Contestants arrive for piano competition

Philip Martin

With the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition about to begin, contestants came together for orientation and dinner April 19.

The competitors started arriving April 16-18. Some competitors have never been to the United States before, like Ruzha Sémova, who is from Bulgaria and competing in the senior division.

“I like it very much,” Sémova said. “I’ve never been in the United States until now, and I find it very nice.”

Others who are from the U.S. said they feel like the atmosphere here is good for the competition.

“I think the environment here is wonderful and very warm,” said Matthew Graybil, who is competing in the junior division.

Graybil said he finds the area is giving the best it can to the competitors while they are staying in Joplin.

Yevgeniy Miyavskiy, from USA/Belarus and who’s competing in the senior division, said he feels like he is on vacation while being at the competition.

“I come from Los Angeles; it’s actually a pleasant contrast,” he said. “At the end of my semester it is very stressful, there is constant traffic and smog. To me, it feels a little like vacation, even though it is a competition. I’m very happy to be here because I get to breathe fresh air, and I don’t have to worry about driving my car an hour-and-half in traffic to get to school. I get driven around by nice people; I live in a great house.”

Miyavskiy said he believes the University is a good place to hold the competition.

“The University seems great, it seems equipped with great facilities,” he said. “It’s a fitting place for the occasion.”

The competitors think the week will be an enjoyable one. Miyavskiy said the week will go fast, but he will enjoy listening to the other contestants.

“I’m looking forward to hear contestants who are sometimes a decade older than me,” he said. “I’m curious to see what people have accomplished with 20, 25, 30 years of playing.”

Graybil said he will wait to see how the week goes after he performs, but he said he will enjoy his time.