Italian Pasquale Iannone spent three weeks in Salt Lake City several years ago. He came for the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition and Festival. A private room, a 6-foot baby grand piano to practice on and transportation were provided for him by a host family during his stay.
Iannone didn't win the competition. But when he left Salt Lake City, he had learned to speak English, developed a love for doughnuts and milk and become a part of the Al Rounds family.There have been many letters and transcontinental phone calls at Christmastime since. But best of all, Iannone is coming back for the 1991 Bachauer competition and will again stay with the Roundses.
Nancy Rounds was amazed at Iannone's commitment to music. "He would practice eight to 10 hours a day," she said. But when that was behind him, Iannone loved to entertain the family with popular music or show tunes. "He could play anything. If you could hum it, he could play it," she marveled.
The five daughters of Al and Nancy Rounds were delighted to share their home (Quinn, 7, gave up her room for Iannone) with their new friend. "He took us to the mall on bicycles once," 14-year-old Ashlie said. Megan, 15, was intrigued that when Iannone came he could speak no English but picked it up quickly during his time with the Rounds family. "He'd hear a word once, have it explained to him and he'd know it," said Megan.
Al Rounds, a noted landscape painter and watercolorist, said, "Pasquale was just like family." The Roundses learned to love his penchant for comic books as well as his music.
The 1991 Gina Bachauer competition will be held June 7-29 this year. Host families are needed to house the 18 female competitors and 46 males. Each of the competitors has been in previous performances with at least two symphony orchestras and won a prize in a major piano competition.
The pianists represent 20 countries: USSR, USA, Japan, Canada, France, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Italy, Holland, China, Poland, England, Ireland, Germany, Brazil, Hungary, Turkey, South Korea, Yugoslavia and Ghana.
Sixty-four homes in the Salt Lake Valley are needed for this international competition. Requirements are:
- Each competitor must have his/her own bedroom.
- The piano available must be at least a 6-foot baby grand, tuned and regulated.
- Each competitor must have several hours a day at their disposal for practicing.
- Transportation must be arranged for their performance times.
Host families are asked to fill out a questionnaire describing their home situation so that competitors can be placed with compatible families.
Those interested in hosting a competitor should call the Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation at 521-9200 and ask for Amanda.