Wednesday, July 25, 2012. The twenty young pianists will perform recitals of their choice, in either a classical, romantic or modern vein. These will take place on 25, 26 and 27 July in the Sala Pereda
This afternoon, the inaugural ceremony of the XVII Santander International Piano Competition took place at the Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria, and featured speeches by the Lord Mayor of Santander, Íñigo de la Serna, and the President of the Fundación Albéniz and Chief Executive Officer of the Piano Competition Paloma O’Shea.
The first part of Doña Paloma’s speech was dedicated to Alicia de Larrocha “the immortal Spanish pianist, who was a dear friend of the city of Santander and the Santander Competition. She was its honorary vice president and was not only admired – she was positively worshipped in the United States, in Britain and in fact the world over. I’m not sure if her importance has been properly acknowledged in Spain. So the very least we can do is pay homage to her in this year’s Competition, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year.”
Paloma O’Shea went on to thank public sector institutions, the Regional Government of Cantabria and the Ministry of Education and Culture for their tremendous efforts to support the Competition despite recent budget cuts. She also thanked businesses and patrons for their continuing support. She then referred to the jury which has been entrusted with the difficult task of gauging the talent of the competitors. The jury “is presided over by a great conductor, maestro Antoni Ros Marbà, who is an old friend of the Competition and a guarantee of success and musicality. He is accompanied by the vice presidents who are two highly prestigious personages with proven trajectories from the international music world - Peter Alward, the director of the Salzburg Easter Festival, and Luis Pereira Leal, senior advisor to the board of directors at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. The jury also boasts an exceptional group of personalities who specialise in various aspects of the piano world and the music world in general - Professor Lorenzo Fasolo, composer Tomás Marco and outstanding concert pianists on the international circuit, Oleg Maisenberg, Elisabeth Leonskaja, and Gary Graffman. The jury is also formed of excellent pianists who have not only reaped success as soloists but who also specialise in chamber music - maestros Ralf Gothoni, Ferenc Rados, Gérard Wyss and Márta Gulyás. Márta Gulyás also presided over the preselection jury this year.
Paloma O’Shea highlighted the role of the following artistic collaborators - the Casals Quartet which emanated from the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía and is now one of the most important string quartets in the world, and two excellent orchestras: the Real Filharmonía de Galicia and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, (the resident orchestra at the Teatro Real), under the baton of two outstanding conductors - maestros Juanjo Mena and Jesús López Cobos.
She concluded by saying, “To be able to play this level of music in such demanding circumstances over a two-week period is a veritable skill. On 7 August at the Awards Ceremony, we will see how all this hard work and all these aspirations are reflected in the list of important award winners who, I am convinced, will enrich the world of piano music. At the same time, during the various phases of the competition, the city will be immersed in music which will be performed by magnificent young pianists; in other words, a grand piano festival, open to the people of Santander, which boasts 53 solo recitals, chamber and orchestral concerts.”
Íñigo de la Serna, the Lord Mayor of Santander, highlighted the strong links Santander has forged with music and with the Piano Competition. He also emphasised how culture can have a positive effect on Santander’s economy in these difficult times. After the Lord Mayor’s speech, Phase One of the Competition commenced, and will run until 27 July. That night, the Jury will reveal the names of the 12 pianists who will compete in Phase Two which will take place between 29 July and 1 August. This is when the pianists will be accompanied by the Casals Quartet in the chamber music exam.
The 20 pianists who participate in the Phase One are (in order of appearance)
Wednesday 25 July: Polina Bogdanova (Russia), Yulia Chaplina (Russia), Marko Hilpo (Finland), Benedek Horváth (Hungary), Tae-Hyung Kim (Republic of Korea), Edward Kiprskiy (Russia), Vladislav Kozhukhin (Russia)
Thursday 26 July: Marta Liébana (Spain), Marcos Madrigal (Cuba), János Palojtay (Hungary), Nadezda Pisareva (Russia), Daniele Rinaldo (Italy), Scipione Sangiovanni (Italy), Zihui Song (People’s Republic of China)
Friday 27 July: Jenna Sung (Republic of Korea), Natalia Tkachenko (Russia), Samson Tsoy (Republic of Korea), Ah Ruem Ahn (Republic of Korea), Charlie Albright (U.S.A.) and Tamar Beraia (Georgia).
The Semifinals (which take place on 3 and 4 August) and the Final (which takes place on 6 August), come under the umbrella of the Santander International Festival. They will be broadcast live on the second channel of Televisión Española (La 2), and on Canal Internacional. Radio Nacional de España will also broadcast coverage of the semi finals and the final to radio stations which come under the umbrella of the European Broadcasting Union.
The whole competition will in fact be broadcast live throughout the world via Classicalplanet.com, which is fast becoming a popular website for music created by talented young musicians.