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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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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

IMG_7459-2As they did on Wednesday afternoon, the performers in group number 3 treated us to a special afternoon of music making.

Esther Park (USA) opened the session with a lovely set of Scarlatti sonatas K 531, K 322, and K 203, performing all three with grace, and poise. It was too bad that her performances of the Chopin Etude in C Op. 10 #3 and the Brahms Variations on a Theme of Paganini did not fare nearly as well. Ms. Parks possesses outstanding technique, however too many missed notes crept into the Chopin, and while the Brahms had many lovely moments, during some of the louder, faster variations she had a tendency to apply too much pedal, causing a blurring of the sound.

As in round one, Evgeny Brakhman (Russia) sounded and looked as though he wanted to do nothing more than play the piano. He was in total control in the Brahms Seven Fantasies Op 116, often building phrases over long periods, as well as bringing a full color palette to the performance. In Kopelmann’s  ‘Everything is foreseen and free will is given’ we saw another side of him as a performer. During the first round, Mr. Brakhmann enthralled us with his magical playing of a Mozart sonata, but he is equally at home performing a
piece that emphasizes the percussive qualities of the piano.

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cipcSaturday, August 1

1:00 pm – Esther Park (USA): Scarlatti’s  Sonatas: K. 531 in E Major, K. 322 in A Major, K. 203 in E Minor, Chopin’s  Etude in C Major, Op. 10, No. 1, Brahms’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 35. 1:40 pm – Evgeny Brakhman (Russia): Kopelman’s “Everything Is Foreseen And Free Will Is Given” 2007, Brahms’s Seven Fantasies, Op. 116. 2:20 pm – Pallavi Mahidhara (USA/India): Beethoven’s Sonata in C Major, Op. 53 (Waldstein), Walker’s Sonata No. 2.  3:15 pm – Zhang Zuo (China): Bach ‘s Partita No. 1 in B flat Major, BWV 825, Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13. 3:55 pm – Martina Filjak (Croatia): Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C sharp Major, WTC II,3, Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 35, Book II, Bartok’s Out of Doors. 4:35 pm – Yunqing Zhou (China): Beethoven’s Sonata in A flat Major, Op. 110, Kapustin’s Eight Concert Etudes, Op. 40, Nos.1,4,6,7,3.

7:00 pm – Anzhelika Fuks (Ukraine): Chopin’s Etude in E Major, Op. 10, No. 3, Chopin’s Etude in B Minor, Op. 25, No. 10, Chopin-Liszt. Six chants polonaise, Op. 74 No. 1, 2, 6,Chopin’s Nocturne in C Minor, Op. 48, No. 1, Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23. 7:40 pm – Gerhard Vielhaber (Germany): Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B flat Major, BWV 825, Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Op. 12: No. 1-3, 5, Kalabis’s Akzente, Op. 26 (1967): No. 4, 8. 8:20 pm – Michael Brown (USA): Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6. 9:15 – Kwan Yi (USA): Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in G Minor, WTC I: 2, Dutilleux’s Le jeu des contraires (Trois Préludes, No. 3), Chopin’s Ballade No. 3 in A flat Major, Op. 47 Scherzo No. 3 in C sharp Minor, Op. 39. 9:55 – Kuok-Wai Lio (China): Nan’s Piano Suite “Chopin and the Cat” (2006) No. 1, 3, Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6

sound_boardWednesday was one of those truly special occasions where from the very opening of the Schnittke Improvisation & Fugue you knew could settle into your seat for an afternoon of good music making. Everybody today came through with unique personalities.

Esther Park (USA) delivered a rousing performance of the Schnittke, though she also demonstrated her delicate side in a really beautiful performance of the slow movement of Beethoven’s Sonata op. 111.

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cipcWednesday, July 29

1:00 pm — Esther Park (USA): Schnittke’s Improvisation & Fugue, Beethoven’s Sonata in c, op. 111. 1:35 pm — Evgeny Brakhman (Russia): J.S. Bach’s Prelude & Fugue in f, WTC 1:12, Mozart’s Sonata in C, K. 330 & Chopin’s Etude in C, op. 10, no. 1. 2:10 pm — Pallavi Mahidhara (USA/India): J.S. Bach’s Prelude & Fugue in C, WTC II, 1, Chopin’s Etude in f, op. 10, no. 9 & Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, op. 12. 3:00 pm — Zhang Zuo (China): Haydn’s Sonata in G, Hob. XVI:40, Chopin’s Etude in F, op. 10, no. 8 & Ginastera’s Sonata No. 1, op. 22. 3:35 pm — Martina Filjak (Croatia): Haydn’s Sonata in c, Hob. XVI:20, Berio’s Wasserklavier, Feuerklavier & Luftklavier (Six Encores) & Chopin’s Etude in b, op. 25, no. 10. 4:10 pm — Yunquing Zhou (China): J.S. Bach’s Prelude & Fugue in B, WTC II:23, Chopin’s Etude in C, op. 10, no. 1 & Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini.

7:00 pm — Anzhelika Fuks (Ukraine): Sosjko’s Sofija Kijevsjka, J. S. Bach’s Prelude & Fugue in b-flat, WTC II:22 & Mozart’s Sonata in E-flat, K. 282. 7:35 pm — Gerhard Vielhaber (Germany): Beethoven’s Sonata in D, op. 10, no. 3 & Chopin’s Etude in b, op. 25, no. 10. 8:10 pm — Michael Brown (USA): J.S. Bach’s Prelude & Fugue in C, WTC II:1, Beethoven’s Sonata in F, op. 54, Perle’s Six Celebratory Inventions (excerpts) & Chopin’s Etude in c, op. 10, no. 12 (‘Revolutionary’). 8:55 pm — Kwan Yi (USA): Beethoven’s Sonata in C, op. 2, no. 3 & Chopin’s Etude in a, op. 10, no. 2. 9:30 pm — Kuok-Wai Lio (China): J.S. Bach’s Prelude & Fugue in b, WTC II:24, Haydn’s Sonata in E-flat, Hob. XVI:49 & Chopin’s Etude in F, op. 10, no. 8.

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