Well, the Fifth Biennial Louisiana International Piano Competition has gotten off to an excellent start so far! I’ve been at several of the sessions of Round One and the Semifinals – as many as I can make, honestly – and I have been duly impressed. The command of the instrument that these pianists possess is incredible. And, the repertoire that they have selected has been both diverse and well-handled: it has been the Beethoven sonatas and the various Scriabin selections that continue to impress me the most.
To recap, this year’s competition started with twenty-two talented young pianists from across the world. Throughout the day Tuesday, thirteen pianists gave their sessions for Round One before another nine responded with theirs on Wednesday. The Semifinals took place yesterday after the field was narrowed to eight competitors. Now, three finalists have been selected for Saturday’s concert in which they will play a complete piano concerto alongside the Rapides Symphony Orchestra.
The three pianists featured in this Final Round will be Shizhe Shen, Kumi Matsuo, and Julan Wang. First on the program, Shizhe Shen will blast through the Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Then, Kumi Matsuo will impress us with the Concerto in A minor by Robert Schumann. And lastly, Julan Wang will play the remarkable Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major by Franz Liszt. After the performances have ended, the renowned panel of judges will deliberate and declare one of these talented pianists the winner of the competition. It’s been a week full of excitement, and spirits will only continue to rise at the Final Round which starts tomorrow evening at 6:00 PM at Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center. Don’t miss out!
And, remember, next Tuesday, October 29, Tarzan will be swinging-in to Coughlin-Saunders for a showing of the original 1918 silent film Tarzan of the Apes. Presented by the Arts Council of Central Louisiana, this film has several Louisiana connections including that it was shot on location in Morgan City in south Louisiana and that Louisiana composer Kermit Poling – the voice of Red River Radio – has written a new score for the film and will be performing it live with his West Edge String Quartet. Even if you’re not a fan of classic films, I can ensure you music lovers that you won’t want to miss Poling’s new score. I’ve heard several of Kermit Poling’s compositions at this point, and each of them has been exhilarating.
So, music lovers, catch the Final Round of the Louisiana International Piano Competition on Saturday, and then head back to Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center this Tuesday for another amazing event: Tarzan of the Apes!
About Jackson. Jackson Harmeyer is a recent graduate of the Louisiana Scholars’ College – Louisiana’s designated honors college located on the campus of Northwestern State University. There, he studied music history, completing an undergraduate thesis entitled “Learning from the Past: The Influence of Johann Sebastian Bach upon the Soviet Composers.” Now living in Alexandria, he is one of the founding members of TicketCentral and will also be writing this season’s program notes for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra.