Thursday, 26 February 2009

Piano Competition Update

Young 18-year-old Singaporean pianist Shaun Choo (left), a student of the Salzburger Mozarteum, has been selected to take part in the AXA Dublin International Piano Competition to be held from 1 to 15 May 2009. 45 pianists will slug it out in four rounds of piano performances, which include a set piece by an Irish composer and a concerto competition finale.

I will never forget Shaun’s performance of the Bach-Busoni Chaconne at the quarter-final stage of the 2007 National Piano & Violin Competition, where he appeared with poise and assurance of someone double his age. His DVD of Chopin’s 24 Préludes Op.28, recorded when he was 16, is simply stunning.

As prodigious teenagers go, his biggest rival will be 18-year-old Rachel Cheung (left) from Hong Kong, already a veteran in piano competitions. She won 1st prize at the 2004 Gina Bachauer International Junior Competition, and recently placed 2nd at the 2008 Casagrande Piano Competition. Not to be underestimated is 18-year-old Jong Hai Park of Korea, who was 2nd at the 2008 Hong Kong International Piano Competition.

At the other end of the age spectrum for competitors, 29-year-old Mei Yi Foo (left) of Malaysia has been selected as one of 24 pianists for the 7th London International Piano Competition (18-28 April 2009). This is probably her last shot at fame in the competition circuit. She was 4th in the 2005 Hong Kong International Piano Competition, and 2nd at the 2008 Maria Callas International Piano Competition (Greece).

Her fellow competitors include Jin Sang Lee (Korea), the most recent winner of the 2008 Hong Kong International Piano Competition, Tatiana Kolesova (Russia) and Ran Dank (Israel), who placed 2nd and 3rd respectively at the 2008 Sydney International Piano Competition.

At the Minnesota International Piano-e-Competition (29 June – 10 July 2009), Helene Tysman (France, 5th at Hong Kong 2008) and Eric Zuber (USA, 6th at Sydney 2008) will be featuring as is our Russian friend Eduard Kunz (left). This time, however, he goes by the name Eduard Kunts.

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