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Image: HIPCC.

Hastings  piano  competition reaches out to community

The Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition (HIPCC), more than any previous year, is bringing the Hastings Musical Festival to the attention of ordinary Hastings  and 1066 people with a programme of attractive fringe and main events to entice us with great piano music, all thanks to support from the Kowitz Family Foundation and an Arts Council grant, writes Chris Cormack.

Young concert pianists to visit local schools

Mini master classes by previous winners and  finalists of HIPCC will take to the road during Piano Week, which begins on Monday 11 March, to visit local schools and colleges  in Bexhill, Hastings, Lewes and Rye to help inspire and enthuse young musicians who have the potential  to enter future editions of the competition and become professionals.

Priory Meadow shopping centre: baby grand piano

A master class will be held at Fairlight Hall. (Photo: HIPCC)

A range of performers, from students and talented A-level and piano school students through to professionals, will play during given slots on a quality baby grand piano kindly supplied by Sussex Pianos all day from 8 to 12 March. There will also be empty slots to encourage passers-by and shoppers at Priory Meadow to demonstrate their hidden piano skills in front of an audience. The organisers hope that anyone with an interest in piano will attend to soak up the amazing skill on offer and give support to the performers as well as maybe giving performing in public a try for the first time.

Electric Palace Cinema: special showing of ‘The Pianist’ and ‘Delius’

There will be a screening of The Pianist at 4pm on Sunday 10 May. This 2002 biographical war drama film, directed by Roman Polanski, written by Ronald Harwood and starring Adrien Brody, is based on the true story of a privileged musician who spent five years struggling against the Nazi occupation of Warsaw (tickets £6). Delius will be screened on Tuesday 12th March at 7.30pm with a Q & A hosted by with John Bridcut, an award-winning documentary film-maker. John Bridcut has written a number of composer-portraits including Elgar: the Man Behind the Mask, which won the Czech Crystal Award for best documentary (2010) and went on to secure the 2011 BAFTA Craft Award for Sound (Factual). He has also won awards for The Passions of Vaughan Williams (2008) and Britten’s Children (2004). His latest music documentary, Delius: Composer, Lover, Enigma. explores the pleasures of Frederick Delius’s music (tickets £8).

Orchestra of Ringtones workshop at the Jerwood Gallery

An opportunity for students to work with an international sound artist and perform collected sounds and recordings at the Jerwood in front of selected works. Sound artist Joseph Young will take participants on a ‘sound walk’ of the gallery space, exploring the collection in silence, primarily using ears rather than eyes, and interpreting dynamics, tonal colour, rhythm and pace. Saturday 16 March at 10am (tickets £2).

HIPCC final with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra

The Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition attracts the finest talents from all over the world to Hastings, including this year 24-year-old Riyad Nicolas from war-torn Syria, 25-year-old Gunel Mirzayava from Azerbaijan and Diana Gabrielyan from Armenia. As befits an international competition of this calibre, Anna Gogava from Georgia, eight Russian competitors, an Australian, an American, an Indonesian, four South Koreans, four Chinese, five Japanese and two Ukrainians, Daria Bitsiuk and Olga Paliy, will also compete. There were over 70 entries in total for the piano competition, of which  47 passed the initial auditions.

He Ren. (Photo: HIPCC)

Eighteen-year-old He-Ren from China has already some notable achievements in piano competitions under her belt, including the 2007 Gold Prize, Yamaha Special Prize and Schlob Prize in the 8th International Chopin Piano Competition in Asia. In 2011 she won second prize in the 2nd Thailand International Piano Competition as the youngest contestant. Furthermore in March 2012, she won first prize in the Queens Symphony Orchestra Young Soloist Competition in New York and became a soloist with the Queens Symphony Orchestra during the 2012-13 season. She currently studies with Professor Matti Raekallio at the Juilliard School in New York.

The European contingent comprises an Estonian, 17-year-old prize-winning Paul Gasparian from France, and three Italians, of whom Michelle Candotti, at 16, is the youngest competitor and already a prize-winner in her home country. Last but not least, two competitors from the UK, Alexander Ullman (21) and James Sherlock, one of the oldest competitors at 29. Alexander is currently living in America where he is furthering his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and recently performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Cristian Macelaru.

James Sherlock. (Photo: HIPCC)

James Sherlock is Sussex-born and bred, so deserves your extra home-crowd support! Having studied the piano with Kevin Smith in St Leonards before going on to study music at Cambridge University, he now studies with Pamela Lidiard at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London and performs widely as a soloist, chamber musician and song accompanist.

The entrants, aged 16 to 30, must choose a concerto from a list which includes Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Grieg and Rachmaninoff, playing part of every movement up to a maximum time  of 25 minutes.

At the end of the prelims, which take place from Monday 11 to Wed 13 March, the semi-finalists will be announced. They can play their own choice of repertoire, including at least two different composers, in the semi-final recital on Thursday 14 from 4.00 to 7.30pm. Three finalists will be chosen to play their chosen concerti with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at the finalists’ concert on Saturday 16 March at 6pm. The other three semi-finalists will take part in a master class at Fairlight Hall on Friday 15 March at 7.30pm.

Tickets are now on sale for the glittering final with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra on the 16 March at the White Rock Theatre – only £10/£12 for a chance to experience this level of young inspirational talent!

Posted 19:00 Saturday, Mar 9, 2013 In: Music & Sound

Also in: Music & Sound

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