Taiwan star lights up Piano Festival

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Piano 1 SUS-160803-081649001

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After more then a week of scintillating music making, the 12th Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition reached a triumphant climax last Friday and Saturday in a riveting two-evening final in front of packed audiences at the White Rock Theatre.

By extraordinary coincidence, five of the six finalists chose a Prokofiev concerto from the 17 pieces offered on the competition’s list.

Two chose the composer’s fiendishly difficult second piano concerto, three his more accessible but still challenging Piano Concerto no 3.

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The remaining finalist opted for the much better known Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1.

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Piano 2 SUS-160803-081629001

The result was summed up by one distinguished local music lover as, quite simply, “world class”.

In the end, 26-year-old Tzu-Yin Huang from Taiwan was declared the winner by the distinguished international jury.

She had given a bravura performance in the semi-final, including a riveting rendition of parts of Bartok’s dramatic out of Doors Suite.

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Then, playing last on Friday night with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, she brought whoops and yells from the audience for her performance of Prokofiev 3.

As well as winning the £10,000 first prize and a chance to play as a soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, she also won the £500 prize voted for by members of the orchestra.

Tzu-Yin has received numerous awards and won many competitions in Taiwan. She is currently completing her doctoral degree at the University of Michigan studying with Professor Louis Nagel.

The £5,000 second prize went to 27-year-old Samuel Deason from Canada for his dramatic performance of Prokofiev 2.

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In third place was 21-year-old Jung Eun Severine Kim from South Korea for her sensitive and playful performance of Prokofiev 3.

Fourth prize went to Eric Zuber, 30, from the USA who played the Tchaikovsky concerto. Fifth was Ke Ma, 21, from China playing Prokofiev 2 and sixth was Michelle Nam, 30, from Canada for Prokofiev 3.

The £1,000 prize for the outstanding British performer went to 28-year-old Andreas Ioannides.

There was also an award of £200 for the best performance of a specially written new work by the British composer Paul Patterson. The contestant chosen by the composer to win this prize was Korean, Jung Eun Severine Kim.

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People will be able to hear winner Tzu-Yin Huang performing at the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition summer recital and picnic

At the start of the Piano Festival, more than 50 talented local pianists of all ages seized the chance to play a beautiful concert-standard grand piano in the middle of the Priory Meadow Shopping Centre.

The youngest to play was a little girl aged just three, the oldest was well into his seventies. A highlight was a six-hander session played by Arran Keith, Molly Townson and Andrea Wilkie.

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