Musical ‘prodigies’ to enter semifinals next week

Next week will strike a higher octave for semifinalists competing in the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition.

MSIPC is organized into one week full of music, seminars and meeting the musically talented. The event is comprised of 33 competitors – 19 senior competitors and 14 junior competitors. Ages in the junior competition range from 14 to 17 and in the senior competition, ages 18 to 27. Countries from which contestants are from include China, Korea, the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, Uzbekistan, the Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel.

The 2006 judges are as follows: Natalya Antonova, professor at Eastman School of Music; Nigel Coxe, Professor Emeritus at University of Massachusetts; KwiHyun Kim, chairman of instrumental music at Seoul National University; Frank Heneghan, former director of the School of Music at Dublin Institute of Technology and Nancy Weems, professor at Moores Music School at the University of Houston.

“Five finalists will be chosen from each category,” said Vivian León, director of MSIPC. “Three winners will be chosen from the finalists for first, second and third places.”

Rehearsals, orientation and the welcome party start the MSIPC schedule on Sunday. Monday, the Honors Audition winners will perform followed by the Pianoforte Reception. Natalia Antonova, Russian pianist, will end the evening with the MSIPC’s Opening Concert, followed by the public reception.

Tuesday is Junior Semifinals day. Competition runs from 9:15 a.m. to 11:55 a.m., starting again at 1:15 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. and concluding from 7:50 p.m. to 9:35 p.m.

“We did our scheduling to accommodate classes coming to see the competition,” León said. “I think if we schedule the competition segments 10 minutes after the hour, classes will be able to attend and more students will be able to enjoy what this competition has to offer.”

Senior Semifinals will be held Wednesday. The first round of competition will be from 9:15 a.m. to 12:20 p.m., the second round from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., the third round from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and the fourth will continue on Thursday from 9:15 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.

The day will continue with Junior Finals. They will begin 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and the announcement of junior winners will be made.

Friday, Robert Sherman, columnist for the New York Times and faculty member of the Julliard School and Manhattan School, will lecture to students in the local area regarding classical music. Senior Finals will commence from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will begin again from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. followed by the announcement of the senior winners.

April 29, Sherman will once again speak to the public in a lecture called “The business of music.” Judge/contestant consulting will follow.

Ending the MSIPC will be the Gala concert in which the winning finalists will perform for the public in a tux and nightgown occasion, followed by the Gala reception.

León said if she had to choose any one competition to see it is the Junior Semifinals competition.

“Those competing in the junior competition want to put their best foot forward in order to get in the next round,” León said.

She gave a preview of what can be expected next week.

“Everyone of them are prodigies,” León said. “They all have talent beyond what we can imagine.”