June 20, 2024
Artists

The elegant art of adjudication; nine jury members announced – The Utah Review


While many can justifiably describe the Gina Bachauer International Artists Competition as music’s counterpart to the Olympics, many might be surprised that the jury process for determining the top three prize winners by the end of June relies on a long-established protocol that replaced numerical scores with a secret voting process where each individual juror casts a ballot with three possible options: yes, no and alternate (maybe).

Bachauer adopted the current procedures in 1982 and have worked “really well,” Douglas Humpherys, artistic director and one of the nine jury members, said. Quarterfinals will begin June 17. At the completion of the quarterfinals, each jury member will list the 12 pianists they would like to continue hearing in the semifinals. The 12 names are not ranked in any order whatsoever so the pianists who receive the most ‘yes’ votes will advance to the semifinals. Meanwhile, jurors also can cast alternate votes for other pianists, which will only be used to break any ties that might result in the first round of voting. “The process is entirely confidential so that each jury member can vote their own mind and not be influenced by other members of the jury,” Humpherys added,

Likewise, audience members who attend the competition sessions will not be able to see the jury, if they are hoping to try to read nonverbal cues or communications as indications of pianists whom they prefer. In the Jeanné Wagner Theatre at the Rose Wagner Center for Performing Arts, where the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will take place, the jury will be seated in the balcony.

The same system of voting and tabulation, which has been widely adopted around the world, will be followed throughout the competition. In the final round, instead of yes, individual jurors will vote for first, second and third prizes and then all nine jurors’ votes will be tallied accordingly. The rules and private tabulation discourage discussions and allow the jurors to keep their own thoughts in their conscience,” Humpherys explained. “After voting, discussion will definitely happen among the jurors.”

Each quarterfinalist will play twice: solo recitals of 15-20 minutes and 35-40 minutes, respectively. The twelve semi finalists will play a single solo recital of 50-60 minutes, with each competitor also required to play the short commissioned solo piano piece composed by Gabriela Lena Frank. In the finals, each of the three competitors will perform twice with the Utah Symphony at Abravanel Hall, selecting a concerto for each concert of their choice from a prescribed list (June 28-29).

As for audience members attending the sessions who are curious about the process, Humpherys has some suggestions. “They will have an understanding and enjoy the process much more if they can see all stages of the competition,” he explained. “If you just go to the finals you don’t get a strong representation of what the competition is all about. People who hear as much of the playing as possible can then develop entirely on their own who their favorites are through the competition’s quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. They can see, for example, how one pianist’s interpretation of Beethoven or Rachmaninoff is different from another. It is like watching all the stages of competition in the Olympics, by tracking the preliminary rounds in order to find out why someone has made it into the final round.”

Humpherys said that the most frequent question a jury member is asked about concerns what they base their decision on during the process. He explained that jurors look for how the pianist’s playing follows the composer’s text and how well they know the details of the score. Additionally, they look at how effectively do they transmit this to the audience while playing with their “own convictions and personal expressive qualities that fit into the scope of balancing and synthesizing all of these things,” he added.

Audience members should also look for beautiful moments not necessarily as clearly defined by the technical elements of the music the pianist is performing. As Humpherys explained, at this level of competition, every pianist comes in with extraordinarily strong technique so the audience member can absorb the experience by listening to and enjoying each pianist’s approach and reveling in the experience of hours of beautiful music in which every competitor has invested their whole life to prepare for a moment like the Bachauer competition.

For tickets and more information, see the Bachauer website.

The jury comprises the following members:

Lydia Artymiw has performed with over one hundred orchestras world-wide including the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony, LA Philharmonic, and the St. Luke’s and St. Paul Chamber Orchestras, collaborating with such renowned conductors as André Previn, Seiji Ozawa, Osmo Vänskä, Simon Rattle, Stanislaw Skrowaczewksi, Norman del Mar, and David Zinman. The recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Prize, Artymiw, a Philadelphia native, has performed solo recitals in most major American cities, important European music centers, and throughout the Far East. Her recording of the Complete Mendelssohn Cello/Piano Works with cellist Marcy Rosen for Bridge was nominated for a 2018 Grammy. Artymiw has participated in over 50 festivals and has collaborated with renowned artists Yo-Yo Ma, Richard Stoltzman, Arnold Steinhardt, Kim Kashkashian, Benita Valente, John Aler, Marcy Rosen, and the Guarneri, Tokyo, American, Alexander, Borromeo, Miami, Orion and Shanghai Quartets.

A recitalist, concerto soloist and  chamber musician, Bernadene Blaha has performed throughout North America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Mexico. Originally from Canada, Ms. Blaha first came to international attention as a prizewinner in the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition; the Young Keyboard Artists International Piano Competition, Grand Rapids, Michigan; the Master Players International Competition, Lugano, Switzerland; and the 11th Annual International Piano Competition, New York City. This latter award resulted in two highly acclaimed recital appearances, at Carnegie Recital Hall and the Lincoln Center Library. Soon afterward. Blaha was featured in the opening orchestra concert and a solo recital at the XXIX International Chopin Festival in Marianske Lazne, followed by performances at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and Disney Hall in Los Angeles. Ms. Blaha’s discography includes recordings for the CBC, Centaur, Analekta and Eloquentia labels. A resident of Los Angeles,. Blaha has been a member of the Keyboard Faculty at the Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California, since 1993 where she is a full professor.

Alan Chow has won first prize as well as other top honors at numerous international competitions, including Bachauer where he won the silver medal and audience favorite prize. A Steinway artist, Chow has performed in recital and in concert with orchestras in nearly all 50 states. His recitals have brought him to the major music centers including New York (Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, Steinway Hall), Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago (Symphony Center and Ravinia), Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Seattle, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Miami. Concerto performances include appearances with the National Symphony, Utah Symphony, Oakland Symphony, Tulsa Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, and Omaha Symphony. He regularly tours Asia with performances in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore, including performances with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Shanghai Philharmonic and the Pan-Asia Symphony. An avid chamber musician, he appears in joint recital engagements in the Cheng-Chow Trio with pianists Angela Cheng and Alvin Chow. Previously having served on the faculty of the University of Arkansas and Northwestern University, heis professor of piano and chair of the piano department at the Eastman School of Music.

A North Carolina native, James Giles regularly performs in important musical centers in America, Europe, and Asia and recent tours have included recitals in Toronto, Paris, Naples, Budapest, Manchester, England, and across Denmark. Giles has commissioned and premiered works by William Bolcom, Stephen Hough, Lowell Liebermann, Ned Rorem, Augusta Read Thoma and Earl Wild. Giles was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Italy with the legendary pianist Lazar Berman. He also received a fellowship grant and the Christel Award from the American Pianists Association. He won first prizes at the New Orleans International Piano Competition, the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition and the Music Teachers National Association Competition. Giles is coordinator of the piano program and director of music performance graduate studies at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and during the summers, he directs the piano program at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival. 

Since winning the first gold medal ever at the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, Douglas Humpherys’ concert career has spanned more than four decades across four continents. He has toured China twenty times, performing in Beijing at the National Center for the Performing Arts, the Beijing Concert Hall, and the Forbidden City Concert Hall. In 2002 he made his Korean debut in Seoul at the Kumho Art Hall, and has presented solo concerts in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Currently listed on the Artists Roster of Steinway and Sons. Humpherys often performs in Europe and has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2008 and 2012, he concertized and taught in Argentina with Teachers del Norte-Pianists del Sur, a project sponsored in part by the United States Embassy in Buenos Aires. Since 2013, Humpherys has been Bachauer’s artistic director. He has also adjudicated the Cleveland International Piano Competition, the Rachmaninov International Piano Competition in Novgorod, Russia, the Ricardo Viñes International Piano Competition in Spain, the 1st Korea International Competition for Young Artists, the PTNA National Piano Competition in Tokyo and the Hilton Head International Piano Competition.

Yong Hi Moon made her solo debut with the Seoul Philharmonic at age 10, as winner of the National Korean Broadcasting Competition. She has won top prizes in the Elena-Rombro Stepanow Competition in Vienna, the Viotti International Competition in Vercelli, Italy, the Vienna da Motta Competition in Lisbon, Portugal, and received the Chopin Prize from the Geneva International Competition in Switzerland. Moon performs extensively throughout Asia, Europe and the U.S. as recitalist and soloist, having appeared with the Osaka, Seoul, and Tokyo Philharmonics, and the Korean National Symphony. She collaborates regularly with her husband – pianist/conductor Dai Uk Lee – in duo piano concerts and has performed under his baton with the Busan, Bucheon and Ulsan Philharmonics, Korean Symphony Orchestra, Korea Chamber Orchestra, among others. Well known as a master class teacher and adjudicator, in 1993, she released a popular teaching video in Korea about artistic piano performance. Moon has been a regular faculty member at Shandelee, Aria, Prague, and Bowdoin Summer Festivals, Valencia Piano Academy, and the Art of Piano Festival at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. Moon was a professor of piano at Michigan State University School of Music for 15 years and since 2002 she has been a member of the piano faculty at the Peabody Conservatory.

A recitalist, chamber musician and teacher, Jean Saulnier has performed in Canada, U.S., South America and Europe. He has been guest soloist with orchestras such as the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Quebec Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Métropolitain, Rochester Philharmonic, and I Musici de Montréal. He has been heard extensively in major Canadian music festivals and on CBC radio.

Performing with his long-time partners, cellist Yegor Dyachkov and clarinetist André Moisan, Saulnier has recorded many major works from the chamber music repertoire on Pelléas, Atma, Analekta, and Doberman-Yppan labels. In 2002, Saulnier unexpectedly discovered a rare 1848 Pleyel piano, leading him to engage in extensive research on the interpretation of Chopin’s works. His recording of a Chopin recital on this piano has been praised for its refinement and originality. He is a full professor in the music faculty of the Music Faculty of the Université de Montréal, where he has taught for more than 30 years. He teaches during the summer at Orford Music Festival, the Gijon International Piano Festival in Spain and the Porto Pianofest in Portugal. He frequently serves as a jury member for national and international competitions, higher education institutions and government agencies.

Born in China, Zhe Tang entered the Shanghai Conservatory of Music at the age of twelve and continued his studies at the Eastman School of Music, where he also taught and served as teaching assistant to Professor Barry Snyder. In 2003, Zhe became one of the youngest piano professors in the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and was later appointed as the vice dean of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, among other key posts. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, among them, silver medal in the Edvard Grieg International Piano Competition in Norway and first prize in the Kosciuszko Chopin Piano Competition. He was chosen as the winner of the Adele Marcus Foundation Grant, which enabled him to perform extensively in the U.S.. He has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras and has collaborated with conductors Jahja Ling, Mitchell Arnold, and Fusao Kajima, among others. Zhe’s performances with the China Philharmonic Orchestra and the Shanghai Symphony were broadcast by the Chinese National Television and Radio, reaching approximately 900 million people. As one of the leading pianists and pedagogues in China, Zhe has taught master classes and presented lectures at many universities, conservatories, music schools, festivals throughout China, Europe, and the United States. Many of his students have won top prizes at national and international competitions.  He has also organized competitions, directed festivals, and has contributed as an advisor for over twenty universities and musical organizations in China. 

Originally from Riga (Latvia), Dina Yoe started her musical education at the distinguished Emil Darzin’s Special School of Music in her hometown and continued at The Central Music School in Moscow and subsequently graduated from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music in Moscow. Yoe has performed throughout Europe, U.S., Canada and Japan, along numerous countries. Among the high points of her international career are concerts with outstanding orchestras such as the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, the Japanese Radio Orchestra NHK under Neville Marriner, the Moscow Philharmonic under Dmitri Kitayenko, the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra under James De Pries, Orchestra “Kremerata Baltica” under Gidon Kremer, Orchestra Sinfonia Varsovia under J. Kaspszyk, Vancouver Symphony, Solistes Europeens (Luxemburg), and Bruno Walter Symphony Orchestra. Since 2000, she has been a guest professor at the Summit Music Festival in New York, guest professor at the Yamaha Master Classes in Paris, New York, Hamburg, and Tokyo. She has also participated in many international music festivals in Europe, Japan, and U.S. and she became an honorary member of the Japan Piano Teachers Association and artistic director of Musical Summer International Festival and Masterclasses in Málaga, Spain.



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