Posted at 11:08 AM on July 8, 2008
by Melissa Ousley
After catching Round Two of the Minnesota International e-Piano Junior Competition I'm beginning to wonder about the capacity of the human brain. Not mine, but the brains of these young pianists who are somehow able to play at such a high level. I realize that many of them spend hours (6, 8?) practicing each day, but it's still remarkable to me that they are able to digest the music and present it to us in such fine form.
Take Vladimir Levitsky, a tall, slender 16 year old from Russia who ended his 30-minute program yesterday with the knuckle-busting Vladimir Horowitz edition of the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Liszt. (As if the Liszt original version wasn't demanding enough!) Or, the more intimate performer Jan Lisiecki from Canada. Jan is only 13, and his interpretation of Liszt's Concert Etude "Un Sospiro" was so beautiful it made me cry.
Vladimir and Jan are two of the nine semi-finalists who will compete in the next round of the competition which begins at noon on Wednesday. This takes place at Hamline University's Sundin Hall and is free and open to the public. Or, check out the live stream of the Semi-Final Round at: competition website. Just look for the Live Stream link under Current Competition.
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I'm 56 and started to take piano lessons a few years ago. I've gained an appreciation of the art and the difficulty of learning to play well. I am amazed at the talent of these young artists; I'm in awe.
I get the same feeling when I watch my 3 children perfoming in their respective band/orchestras at school. I am always amazed at the level that young people can perform.
As I write this, I'm listening to Jan Lisiecki play Chopin's Piano concerto in the finals; superb.