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Taek Gi Lee with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra photo: John Cole

Hastings backed a winner!

The word is that this year’s Hastings  International Piano Concerto Competition surpassed the Leeds International Piano Competition in the quality of the entrants – (Leeds is usually regarded as the ‘brand leader’ in the UK). This must be largely due to the brilliant young winner of this year’s Hastings competition who will be returning to Hastings only in July to perform a special summer recital in the grounds of Fairlight Hall, writes HOT’s Chris Cormack.

Taek at the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition photo: John Cole

The Hastings Observer said winner Taek Gi Lee ‘mesmerised the judges’ and Lark Reviews wrote that  he was clearly a name to watch for in the future, as were the other two main  competitors, each of whom gave remarkable and highly enjoyable performances.

A 17-year-old from South Korea currently studying at the Juilliard school of music pre-college division (young talented program) in New York, Taek Gi Lee won this year’s Hastings competition with a stunning and beautifully judged final performance of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Taek said he was so nervous with this concerto, known as one of the most difficult concertos, that he just prayed to God every moment, even during the performance!

Taek Gi Lee photo: John Cole

The performance made a huge impression on the judges, among their number Dame Fanny Waterman, the legendary founder of the renowned Leeds International Piano Competition.

“We felt that, if all goes well, we were listening to someone who is going to become one of the world’s leading pianists,” said Professor Frank Wibaut, Artistic Director of the competition and Chairman of the Jury. He is an amazing young artist. This is currently the only confirmed chance to hear him play in the UK this year and it is an opportunity which should not be missed.”

The summer recital will take place on Saturday  5 July in the Recital Room and Courtyard of Fairlight Hall. Guests will be invited to picnic in the elegant grounds from 3pm: there will be a variety of stalls and a drinks tent serving Pimms and wine.

The concert will start at 5pm. Taek Gi Lee’s programme will be:

J. S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue Book. 1 No. 22 BWV 867 in b-flat minor
J. Haydn: Piano Sonata No. 46 Hob. XVI/31 in E Major
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 7 Op. 83 in B-flat Major
S. Rachmaninoff: Variations on a Theme of Corelli Op. 42
F. Schubert: Impromptu Op. 90 No. 3
Lowell Liebermann: “Gargoyles” Op. 29

The Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition is involved in promoting a number of other events this year: 2012 winner Eugenio Catone from Italy will give a lunchtime concert at the Alfriston Music Festival in Alfriston, East Sussex, on 25 July – 2013 winner, Tae Hyung Kim from South Korea, will play Beethoven’s Emperor concerto with the Maidstone Symphony Orchestra at the Mote Hall, Maidstone, at 7.30pm on 11 October.

Former winners Miwako Miki (2010, Japan) and Eugenio Catone (2012, Italy) have been invited to give a joint recital in the Recital Room at Fairlight Hall on Sunday 2 November at 3pm. To round off the year, former winner Miwako Miki (2010, Japan) will be giving a concert with the Finchley Chamber Orchestra on 22 November.

Summer recital – Grounds open for picnics from 3pm, performance 5pm, 5 July at Fairlight Hall, Martineau Lane, Hastings TN35 5DR. Tickets will cost £15 and are available online and from the Hastings Tourist Information Centre at Aquila House Tel: 01424 451111.

All photos copyright John Cole

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Posted 15:56 Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 In: Music & Sound

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