It has always been a habit of mine to leaf through the pages of the souvenir booklets of any music competition, to see who is participating as well as to ponder on the sort of repertoire offered. Often interesting choices of works crop up, but in this year, several players themselves were a source of interest, especially their names.
Imagine the surprise when I saw the name of Li Yundi pop up in the Piano Intermediate Category. This is indeed a famous name, that of the Chopin International Piano Competition 1st Prizewinner of 2000 turned Tchaikovsky Thrasher of 2009. From reliable sources, this Yundi turned out to be a girl. Hopefully she is a better pianist.
Now I was looking out for a Lang Lang, but found a Mei Fei Fei instead. Does she (this has to be a girl's name) come from from China as well? Considering that Dong Fei Fei was a finalist in the 2013 Van Cliburn Piano Competition, this is going to be a good name for pianists. By the way, I've actually seen recordings by pianists Niu Niu and Dong Dong, and met a pianist called Fang Fang.
Indonesians, I've heard, like to go by a single name like the Brazilians do, such as Pélé, Zico, Kaka, Romaria, Ronaldo, Junior and Eder. So here are two Indonesian pianists who like to be known by their only names, Wilson and Josephine. I heard Josephine play in the semi-finals and she is very musical.
Some Indonesians like to go by two names, both of which are first names. So here is Sandy Amanda, a student of NAFA who was also a semi-finalist. Other examples I've encountered include Andrew Alexander, a young pianist who also sings, and my all-time favourite Indonesian pianist name, Randy Ryan.
Finally, what are the odds that the father of Solskjaer Alesi Thio is not a Manchester United fan? Does he have brothers named Ferguson, Sheringham, Beckham, Roy, Keane, Ruud, Jaap, Cristiano or Ronaldo? The last notable pianist in Singapore named after a football star is probably Keegan Ng Zhi Wei.
If I come back reincarnated as an ahem... real pianist, perhaps I should go by the name Liang Liang.