Thursday, 24 July 2008

The Unofficial SIPCA Prizes 2008

SIPCA is unusually generous in awarding special prizes to its contestants. A winner can easily walk home with over $50,000 of prize money, especially if you’re a young Australian winner whose has played marvellously. So go for it, Hoang Pham!
With this post, my coverage of SIPCA 2008 ends, having elected only to attend the first three stages. A sort of musicus interruptus, but my daytime job and family obligations has to take priority here. Anyway, its been a privilege to have been present at SIPCA 2008, one of the great piano competitions of this planet, even if it was for only a week.
And so to my personal list of unofficial prizes (based on performances from Stages I-III):

Most interesting recital programme: Feng Zhang (Stage II)
Whoever thought of programming Schubert-Godowsky, Alkan and Debussy?

Most inspired programming:
Adam Herd (Stage II)
Liadov Prelude, Debussy Les collines d’Anacapri & Liszt Ballade No.2
All in the keys of B major or B minor, his 20 minutes resounded brilliantly.
Miyeon Lee (Stage II)
Debussy’s Canope followed by Messiaen created an almost seamless sound palette.
Hoang Pham (Stage III)
Andrew Ford’s Thin Air and Bartok’s Out of Doors are sonic and spiritual buddies.

Best performance of Ford’s Thin Air: Pham Hoang

Best performance of Roger Smalley’s Morceau de concours: Ran Dank

Best performance of an Australian piece: Jose Menor in Carl Vine’s Sonata No.1

Most often played virtuoso study: Chopin Op.10 No.1 in C major

Most often played Debussy prelude: Ondine (6 times)

Most memorable performances of Stage I:
Hao Zhu in Turina’s Danzas fantasticas
Alexei Yemtsov in Ravel’s Ondine
Tomoki Kitamura in Schubert’s Moment Musical No.2 & Scriabin’s Sonata No.2
Takashi Sato in Bach-Busoni Chaconne
Ran Dank in Scriabin’s Sonata No.9

Most memorable performances in Stage II:
Feng Zhang
in Alkan’s Le festin d’Esope
Hoang Pham in Schulz-Evler’s Arabesques on the Beautiful Blue Danube
Balasz Fulei in Bartok’s Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs
Fernando Altamura in Prokofiev’s Sarcasms
Mariangelo Vacatello in Busoni’s Ten Variations on a Prelude by Chopin
Konstantin Shamray in Taneyev’s Prelude & Fugue in G sharp minor
Daniil Tsvetkov in Messiaen’s Regard de l’esprit de joie
Ran Dank in Boulez’s Douze Notations

Most memorable performances in Stage III:
Tomoki Kitamura in Liszt’s Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen Prelude
Jose Menor in Vine’s Sonata No.1
Takashi Sato in Clementi’s Sonata in G and Bartok’s Sonata
Konstantin Shamray in Schumann’s Fantasiestuck Op.111 No.2
Ran Dank in Rachmaninov’s Sonata No.2

Best “encores”:
Takashi Sato in Poulenc’s Presto (Stage I)
Tatiana Kolesova in Kapustin’s Intermezzo (Stage III)
Takashi Sato in Couperin’s Les roseaux (Stage III) - although performed as the first piece in his programme
Eric Zuber in Tchaikovsky-Pletnev Andante maestoso, Nutcracker Suite (Stage III)

Best surprise repertoire:
Charlie Albright in Menotti’s Ricercare & Toccata (Stage I)
Sergei Saratovsky in McIntyre’s Butterflies and Bobcats (Stage II)
Ryan McEvoy McCullough in Magin’s Preludes (Stage II)

Most Improved Performance (after Stage I): Miya Kazaoka

Worst Performance: Those imbeciles in the audience who forgot to turn off their handphones. A sure sign of fast-setting dementia.
For those who do not want to be scandalised, please DO NOT READ ON!


“Sofitel Wentworth Lounge Pianist” Award: Tatiana Kolesova
For her classy Kapustin.

Stingiest pianist: Xun Wang
Barely played 30 minutes over the first two stages, before being eliminated.

Musicus interruptus & Sheherazade Award: Charlie Albright
For enticing his audience with ravishing pianism, then stopping, to be continued two days later. Naughty, naughty, naughty…

“Yippee, more studies!” Award: Charlie Albright

“Far too many transcriptions” Award: Sean Chen (Stage III)

“The last becomes first” Award: Adam Herd
Was originally in 35th pianist to perform, but had to play in slot No.1 instead

“The missing Pianist No.36” Award: Eduard Kunz
Unfortunately still stuck in London with passport problems.

“Cristiano Ronaldo Latino Heartthrob” Award: Manuel Araujo

“Best shades since Andrei Gavrilov” Award: Daniil Tsvetkov

“Looks most like a Beatle” Award: Ryan McEvoy McCullough

Longest Hair Award: Tatiana Kolesova

Flashiest Evening Gown Award: Tie between Aiko Yajima & Yoonsoo Rhee

Miss Modesty Award: Yoonsoo Rhee
For covering her cleavage even when she has none.

“Chu Fang Huang Best Cleavage” Award: Mariangela Vacatello

“Lang Lang Facial Grimaces” Award: Chun Chieh Yen

“Looks most like a character from manga” Award: Miya Kazaoka

“Looks most like a character from Bram Stoker’s Dracula” Award:
Tie between Balasz Fulei and Daniil Tsvetkov

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Award: Chun Chieh Yen
So beautiful in Debussy’s Bruyeres, yet so awful in Mozart, Chopin and Albeniz.

Less Than Divine Award: Christopher Devine

“If you want a career, please change your name” Award: Xixi Zhou
Zuber Zhou sounds so much better.

As you can see, EVERYBODY'S A WINNER in SIPCA!
Till my next post, adieu!


Lady Blogger said...

Oh, brilliant. You made my day!

However, I find it difficult to understand why everyone liked Jose Menor's Vine so much. I found it sloppy, dull and devoid of impact.

Ryan MacEvoy McCullough said...

hahaha, at least you didn't compare me to Harry Potter...

Chang Tou Liang said...

Ha ha, good thing I'm already back in Singapore, so I'm sort of safe from the people I've insulted!

To be totally honest, this would be the first time I've heard the Vine Sonata "live" in concert (though I've heard it many times in recordings), and it is quite an experience for me. I met Menor by accident just before I left Sydney and gave him my wishes, and he admitted that the Vine wasn't at his best (and pity about the Chopin). So Lady Blogger is probably spot on! The good thing is that that performance is available on the ABC Classic FM website, and I shall hear it with a score the next time.

RMM, you were was one of my top 20 picks. Magin was such an unusual choice that its probably stumped the jury which usually prefers something more conventional. I don't think they had the scores in front of time either. Anyway, all the best with your studies with John Perry, and continue to make good music! (Funny, I hadn't thought of Harry Potter at all - after he's still supposed to be a kid!)

vananh.piano said...

hahaha, i loved your awards!!! so amusing! :)

jill bear said...

I've just come to your blog after reading the booklet for the Solo Highlights CDs. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts during what was a very hectic time. I attended the whole competition, and reading this has reminded me of many of the magical moments I experienced during those early stages. It took a long time to come down from the 'high' of those days, and the Melbourne recitals by Tatiana and Konstantin, not to mention the Solo Highlights CDs have helped to keep the memory alive. Can't wait till 2012. Perhaps I'll see you there.