Looking Ahead

moyeNew Year and New Format: The 59th Cincinnati World Piano Competition

Moye Chen, 2014 Gold Medalist

It was my great honor to be named the Gold Medalist of the 58th Cincinnati World Piano Competition. I greatly enjoyed the competition last June, and particularly enjoyed performing with the world-famous Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. I am very grateful to the CWPC for providing such fantastic opportunities for young pianists.

I am sure that the 59th competition, a prestigious five-round competition with a new format, will attract many wonderful pianists. The bracket-type structure is exciting. We will again have the opportunity to listen to American contemporary piano music, which in my opinion is one of the most interesting elements of the CWPC. In the 58th Edition, I played works by John Corigliano and David Rakowski. Also, after hearing Tobias Picker’s Four Etudes for Ursula, I became interested in Picker’s music and have decided to perform and write about his piano compositions for my doctoral project. In next year’s competition, I am looking forward to hearing two wonderful masterpieces: Fantasia on an Ostinato by John Corigliano and Tenebrae by Michael Hersch.

The 59th Cincinnati World Piano Competition will definitely be exciting, I hope that you will be a part of the excitement.

Thankful

A note from 2014 semifinalist Sung-Soo Cho

choI am thankful for all of the people who came together for the World Piano Competition last June. I have such nice memories of the people and city – it’s always nice to meet such an appreciative audience. I was also so grateful to receive the special prize for Best American Contemporary Performance.

I took a bit of a rest in Korea after the World Piano Competition, and I am now heading to Switzerland for the Geneva International Music Competition. It is stressful to prepare for and participate in several competitions within a year, but I am excited and thankful for the opportunity to meet new people and explore Europe!

Career Launch

Spencer Myerby: Kathleen Doane

This is a re-blog of an article that appeared in the 2014 Cincinnati World Piano Competition Program.

Getting ready for a competition takes a lot of playing and planning. Spencer Myer, the 2005 World Piano Competition silver medalist, understands the pressures of competition. Before his last competitive appearance at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition he participated in at least 20. “For six years, I did about three to four a year,” says the veteran competitor turned-pro who now averages 40 concerts and recitals a year. The trick is managing the inevitable stress that is a huge part of competing.

For Myer, that meant, not only knowing his repertoire thoroughly but also plotting a quick recovery if he made a mistake or suffered a memory lapse onstage. It was a multi-step strategy that took lots of preparation during the two to three months leading up to a competition.

“In general, people choose pieces they know and are very comfortable playing,” Myer says. “I made it a point to include at least one work I’d never played before in every competition. I didn’t want to be rehashing the same pieces every time, and I was also trying to embark on a professional career so I wanted to expand my repertoire.”

In theory, every participant prepares several recitals, a different program for each round. “It is a much greater amount of repertoire than you would ever play in such a short period of time if you were a professional, but it certainly is good for learning to practice efficiently in order to get yourself to that topnotch level,” Myer says.

A month before a competition, Myer’s practice sessions would intensify, making sure that every day he played at least half of the works that he had chosen for each round. “It gave me peace of mind, knowing that if I made it past the first round, I was just as prepared to go on.” This period of time also included playing for others, drafting friends to simulate the added pressure of an audience and jury.

A few days before the competition Myer shifted his focus to the first round, doing “major, major detail work and playing as close to perfection as I could.” It was during this part of the process that he would create different “mistake scenarios” and work out how to move on if they occurred. “It was a different way to exercise my brain, because I never wanted to play on autopilot,” he explains.

The last few days also involved work away from the piano, studying the score and embedding enough visual cues in his brain that he could actually picture the music in front of him if needed. And then, day one of competition: “If I didn’t play until the afternoon or evening, I would always sleep late,” he says. Eating usually was limited to a high protein/low carb meal of chicken and vegetables an hour or two before performing and a power nap if time allowed. Playing his entire first round repertoire was a priority. “I always felt the best and most solid if I had been playing right up until the moment I walked onstage,” Myer says.

One thing Myer didn’t depend on was luck. “No, I didn’t have a lucky shirt or shoes I always wore,” he says, laughing. “There was nothing I ever carried in my pocket for luck, either.”

A year before Myer competed for the last time he was the gold medalist in the New Orleans International Piano Competition. So, what does it feel like to take the top prize? “I can tell you it feels like a million bucks,” Myer says, clearly delighted by the memory. “To be acknowledged by a group of elders who have been in the business and heard so many great people play is just incredible.”

Scavenger Hunt

We’ve prepared a short scavenger hunt around cincinnatiwpc.org to help you get to know the site! Answer these three questions for a chance to win a CD by one of the past Cincinnati World Piano Competition jury members!

1. Who is the Volunteer Coordinator?

2. Name a 1979 medalist.

3. Who is playing at an event on November 5, 2014?

Submit your answers in a comment or to wpc@cincinnatiwpc.org today!

Inspiring Performances at Carnegie

A note from Mark W. Ernster, Chief Executive Officer
On Saturday, October 4th, the Cincinnati World Piano Competition presented 29 talented young musicians in their Carnegie Hall debuts.
These young people were medalists in the 2013 Young Artist Division competition held in Cincinnati, and this recital was the big payoff for a lot of hard work. On the stage, their continued growth was apparent and impressive – it was a rainy day in New York City, but the music making truly brightened the day.
2014 Artist Division finalist Reed Tetzloff was in attendance, as were fans of the Cincinnati World Piano Competition from as far away as Denver! The gentleman from Colorado that I spoke with was so excited to share that seeing so many talented pianists in one performance in such a famous hall was on his bucket list. Weill, one of the most storied halls in all of New York, was buzzing with excitement as player after player stepped on stage, gave a big smile, and played honestly and with energy.
Events like these remind me of why the Cincinnati World Piano Competition is not only important for our community, but important for young people across the United States. These young people are role models, and they are going out into the world spreading the good word of the Cincinnati WPC.

Weill… was buzzing with excitement

It was an inspiring day to be sure, and I want you to be a part of these events as the Cincinnati World Piano Competition becomes a big part of even more young people’s lives. To find out more about how you can support the Cincinnati WPC’s community and educational efforts, please visit cincinnatiwpc.org today.
- Mark W. Ernster, Executive Director

CCM Presents a Joint Recital by Faculty Artists and Naumburg Gold Medalists Soyeon Kate Lee and Awadagin Pratt on Oct. 11

Originally posted on THE VILLAGE NEWS BLOG:

CCM faculty artists Soyeon Kate Lee and Awadagin Pratt. Photo by Andrew Higley.

CCM faculty artists Soyeon Kate Lee and Awadagin Pratt. Photo by Andrew Higley.

CCM proudly presents a one-of-a-kind joint piano recital featuring faculty artists and Naumburg International Piano Competition Gold Medalists Soyeon Kate Lee and Awadagin Pratt at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11. The performance will also serve as the CCM debut for Lee, who joined the faculty in August as an Assistant Professor of Music in Piano.

In existence since 1926, the Naumburg Competition is one of the most distinguished competitions in the world. Lee took first prize in 2010. Pratt, an Artist-in-Residence, Professor of Piano and Chair of the Department of Piano at CCM, took the first prize in 1992.

CCM’s Naumburg Gold Medalists Piano Recital will provide a rare chance for piano lovers to hear two Naumburg Gold Medalists perform together in the stunning Robert J. Werner Recital Hall. Lee and Pratt will present a…

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Undeniably, Unforgettably Moved by Music

Guest blog post by Reed Tetzloff

2013 Artist Division Semifinalist
2014 Artist Division Finalist

The French writer Léon Bloy once said, “Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering, in order that they may have existence.”  During my adolescence, a symphonic masterpiece which moves from deep suffering to glorious redemption engendered one of those places in my heart.

We’ve all played Beethoven’s Ode to Joy – on the recorder in third grade – and I even witnessed a lady humming it as she left the polling place one Election Day, with made-up lyrics that clearly hinted at her candidate.  In preparing to write this blog entry, I was asked to think of some of my earliest memories of concert-going, but I could barely think past the frigid February evening in 2006 when I heard the Minnesota Orchestra play the real thing, the great Ninth Symphony.  I was already fourteen, and had been playing the piano for almost ten years, but it was the first time I was undeniably, unforgettably moved by music.  It’s as if that experience divided my musical memory bank in half: before the 9th and after.

it was the first time I was undeniably, unforgettably moved by music.

I sat in the third row, right behind Minnesota’s beloved conductor, Osmo Vanska, who led a performance both crisp and immense.  I was stunned by the sweeping first movement, the high-voltage Scherzo, an Adagio like the embrace of God, and, of course, the famous choral finale which breaks free of the world.  From that night on, I have tried to somehow chase after that experience in my own studies and the way I approach music.  The goal is elusive, perhaps never completely attainable, but the pursuit of it is forever rewarding.

About Reed

Reed Tetzloff made his Lincoln Center debut at Alice Tully Hall in 2011 and has been presented at the Kaufman Center’s Merkin Concert Hall in a solo recital debut in 2012. Past orchestral engagements include performances with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, Mississippi Valley Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra. He has given solo recitals in the United States, as well as at both the China Conservatory of Music and Peking University in Beijing.

Mr. Tetzloff has taken first prize in the Beijing International Music Festival and Academy Concerto Competition, the American Protégé and Bradshaw and Buono Competitions, as well as and the silver medal in the Schimmel International Competition. He has appeared on NPR’s From the Top, and has had performances aired on Minnesota Public Radio and WQXR New York.