.

The competition includes three categories for pianists aged 10-13; 14-17 and 18-25.

The youngest age group will perform in two rounds playing three pieces 10-15 minutes in length in the first round. In the second round they will play two pieces 12-15 minutes in length including one sonata by Mozart, Haydn or Kulau.

The 14-17 year-olds will play two 8-12 minute-pieces by Bach and Chopin in the first round. Their second round performances will last 15-20 minutes featuring sonata by Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven in addition to one work of their choice.

In the final round, they will be accompanied by the Ha Noi Philharmonic Orchestra playing first, second or third movements of concertos by Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, Grieg and Rachmaninov.

"It's a very difficult competition for the competitors in the two younger age groups," said Professor and pianist Tran Thu Ha at a press conference held recently in Ha Noi.

"In other competitions in Southeast Asia, the youngest competitors just have to play in one round and the elder competitors don't have to play with an orchestra," said Ha. "This shows the quality of the Ha Noi competitors. Playing an entire concerto with a conductor and an orchestra is a challenge for each competitor," Ha said.

The eldest competitors will play three 20-25 minute pieces in the first and second rounds. In the final round they will play a concerto by either Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, Grieg or Rachmaninov with the orchestra.

Performances at the final rounds will be conducted by Vietnamese conductor Dong Quang Vinh and Spanish conductor David Gomez.

The winner in each category receives a cash prize of US$1,000, $1,500 and $2,000, respectively, with awards also for second and third place.

The competition is held by VNAM and Ha Noi Chopin Association with sponsorship from Viettravel.

Vietnamese pianist Dang Thai Son, the first Asian to win a gold medal at the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1980, is the competition's honourable president and art director.

A seven-member judg-ing panel will be chaired by Vietnamese Professor Ha who has served on the juries of several regional piano competitions. She graduated from the Kiev Conservatory in Russia in 1975 and earned a doctorate from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow in 1978.

Many of her students have been winners or finalists in competitions in Italy, Australia, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

The remaining members of the jury include Michel Bourdoncle (France), Hae Won-chang (South Korea), Fumiko Eguchi (Japan), Tamas Ungar (US) Stephan Moller (Germany/Austria) and Hamsa Al-Wadi Juris (Finland).

Competition performances are open to the public and will take place from 9am-2pm everyday during September 5-10 at VNAM, 77 Hao Nam Street. The competition winners will perform at a gala concert on September 11 at the VNAM's Grand Hall. — VNS

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