Competition opens with judge’s recital

Nigel Coxe, professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, conferred with colleagues about the Opening Recital during the Public Reception held afterwards.

Scott Hasty

Nigel Coxe, professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, conferred with colleagues about the Opening Recital during the Public Reception held afterwards.

Webster Hall sung an elegant tune in an international battle of the pianos during the week of April 23-29.

Kicking off the Missouri International Piano Competition week was Natalya Antonova, professor at the Eastman School of Music, in the Opening Recital. Antonova played many selections from artists such as Robert Schumann, Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin and Frederic Chopin.

Antonova played an “unbelievable” concert said Nathan Ward, freshman mass communications major.

“It must have been hard to keep up her music playing that,” he said. “She was playing so fast, she looked like she was about to tie her fingers into a knot. If it were me up there, I’d probably be tripping all over myself.”

Though her playing was the sound of confidence, she concealed her true feelings from the crowd.

“To tell you the truth, I was very nervous,” Antonova said.

Antonova said her nervousness came from playing in front of a different crowd and playing in front of the contestants she was to judge.

“The best piano players in the world came here to compete, and I had to play in front of all of them,” she said. “So, in essence, they were judging the judge.”

Antonova said she chose the music performed during the Recital to promote an enjoyable evening.

“Also, this year is the 150th anniversary of Robert Schumann’s death,” she said. “I decided to dedicate a big chunk of my program to Schumann.”

The 2006 judges are as follows: Antonova; 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.

Antonova said she was honored to have the chance to open MSIPC with her recital.

On April 25, the junior semifinals began at 9:15 a.m. and ran through 9:35 p.m. Though judging was “difficult” five semifinalists were selected.

Lo-An Lin, 17, of Taiwan; Xiaoqui Xue, 16, of China; Mi-Eun Kim, 17, of the United States; Hee-Jun Han, 16, of South Korea and Yundu Wang, 17, of the United States.

The senior semifinals spanned two days. It began on April 26 at 9:15 a.m. and ran to 10:00 p.m. and began again Thursday from 9:15 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. The senior semifinalists were then announced.

“To judge these competitors is a tremendous challenge,” Antonova said. “Each of these competitors play at an extremely high level, so it’s really difficult to decide.”

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

Due to a danger of compromising the integrity of the judges, no comment was offered in order to discuss the criteria in which they are rated.

This information will be offered to the public upon completion of MSIPC.

Listening and judging a competition may sound like hard work, but for these judges it is quite a different story.

“After all this is over, I’ll probably be tired, but right now it’s very exciting to listen to all of this wonderful music all the time,” Antonova said.

Though judging is difficult and stressful for many of the judges, Antonova said she had one personal goal she would like to meet.

“Through all this, I hope to learn more about the piano,” she said. “I’m always learning something new from these young piano players.”

At press time, The Chart did not have further information regarding MSIPC. For further result information, please visit our Web site at