Norah Sande Award brings wonderful young pianists to the Birley Centre

REVIEW BY Robin Gregory

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 2:25 pm
The Birley Centre

It was really exciting to see the Norah Sande Award back in the beautiful Birley Centre.

As one arrived one recognized many friends in the audience, even though these wretched Covid masks were the order of the day.

Little had changed. The three adjudicators were there, pens poised; and Spencer Freeman was ready with his microphone to introduce each pianist. Just one question remained: would the standard of the competitors’ performances be what we have been used to, bearing in mind the medical and educational difficulties that Covid created?

“Astonishingly the competitors seemed to be able to “rise above” their problems; to such an extent that I can truly say this was the best year yet. I’d go so far as to comment that every single performance was of such a high standard that (even if one had picked the names out of a hat) 2021 would be a year to remember.

“However, life being what it is, a competition is a competition, and therefore I’ll simply round-off this little review by listing the three award-winners, and what they played: third place Nuno Lucas playing Rameau, Mendelssohn and Liebermann; second place Joe Howson playing Vine, CPE Bach and Wagner (arranged by Liszt); and first place Dominic Doutney playing Beethoven, Liszt, Scriabin and Gordon.”

Review by Robin Gregory