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Kapell Competition

Posted By: KawaiDon

Kapell Competition - 07/13/07 12:11 AM

Hello again,

The first round of the competition has completed, and from the start of 25 the list has been trimmed to 9 for the semi-finals:

Vadimas Chaimovicius (Lithuania)
Grace Eun-Hae Kim (Korea)
Kana Mimaka (Japan / USA)
Ti (Cindy) Xin (China)
Alexei Gulenco (Moldavia)
Aleyson Scopel (Brazil)
Spencer Meyer (USA)
Sofya Gulyak (Russia)
Sara Daneshpour (USA)

Sara is the local favorite, being from the Washington DC area. Kana Mimaka is the only remaining performer using the Shigeru Kawai piano - so we still have hopes for a prize winner on our instrument!

It was very interesting this morning to hear Sarah Daneshpour play the NY Steinway, then Yoko Hagino (of Japan) play it next. The piano sounded completely different with the two players! When Yoko started playing I did a double take, thinking maybe she had decided to change pianos - the sound was that different! Very interesting.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Kapell Competition - 07/13/07 03:00 AM

Quote
Originally posted by KawaiDon:
It was very interesting this morning to hear Sarah Daneshpour play the NY Steinway, then Yoko Hagino (of Japan) play it next. The piano sounded completely different with the two players! When Yoko started playing I did a double take, thinking maybe she had decided to change pianos - the sound was that different! Very interesting.
Not to intentionally hi-jack this thread, KawaiDon, but your last point was recently brought home to me.

At the Victoria Piano Summer School currently in session, I have heard two recitals - among several - one a faculty recital and the other a past student participants recital where several different performers have all played the same (New York) Steinway D during the same recital. It really is quite interesting how different performers bring out (through all the permutations and combinations of attack, touch, pedal, voicing, volume) different tonal qualities in the piano, even in similar repertoire. It really underlines the fact that different pianists can produce different tonal palettes, one from another.

Regards,
Posted By: Loki

Re: Kapell Competition - 07/16/07 02:46 AM

Quote
Originally posted by BruceD:
Quote
Originally posted by KawaiDon:
[b]It was very interesting this morning to hear Sarah Daneshpour play the NY Steinway, then Yoko Hagino (of Japan) play it next. The piano sounded completely different with the two players! When Yoko started playing I did a double take, thinking maybe she had decided to change pianos - the sound was that different! Very interesting.
Not to intentionally hi-jack this thread, KawaiDon, but your last point was recently brought home to me.

At the Victoria Piano Summer School currently in session, I have heard two recitals - among several - one a faculty recital and the other a past student participants recital where several different performers have all played the same (New York) Steinway D during the same recital. It really is quite interesting how different performers bring out (through all the permutations and combinations of attack, touch, pedal, voicing, volume) different tonal qualities in the piano, even in similar repertoire. It really underlines the fact that different pianists can produce different tonal palettes, one from another.

Regards, [/b]
I actually had a similar experience last year when i heard Abbey Simon and Olga Kern give concerts on the same piano.
Posted By: Rich Galassini

Re: Kapell Competition - 07/18/07 11:38 AM

Very cool observation. I have seen this as well.

Just curious, was the piano serviced or tuned at all between artists Don?
Posted By: DameMyra

Re: Kapell Competition - 07/22/07 10:53 PM

So does anyone know who won? It's not posted on line yet.
Posted By: JBiegel

Re: Kapell Competition - 07/23/07 12:59 AM

I believe Sofia Gulyak--I knew it would happen after I heard her last January in Tromso, Norway. (Was there another post for the Kapell here where I mentioned her name???)
Posted By: BassoonyPianoKevn

Re: Kapell Competition - 07/23/07 03:31 AM

Yes I think you did mention her in the other Kapell thread (for some reason there are two threads on the topic). I actually attended the concert last night and she was the strongest out of the 3. I don't know if anyone else here went to it. She played an outstanding performance of Rachmaninoff's 3rd concerto. The other two were Spencer Myer who received 3rd place playing the Rachmaninoff Paganini Rhapsody and Sara Daneshpour, who played the first Tchaikovksy concerto and received 2nd place.
Posted By: sophial

Re: Kapell Competition - 07/23/07 05:18 AM

One of the strengths of Steinway is its large tonal palette -- a good pianist can get a very wide range of tones and colors from it. It would be interesting to see if they could have done the same thing or had it be as noticeable and dramatic on a different concert grand.


Sophia
Posted By: Silent Thoughts

Re: Kapell Competition - 07/23/07 10:17 PM

I attended the finals and all of the semi-final rounds. I have to say that Sofya's Rach 3 was the weakest of her performances (despite it being quite good), while the Tchaikovsky was definitely her strongest showing of the competition.

There were lots of people who intensely disliked Sofya's playing, and the ones I've talked to do bring up good points. I didn't think her first and second movements were particularly well thought-out, but her third movement certainly conveyed a great sense of understanding (something which I find a lot of professional recordings lacking).
Posted By: JBiegel

Re: Kapell Competition - 07/23/07 11:18 PM

I only heard her play Clementi Sonata in C and La Campanella in Norway--
Posted By: Emanuel Ravelli

Re: Kapell Competition - 07/25/07 02:20 AM

I heard 6 of the 9 semifinalists play their solo rounds as well as the finals. Top to bottom, this year's group struck me as one of the best I've heard. All 3 of the finalists were serious pianists, and each of them produced moments of sheer beauty that you don't always hear in competitions. But Sofya Gralyuk was the clear winner to my ear. Less than one minute after she started playing the 2nd movement of the Clementi sonata in the solo semis, a friend whispered to me, "She's in a different league".

That's exactly how I felt about her too. For one thing, there was that sound -- the golden, burnished, rich tone that Russian pianists seem to produce more consistently than anyone else. At all points on the dynamic spectrum from softest to loudest, you could hear her playing in what seemed like perfect proportion to the orchestra -- never bangy, but projecting all the way to the back of the hall even at pianissimo. Then there was her incredible sense of flow and architecture. There were a few places where I thought she got carried away with her fingers (like pages 3 & 4 of the Rach. 1st movement, which were at least 20% faster than I've ever heard them, a habit I hope she breaks soon). But she played the big, chordal 1st movement cadenza that makes strong men weep, and she made it sing without dropping a note that I could hear. And at the end of the finale, that swooping conclusion had the whole house on its feet cheering for her. We were sitting close behind a large group of Sara Daneshpour's friends and family, and even they were standing up. By the time Sofya got to the stage door, everyone knew who had won -- the judges' 1/2 hour debate could only have been about who deserved second.

It's too bad we have to wait four years for the next Kapell. But I'll be there, and I hope many of you in or near the D.C. area will make it a point to join us. If this year is any indication, you won't be sorry. thumb
Posted By: Silent Thoughts

Re: Kapell Competition - 07/25/07 02:51 AM

Did anyone happen to catch Aleyson Scopel? During the semifinal round, I thought he and Sofya were miles above the rest. I was stunned when Aleyson didn't make it to the finals.

I thought Sofya's solo and chamber performances were MUCH better than her concerto - do you remember that Rachmaninoff Elegy? Never heard it played so well.
Her cadenza for the first movement of the concerto was indeed something to behold, but rushing always irritates me more than it should (it's something I used to do until my old teacher managed to rid me of the habit).
Posted By: Emanuel Ravelli

Re: Kapell Competition - 07/26/07 12:46 AM

I liked Scopel too -- if he had made the finals and played the Beethoven 4th anything like he did in the semis, I would have voted him second place if I was on the jury. His wistful Scarlatti sonata in the semis was also lovely.

I thought Sofya's performance of the Elegie was exceptional (never thought there was so much music in that piece, but she certainly found it), as was her Copland sonata movement and the Corelli variations. All I can say about the concerto is -- you and I disagree. Even with the fast spots, I was mesmerized. I wish her a long and successful career on the stage.
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