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By Daniel Hathaway
Cleveland, OH — August 1, 2011
The jury has selected eight pianists to advance to the Semi-final round of the Cleveland International Piano Competition. The following names were read from the stage of the Bolton Theater at the Cleveland Play House tonight at 10:45 pm by jury chairman Peter Frankl, following the sixth session of the second round. Each will play one hour recitals during the afternoon and evening sessions on August 2 and 3, and four finalists will play concertos with The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall on August 5 and 6.
Tuesday, August 2 at 1pm*
Ms. Kyu Yeon Kim (25, Korea)
Mr. Yunjie Chen (30, China)
Tuesday, August 2 at 7 pm
Mr. Jae-Weon Huh (24, Korea)
Ms. EunAe Lee (23, Korea)
Wednesday, August 3 at 1pm*
Mr. Eric Zuber (26, USA)
Mr. Alexey Chernov (28, Russia)
Wednesday, August 3 at 7 pm
Mr. Alexander Schimpf (29, Germany)
Mr. Mateusz Borowiak (23, UK/Poland)
* please note the corrected start time.
by Daniel Hathaway
Cleveland, OH — July 31, 2011
Second impressions lifted a few of this afternoon’s contestants higher — in our humble opinion.
Mr. Scipione Sangiovanni (23, Italy) began with a big Schumann piece, the Fantasie in C, op. 17, then tossed off a Chopin Etude (A-flat, op. 10, no. 10) for dessert. His thoughtful reading of the Schumann brought out the essential, brooding moodinesss of the score. He accomplished fine transitions and made good dynamic and color changes in the first movement. His grand approach to the second paid off; sometimes the musical line became attenuated, but he brought this section to a conclusion with flair. In the rhapsodic third movement, he applied poetic voicing to his graceful rendition of Schumann’s beautiful and solemn melodies. The audience wanted to applaud at the end of no. 2 (and did), but Mr. Sangiovanni’s body language shied them away from expressing their appreciation at the end. His brief Chopin add-on was nicely spirited: he swept across the keyboard with appropriate grandeur. Read the rest of this entry »
by Daniel Hathaway
Cleveland, OH — July 28, 2011
Mr. Scipione Sangiovanni (23, Italy) was by far the most idiomatic player we’ve heard so far. He began with a stylized performance of Handel’s Suite in d featuring extravagantly decorated repeats, extremely staccato bass lines and rather capricious dynamics changes that sometimes seemed at odds with the structure of the piece. The famous Chaconne was less a continuous set of divisions than a chain of isolated variations (the last ended so abruptly that the audience missed its cue to applaud). But he brought beautiful colors, clear articulations and fine finger dexterity to the task, even if the overall interpretation was a bit off the beaten path. His second piece, Croatian composer Ivo Josipovic’s Jubulus (2010), sounded like a mashup of borrowed musical references and styles with stock piano effects (black note glissandi, chord clusters and sheer noise) interleaved with toccatalike gestures, a triumphant chordal paean and even a passage that suggested balalaikas. Mr. Sangiovanni went at the piece with power, enthusiasm and great seriousness of purpose. He topped off his set with Haydn’s Sonata in E-flat, Hob. XVI:52, a performance distinguished by dark colors, fluent runs and a good sense of the whole range of dynamic possibilities. Some of his playing here was mannered, with oddly calculated phrasing and unmetrical pauses. Read the rest of this entry »