A clear winner
The Epic is finally over and it was very far from a foregone conclusion as to who might win. Few, I think , would have seen Tzu-Yin Huang from Taiwan as the likely winner at the end of the first round, or even after the semi finals,and yet she was chosen by the RPO orchestra as their winner as well as the jury – and from my soundings, by many of the audience as well (if they had been here both nights). HOT’s David Pullen sums up the Finals.
How lovely to think that a clear winner emerged from such a talented and capable set of finalists. I really do believe it was down to these final performances – with an orchestra and in front of a large audience in the White Rock. Which is just what we all want.
I have to say that, whilst her sensitivity and her real love of playing music shone through in everything I had heard her perform up to the final round, she wasn’t the person I expected to prevail in the end. But quite simply hers was, for me, manifestly the most exciting and alive concerto performance in the final.
She really looked as though her life depended on giving a totally committed performance that took orchestra and audience with her. I was thrilled and smiling at the end of it. My companion observed the reaction of the Jury (who were in front of us) and felt that, like the orchestra (that I was looking at) their applause, smiles and general demeanour gave away more than they thought! Hope that doesn’t get me banned next year – if I am, I shall be recruiting spies to grade the jury head nods and claps per minute so that I can predict their decision before The Artistic Director tells us!
Seriously though, it did help that she played a work that was tackled very capably by two other finalists, because then you could tell that she really had added that elusive je ne sais quoi. Even if Prokofiev’s 3rd is not one of your favourites, it provided a perfect platform to see who could best bring it alive to the audience.
Afterwards I was given a little insight into her performing mentality – the speeds she set, and the whole tone of the performance which we heard was markedly different from her (brief) rehearsal with the orchestra. A sign of her confidence in being spontaneous and interacting with other musicians, rather than just being “the soloist” or “the virtuoso” accompanied (i.e. followed ) by others whose job is to mould around her as she shows us how fast and loud she can play.
I very much look forward to hearing her in Hastings and Bexhill.
Now I did speak over the period to a lot of audience members, and if any of you are reading this I’d like to thank you for your time, ideas, and willingness to hear out some of my thoughts. It was great that a small, and ever changing, audience was there for every session and that some of you were willing to join my so called HOT club.
That name was one of my frivolous ideas that I suggest is quietly dropped – it only resonates with fans of the original Hot Club of France . Mind you, the names and reputations of their two principal artists still live on – Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grappelli – so maybe you should look them up on Youtube. Maybe we could get a serenading band along during the intervals next year. Sounds like another of my crazy ideas, but perhaps after 3 hours of classical piano a blast of piano accordion might be a real tonic.
I’ve learnt a lot in 8 days, and hope I’ve both entertained and informed you on the way. Bye for now.
Results of the 2016 Competition
First Prize and Orchestra Prize: Tzu Yin Huang
Second Prize: Samuel Deason
Third Prize: Jung Eun Severine Kim
Fourth Prize: Eric Zuber
Fifth Prize: Ke Ma
Sixth Prize: Michelle Nam
Paul Patterson Work Prize: Jung Eun Severine Kim
British Prize: Andreas Ioannides
Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition: 25 February-5 March 2016. For your diaries: Summer Prizewinners’ Recital at Fairlight Hall, with 2016 Competition winner. The Recital Room Courtyard, Fairlight Hall, Martineau Lane, Fairlight TN35 5DR.
Grounds open for picnics from 12pm. Recital 2pm-4pm including interval. With Pimms and Wine bar. Ticket £20
And 21 September 2016, the 2016 prizewinner plays at the Rye Arts Festival
Also in: Piano Concerto Competition diary
David’s blog 7 »