Classical Music News of the Week: August 14, 2011

Cleveland International Piano Competition Announces 2011 Winner of $50,000 Grand Prize

Sunday, August 7, 2011, Cleveland, OH: Alexander Schimpf, 29, of Germany was named the winner of the 2011 Cleveland International Piano Competition. The distinguished jury selected Mr. Schimpf from a field of 26 candidates who performed over a ten-day period.

By the close of Friday and Saturday's final performances, the competition's jurors were faced with a difficult task, as all four finalists delivered exceptional performances of their respective concertos with The Cleveland Orchestra under Christopher Wilkins. While The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Zachary Lewis noted the outstanding musicality of all the finalists, he especially commended Schimpf in his performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4: "...the finest of the four, secure interaction with the orchestra and complete mastery of the score's technical and emotional dimensions. By turns, the pianist whipped up storms, spun out golden filigree, and plumbed philosophical depths."

In addition to a cash prize of $50,000 presented by Mr. and Mrs. A. Malachi Mixon III--one of the largest cash prizes of its kind--Alexander Schimpf receives more than fifty worldwide engagements, including a New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall on Monday, December 5, 2011.

Additional Awards:
- Second Prize: Alexey Chernov - award of $25,000 presented by Jim and Dede Storer of the George B. Storer Foundation.
- Third Prize: Eric Zuber - award of $15,000 presented by Mr. and Mrs. Richard A. Manuel.
- Fourth Prize: Kyu Yeon Kim - award of $10,000 presented by Dr. and Mrs. Richard S. Kaufman
- Baroque Prize:  $2,500 for the best performance of a Baroque composition, presented by Art of Beauty, Inc. to Mr. Younjie Chen for the best performance of a Baroque composition.
- Beethoven Prize:  $2,000 for the best performance of a work by Beethoven, presented by Barbara Evenchik in memory of Marvin Evenchik to Mr. Alexey Chernov.
- Cairns Family American prize:  $1,500 for an American work composed after 1944, presented by The Cairns Family Foundation to Ms. Fei Fei Dong.
- Chopin Prize:  $2,000 for the best performance of a Chopin composition, presented by the William O. and Gertrude Lewis Frohring Foundation in memory of Gertrude Lewis Frohring to Mr. Eric Zuber.
- Contemporary Prize:  $2,500 for the best performance of a contemporary work, presented by Art of Beauty, Inc. to Mr. Mateusz Borowiak.
- Mozart Prize:  $1,500 for the best performance of a Mozart composition, presented by Dr. and Mrs. Richard Kaufman to Ms. Kyu Yeon Kim.
- Russian Prize:  $1,500 for the best performance of a composition by a Russian composer, presented by Dr. Boris Vinogradsky to Jae-Won Huh.

About Alexander Schimpf:
Alexander Schimpf, age 29, is a citizen of Germany. He graduated from the University of Music in Dresden, and received Artist Diploma from the University of Music in Würzburg. He won first prize at the 2009 Beethoven Competition (Vienna), was a semi­finalist at the 2009 Leeds Competition (UK) and the 2008 Concours de Genève (Switzerland), and won second prize at the 2008 Città di Cantù Competition (Italy). In 2011 he performed with orchestras in Göttingen and Lübeck (Germany) and Vienna. In 2009 and 2010 he gave recitals in Munich, Nürnberg, Heidelberg and Hannover, Leeds (UK), and La Paz and Santa Cruz (Bolivia); and performed with orchestras in Augsburg

About the Cleveland International Piano Competition:
Now in its 36th year, the Cleveland International Piano Competition possesses an eminent list of alumni, and winners benefit from an array of professional opportunities following the competition.  Martina Filjak, the Competition's 2009 winner, has enjoyed a hugely successful career since her victory, performing nearly 100 solo and orchestral engagements worldwide over the past two years. Additional winners from past years include such notable artists as Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Angela Hewitt, and Sergei Babayan.

During the competition's ten days of performances, solo rounds are held twice daily for the first eight days.  Candidates are eliminated over this period by vote of the jury until four finalists remain. Finalists perform with The Cleveland Orchestra over a two-night period and the winner is announced at the conclusion of the last performance. A celebration gala is traditionally held on the last night of the Competition in honor of the four finalists.

--Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

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It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa