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Oliver Jia playing Paul Patterson's Hastings Tocata. Semi finals

Oliver Jia playing Paul Patterson’s Hastings Toccata. Semi finals

Hastings Toccata a joyous addition

In a way this is the end of the competition for me as a blogger, except to urge you all to get onto White Rock 462288 and book yourselves in for the finals on Friday and Saturday – there will be some blistering piano playing and a lot of boisterous orchestral playing to enjoy from the RPO, writes David Pullen.

Eric Zuber USA

Eric Zuber USA

The music will probably match our sea scape – you’ll not be sitting back, with a warm glow of soothing romantic tunes to send you home with a nice tan, but instead there’ll be a dramatic scene confronting you  –  with potentially overwhelming waves of pianism being pushed in by gales of orchestral energy all occasionally punctuated by the odd storm of heavy rain or noisy sleet.They used to sell Skegness as ” So Bracing!” – I think Hastings might live up to that over these two days.

So blow those musical cobwebs away by turning up – there are still seats available.

That really is the end of my long promotional journey

Jung-eun Severine Kim South Korea

Jung-eun Severine Kim South Korea

over the last week. Still can’t quite get used to the fact that virtually no local people  came along at least to sample this extraordinary event. And as for the under 30’s where were you? There must be more than a few semi serious musicians (not just pianists) who’d have benefited from a dose of these committed and dynamic musicians at the very start of their careers.

I know I have benefited hugely, and I’m so grateful that I was asked to do this blog because I’ve enjoyed myself so much, learnt so much and end up feeling so much more positive about the piano as a classical instrument because, like the majority of classical music fans, I got into it principally through the sound of great orchestras and great singers.

Samuel Deason Canada

Samuel Deason Canada

To begin with you only want , or think you should enjoy “the best”- the big name geniuses, the greatest performers.

After a time you start to realise that there are many great performances – music in the official 2nd (or lower) tier. Sometimes just one piece by a composer (like Bruch or Finzi) hits the jackpot, and sometimes as happened this week for me, you hear what is (again this is

Ke Ma China

Ke Ma China

personal, but so is everything in the long run) the greatest performance you have heard of a work – not perhaps technically but musically.

Maybe it was because I had  to sit and listen properly, perhaps it was the first time live (because some of these bravura pieces by the likes of Liszt, Prokofiev or Bartok just hit a different spot when they are actually live). Whatever it is – comedy, travel, music, making love – its very different being live.  Just remember that next time you put on the radio or a cd.

Now talking of being live and avant garde I had the truly memorable experience of sitting beside the composer when his composition was played for the first time, then the second time, then the third, then….

Huang Zuyin Taiwan

Huang Zuyin Taiwan

Paul Patterson’s piece stood up to 12 distinct performances remarkably well, and I really did think the piece itself was not just comprehensible, challenging, and joyous, but was better music than many of the pieces that were played alongside it. He was rightly delighted with the sheer dedication of the twelve semi finalists (including one who had memorised the piece) and that many found things in it that perhaps he hadn’t spotted himself ?

Like the Stage 2 innovation, this new set piece idea was a total success.

The only fly in my ointment was that my no 1 choice (shared with one or two others I spoke to) did not even reach the final six.

But how good that I have heard that particular  competitor (amongst others) three times already before their exit – and might hope to hear them again if others agree with me and have them perform in this country sometime in the future. Of course it is a competition and so there is always a desire to join in the judging, but unless you like castigating yourself or the judges, the best thing is just to be thankful that you are getting so much (quantity,quality, variety) of music in a lovely hall played on a great piano by a succession of budding top players for next to nothing.
Michelle Nam Canada

Michelle Nam Canada

I shall hope to be coming next year.

2016 Masterclass Taken by Members of the International Jury with the 2016 semi finalists. 3 March 2016, at Fairlight Hall, Martineau Lane Fairlight TN35 5DR
6pm to 9pm Tickets £20 include wine and canapes.

Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition Finals – Six finalists perform their complete concertos from Stage 1 over two evenings with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at the White Rock Theatre, White Rock, Hastings TN34 1JX.

Friday 4 March 6.50 for 7pm
Saturday 5 March 5.50 for 6pm

Tickets £15 or at Hastings Tourist Information Centre, Aquila House. 01424 451111

Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition: 25 February-5 March

Posted 15:36 Thursday, Mar 3, 2016 In: Piano Concerto Competition diary


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