Piano competition prepares documentary for publicity

Piano competition prepares documentary for publicity

Special to the Chart

Piano competition prepares documentary for publicity

John Carr

Every other year, Missouri Southern hosts 35 pianists from 20 different countries with the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition.

Being free to Southern students and to the community, it offers culture, inspiration and talent from around the globe.

“I can’t wait until the competition,” said Jason Terry, freshmen music major, “It’s going to be awesome.”

Vivian León, director or MSIPC, works year-round to make this occasion possible. The MSIPC, a nonprofit organization, is completely self-funded from contributions from local businesses and individuals, and the competition is only made possible by the work of hundreds of volunteers.

León said beginning April 24 and extending through April 29, Southern will be honored with bringing an internationally known competition to halls of the University.

“We have received 109 DVDs from 20 different countries this year,” León said.

The competition has attracted musicians from over 50 countries and has received national recognition by President Bush, Gov. Holden, and national newspapers.

Not only do pianists from each country attempt to compete, but expert judges also apply to determine the winners. This year, experts have been selected from Russia, Jamaica, Korea, Ireland and the United States to help determine the winners.

The competition is divided into two categories: senior (age 18-30) and junior (age 17 and under).

Twenty competitors will compete in the senior division for the grand prize of $10,000 and the New York debut in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Junior division competes for top prizes as high as $3,000.

“I don’t think the students understand how big this competition is,” Terry said

León invites faculty, students and entire classes to experience the program. Robert Sherman, columnist for the New York Times from Juilliard and Manhattan School, will also be lecturing at this year’s competition.

The last competition was in 2004. León is able to coordinate this event with two years preparation.

The hard work is captured every year in an MSIPC documentary. Now displayed on the MSIPC Web site, the 2004 competition is shown in chronological order in a 30-minute film.

Bill Hunt, director of creative services with KGCS-LP, has spent more than 1,000 hours editing and creating the documentary. Hunt said the documentary is being aired on PBS stations. However, the documentary does not stop at the United States border.

León said the documentary has been shown all around the world, and is exceptionally popular in China.

She said the University is attracting fame across the world, and asked for more local attention by inviting all students, faculty and citizens to come to watch the documentary, and provide their support by attending this year’s competition.