After a year's worth of auditions, sifting through nearly 250 applicants, 65 pianists have been invited to compete in this year's Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition.
Only one Utahn is among the 65, 30-year-old William Marsden of St. George. A former Utah Symphony-Deseret News "Salute to Youth" soloist, Marsden studied at both Brigham Young University and the University of Missouri's Kansas City Conservatory.Other names familiar to local audiences include French pianist Olivier Cazal, who competed in 1984 and again in 1988; California's Jonathan Bass, here in 1986 and 1988; Eric Himy, winner of the 1988 World Piano Competition, who was here in 1984; and Richard Held, Poland's Wojciech Kocyan, Anthony Padilla, Canada's Jean Saulnier and China's Yi-Fan Liu, all of whom were also here in 1988.
According to founder-director Paul C. Pollei, this is also the first time the competition has received inquiries from inside the Soviet Union - 89 of them. Four of these have been accepted and invited to compete. Interest was also reportedly up in other East European countries.
"We also have a Russian immigrant, Sergei Babayan, coming from Cleveland," Pollei says. "In 1989 he came to this country with $35 in his pocket and said to himself, `I better win something or I can't go home.' Then he proceeded to win two $1,000 prizes, in that year's Casadesus Competition and the 1990 Palm Beach Competition."
He also mentions Ireland's Peter Mack, currently studying at the University of Washington, who took first in the 1989 Young Keyboard Artists Competition.
Auditions last year were held in Amsterdam, Hungary, Brazil, Hong Kong, Illinois, San Francisco, New York and, for the first time, in Salt Lake City. Besides Marsden and Mack, invitees from the Salt Lake auditions include Hungary's Johanna Somos, Yugoslavia's Benjamin Saver, Korea's Kyung Un Rhee, Canada's Peter Longworth and Italy's Massimiliano Frani.
Competition events begin June 17 at Symphony Hall, with the official drawing for placement. Preliminary rounds will take place June 18-21. Quarterfinals are scheduled June 22 and 24. Semifinal rounds, with the Lark String Quartet, will take place June 25 and 26, and the final round, in which each of the six finalists will perform a complete concerto with the Utah Symphony, will be Friday and Saturday, June 28-29.
Jury members this year include Gary Amano, Richard Cass, Norma Fischer, Jack Guerry, Walter Hautzig, Gerassimos Kakalis, Jerome Lowenthal, Bryce Morrison, Hiroko Nakamura, Lev Naumov, Warren Thompson, Maurice Till, James Tocco, Lev Vlassenko and Yin Cheng-Zong. As in all previous years at Symphony Hall, Joanne Baker of the Kansas City Conservatory will serve as jury chairman.
In addition many of the above will be presenting recitals and masterclasses, in the Temple Square Assembly Hall and Promised Valley Playhouse, respectively, during the month.
Admission to the recitals is free. Masterclasses, to be held June 10-14, are priced at $10 per class or $65 for the series. Tickets to the preliminary rounds will be $5 per day; tickets to the quarterfinals $6 per day; $7 per day for the semifinals; and from $24 to $48 for the finals.
For tickets call the Utah Symphony box office, 533-NOTE; for other information call 521-9200.
- IN OTHER BACHAUER-RELATED NEWS, 1988 gold medalist Xiang-dong Kong has been named a Xerox Affiliate Artist for 1992-94. The program provides a series of two- to six-week residencies with orchestras around the country, involving recitals and a concerto performance.
Kong was one of five pianists selected from more than 100 in auditions last month in Rochester, N.Y. He thus joins four other Bachauer winners who have served as Xerox artists - Arthur Greene, Panayis Lyras, David Buechner and Alec Chein.