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HIPCC Finals Saturday 7 March 2015: Winner Alexander Panfilov (Russia).

Panfilov triumphs in piano concerto finale

The 11th Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition was won in fine style at the White Rock Theatre last Saturday by Russian-born pianist Alexander Panfilov, with a bravura performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 3.

Playing with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, the 25-year-old drew a huge response from the enthusiastic full house. It was no surprise that, in addition to the first prize awarded by the distinguished international jury, he also won the audience prize.

Joint second: Scipione Sangiovanni (Italy).

“I still cannot fully believe that it has happened,” Alexander said afterwards. “I am especially delighted about winning the audience prize as well – it’s an absolutely incredible feeling being appreciated by the public as well as by the professional jury.”

The two other finalists, Garam Cho from South Korea playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 and Scipione Sangiovanni from Italy playing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 2, were awarded joint second place.

“It was a really fantastic evening,” said Professor Frank Wibaut, the artistic director of the competition and chairman of the jury. “Alexander really came up to his full potential on the night and the audience were brilliant – they were so enthusiastic, warm and encouraging to all the contestants.”

Joint second: Garam Cho (South Korea).

It was the third time that Alexander has competed in the event. “It is great to see the competition growing and getting better and better every year,” he said. “It is a brilliant opportunity both for performers and audience. For performers the best reward is to play with such a good orchestra, whilst for the public it is a rare chance to hear a whole week of fascinating performances.”

He received a first prize of £10,000 plus an additional £500 for the audience prize. He also wins an opportunity to play Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on June 4. The second prize winners each received £2,500.

The whole of the competition, which ran all week at the White Rock Theatre, was filmed by Oscar-nominated director Mike Figgis. He posted short films of each stage of the event on a dedicated YouTube channel and now plans to produce a full length documentary.

To see all the films – and for further information – go to the competition website.

Photographs courtesy of John Cole.

Posted 12:02 Wednesday, Mar 11, 2015 In: Piano Concerto Competition diary

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