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We asked for details a bit late, but wanted our readers to know that WCLV, 104.9 FM, will be re-broadcasting the concerto performances of the Final Four this week on the station’s Big Work at One series. Here’s the schedule:

Tuesday, August 11 at 1 pm: fourth-place winner Evgeny Brakhman in Rachmaninoff’s third concerto.

Wednesday, August 12 at 1 pm: third-place winner William Youn in Brahms’ first concerto.

Thursday, August 13 at 1 pm: second place winner Dmitri Levkovich in Rachmaninoff’s second concerto.

Friday, August 14 at 1 pm: first-place winner Martina Filjak in Rachmaninoff’s second concerto.

Any remaining time before two p.m. each day will feature Martina Filjak in solo performances from earlier rounds of the competition.


SH2903Inevitable comparisons: in a competition, you want to listen to every performance as if you’re hearing both the piece and the performer for the first time, but with two versions of Rachmaninoff’s second concerto scheduled on two adjacent nights, what’s a listener to do but think about each of them in relation to the other. Both are still ringing in the ears.

Croatian pianist Martina Filjak made an immediate impression with her carefully wrought crescendo and intensifying coloration of the famous opening chords and bass punctuation that begin Rach 2. Same conductor, same orchestra, but when the other hundred or so musicians on the stage joined Filjak in her musical odessey through this engaging score, it was clear that the soloist was seeing it through a different lens.

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The winners of the 2009 Cleveland International Piano Competition:

Fourth Prize – Evgeny Brakhman

Third Prize – William Youn

Second Prize – Dmitri Levkovich

First Prize – Martina Filjak

Other prizes will be announced at the ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

UPDATED 8/9/09

Junior Jury Prize –  Martina Filjak

Audience Prize – Dmitri Levkovich

Baroque Prize – Hoang Pham

Beethoven Prize – Martina Filjak

Cairns Family American Prize – Sean Chen

Chopin Prize – Soo Yeon Ham

Contemporary Prizes – Evgeny Brakhman and Martina Filjak

Mozart Prize – Evgeny Brakhman


It’s a dream come true for Rachmaninoff fans: three concertos (well, two different ones) performed on two adjacent evenings at Severance Hall — followed by a Brahms chaser.

Dmitri Levkovich (30, Canada) and Evgeny Brakhman (28, Russia) both speak Russian not only linguistically but musically. The first round of the CIPC Finals gave these fine young pianists the opportunity to show off their interpretive skills in collaboration with Jahja Ling and the Cleveland Orchestra.

In the orchestral hierarchy, concertos don’t get much rehearsal time compared to symphonic works. In this case, there was even less time to be had: each of the two soloists spent about an hour with the orchestra earlier in the day, after a seance with Maestro Ling on Thursday to talk things through. Every detail can’t have been worked out under those circumstances, but there are hundreds of recordings in circulation that have nothing on what we heard from these two pianists, who were obviously pumped for the occasion. It was quite an evening.

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Evgeny Brakhman and Dmitri Levkovich

Evgeny Brakhman and Dmitri Levkovich - photo Sam Hubish

Yesterday CPIC kindly made the four finalists available for a photo op and interviews. We conversed in pairs to get to know the off-stage personalities of these gifted pianists. You will find Dan Hathaway’s interview with tonight’s finalists, Dmitri Levkovich and Evgeny Brakhman, on, here.

Tuesday afternoon with Levkovich and Brakhman was a guy’s session featuring two very fine, comparable performances. Tuesday evening was the women’s turn, but what a contrast between the equally excellent pianists Pallavi Mahidhara (USA/India) and Martina Filjak (Croatia).

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The field is getting smaller, the audiences are getting larger and the performances are getting longer this week at the Bolton Theatre as we move into the four semi-final rounds.

In this leg of the competition, the requirements become simpler, with only two imperatives. Competitors must include a work or group of works by a French impressionist composer and a Romantic composer, then they can choose to play any other work of their choice. The French requirement is a vestige of CIPC’s ancestor, the Casadesus Competition, and it brings an entirely new challenge into play.

As the original order of the draw is being preserved in the Semi-finals, Dmitri Levkovich of Canada and Evgeny Brakhman of Russia were the featured acts on Tuesday afternoon. Each player crammed as much music as possible into his 55-60 minute allotment.

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The pause between rounds today gives us a moment to reflect on a week of extraordinary talent, and speculate on the excitement to come.

After the 8 semi-finalists were announced last night, was surprised to be mostly in accord with the jury’s choices. We’re taken with Dmitri Levkovich, fresh off the heels of winning the Iturbi (Los Angeles), he’s pumped for a second win this year in a major competition. Four of the eight semi-finalists came from group 3–no surprise there. This group was a happy coincidence of the draw for listeners, a real treat! We’ll admit surprise that Japanese contestant Kyoko Soejima did not advance, and that Korean William Youn did, though we’re eager to hear him perform (and prove us wrong) in the next round.

Share your thoughts: Surprises? Disappointments? Who’s moved you so far? What will you be listening for this week? Do tell, let’s use this thread for discussion.

UPDATED Here’s a little more food for thought… Daniel Hathaway’s round up of CIPC Rounds 1 & 2 on

cipcTuesday, August 4

Session 1
1:00 pm – Dmitri Levkovich

Haydn: Sonata in C Major, Hob. XVI: 48
Debussy: Pour le piano
Rachmaninoff:  Preludes, Op. 32, (Nos. 4, 13, 5); Sonata No. 2 in B flat Minor, Op. 36 (with elements from 1913 and 1931)
2:15 pm – Evgeny Brakhman
Messiaen: Cloches d’angoisse et larmes d’adieu (Préludes, No. 6) lle de feu I (Quatre études de rythme, No. 1)
Debussy: Pour les arpèges composés (Douze études, Book II: 11) L’Isle joyeuse
Rachmaninoff: Études-tableaux, Op. 33, Nos. 8, 2, 3; Op. 39, Nos. 1, 2, 9; Sonata No. 2 in B flat Minor, Op. 36 (1931)

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Tonight, following the conclusion of Round 2, the CIPC jury will vote, selecting 8 contestants to advance to the semi-final round. The announcement is expected around 11:00 pm Eastern. Check back later for the decision and the semi-final round schedule.

UPDATED The Semi-Finalists in performance order:

Dmitri Levkovich
Evgeny Brakhman
Pallavi Mahidhara
Martina Filjak
Yunqing Zhou
Kuok-Wai Lio
William Youn
Soo-Yeon Ham

Suppose you have something around half an hour’s time to show yourself off to an audience and jury in the best possible light. Perhaps you really have only five minutes to grab people’s attention at the beginning, then you can spend the rest of your allotment making good on that first impression. How would you organize your time?

So far, there’s been a clear demarcation between contestants who strategically managed their slots (mostly the older pianists) and those who just seemed to be filling the requirements with no particular plan. The first group treated the opportunity as though it were actually a mini-recital; the second as though they were playing for a jury in a conservatory.

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cipcFriday, July 31

1:00 pm –  Anna Shelest (USA): Bach’s  Prelude and Fugue in E flat Minor, WTC I: 8, Chopin’s Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58. 1:40 pm – Hoang Pham (Australia): Beethoven’s  Sonata in E flat Major, Op. 7, Chopin’s Etude in G flat Major, Op. 10, No. 5 (Black Key), Adès,  Darknesse Visible (1992). 2:20 pm – Olga Kozlova (Russia): Schumann’s Fantasie in C Major, Op. 17, Ligeti’s Etude No. 13 (L’escalier du diable). 3:15 pm – Jae Weon Huh (Korea): Scarlatti’s Sonata in F Major, K. 17, Schumann’s Kreisleriana, Op. 16. 3:55 pm– Yekwon Sunwoo (Korea): Ligeti’s Etude No. 10, (Der Zauberlehrling), Brahms’s  Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 5. 4:35 pm – Kyoko Soejima  (Japan): Bach’s Partita No. 5 in G Major, BWV 829, Vine’s   Sonata No. 1 (1990).

7:00 pm – Dmitri Levkovich (Canada): Chopin’s Barcarolle in F sharp Major, Op. 60 Scherzo No. 2 in B flat Minor, Op. 31, Vine’s Sonata No. 1 (1990). 7:40 pm – István Lajkó (Hungary): Ligeti’s Musica Ricercata, Nos. 1-3, 7-10 Etude No. 10, (Der Zauberlehrling) Chopin’s  Fantasy in F Minor, Op. 49 Waltz in A flat Major, Op. 42. 8:20 pm – Maria Masycheva (Russia): Haydn’s Sonata in E Major, Hob. XVI: 31, Brahms’s Seven Fantasies, Op. 116. 9:15 pm – Sean Chen (USA): Schumann’s Kreisleriana, Op. 16, Carter’s Caténaires (2006). 9:55 pm – Chun Wang (China): Schumann’s Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17, Messiaen’s Le loriot (Catalogue d’oiseaux, Book I: 2).

Tuesday night’s draw, though determined by lottery, defied randomness and produced an interesting lineup of pianists beginning with one of the two oldest contestants, Dmitri Levkovich (30, Canada), then proceeding down the age ladder (27, 26, 20) to one of the youngest, Chun Wang (19, China). These five are people to keep an eye on during the second round, and each for different reasons.

Levkovich was a semi-finalist in Cleveland’s 2007 contest and he proceeded to completely own his 30 minute slot last night. You could tell that he was both a veteran and a candidate who was dedicated to winning this time around. Every moment of his Scarlatti (Sonatas K. 45 & 17), Beethoven (Sonata in d, op. 31, no. 2) and Chopin (‘Black Key’ Etude in G-flat, op. 10, no. 5) was planned and controlled to the last detail. Impressive.

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When thirteen is your lucky number. Evgeny Brakhman (Russia) gets to put off his first round performance until Wednesday afternoon. Behind (L-R) WCLV's president, Robert Conrad, CIPC board president Rand Curtiss, jury chairman Peter Frankl and CIM president Joel Smirnoff. Photo: Sam Hubish

CIPC executive director Karen Knowlton looked relieved a few minutes after five o’clock on Monday when thirty-two of the thirty-three contestants were neatly arranged on chairs on the Mixon Hall stage at CIM, ready to draw for their slots in the competition schedule.

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