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Classical Notes

Sweet 16

Posted at 6:18 PM on July 7, 2006 by Valerie Kahler
Filed under: Piano eComp

Many of you heard a snippet or two of Melissa's interview with the youngest performer in this year's Piano e-Competition, 16-year-old Claire Huangci. She's a charmer - well-spoken and enthusiastic. A wunderkind...but then again, each competitor here has been (or still is) the wunderkind in his or her respective circle.

Audio Claire describes why she chose to perform Franz Liszt's Reminiscences of Don Juan, followed by this afternoon's performance.

Often, musicians who compete at this level are tutored & test out of junior high and/or high school. They know exactly where they're going, and quite reasonably decide to focus all their energies on music. Like many of her colleagues in this competition, Claire is unmistakably destined for Big Things. But. She's chosen to finish high school the old-fashioned way, kind of. Up early for half days at public school and then on to The Curtis Institute three afternoons a week. Throw in an hour or two of homework and the requisite 4-8 hours of practice every day and you've got a very busy teenager.

Did I mention she thinks calculus is fun?

As I type this at 6:34 pm, the last of the 24 contestants is probably beginning the final piece of the recital round (Cheng Chen playing Pictures at an Exhibition, if you're curious) and then the judges will announce the names of the 9 pianists who are advancing to the next round. Will Claire be among them? Who knows? But if her recital earlier today was any indication, we haven't heard the last of Ms. Huangci!

Piano-e-Competition Web site
Watch live video of the competition.