Leeds Piano Competition 2021

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Andy Evans

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Sep 11, 2021, 3:47:11 AMSep 11
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The semi-finalists are announced:

Alim Beisembayev (23,Kazakhstan)
Dmytro Choni (28,Ukraine)
Thomas Kelly (22,United Kingdom)
Elizaveta Kliuchereva (22,Russia)
Kaito Kobayashi (25,Japan)
Ariel Lanyi (23,Israel)
Yuzhang Li (22,China)
Priscila Navarro (27,Peru)
Hyunjin Roh (20,South Korea)
Xiaolu Zang (21,China)

No Gabriel Yeo who I thought was quite interesting in Haydn.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcTgiDzQS1Q

Andy Evans

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Sep 11, 2021, 4:58:23 AMSep 11
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I went through the ten semifinalists, listening for as long as I could before my interest switched off, which in many cases was minutes.....

The three I wanted to hear more of were:
Ariel Lanyi
Hyunjin Roh
Xiaolu Zang

I enjoyed all three. I was quite taken with Hyunjin Roh in Stravinsky's Firebird and her Schumann and Ravel's La Valse were good too. She can certainly turn on the gas in the big pieces.

Xiaolu Zang played a good Schubert sonata and a sensitive and imaginative Scriabin Sonata 4.

Lanyi played some good Debussy and an interesting Szymanowski Variations.

Can't pick a winner but I feel these are the contenders.

HT

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Sep 11, 2021, 5:09:13 AMSep 11
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Op zaterdag 11 september 2021 om 10:58:23 UTC+2 schreef Andy Evans:
I would have been surprised if Roh hadn't made it.

Henk

Andy Evans

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Sep 11, 2021, 10:43:16 AMSep 11
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On Saturday, 11 September 2021 at 10:09:13 UTC+1, hvt...@xs4all.nl wrote:
> I would have been surprised if Roh hadn't made it.
> > Henk

She can certainly turn on the thrills! Reminds me a bit of Samson Francois for "total attack" combined with musicality. She gets a good smooth sound out of the house Steinway at higher volumes, while others make the piano sound quite wooden at higher volume. That's something that did strike me, as well as her repertoire which was well chosen for her particular strengths.

Andy Evans

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Sep 13, 2021, 2:51:50 AMSep 13
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Xiaolu Zang played his chamber music round Sunday - a good Shostakovich Quintet I thought. I continue to enjoy his playing.

Thomas Kelly played some quite decent solo pieces by Debussy etc but an unimaginative Beethoven cello sonata. I don't see him winning this - not enough imagination - but he did get good audience reaction. The "home kid" maybe......

All this on Medici TV. No need to join and receive all their emails - just click "later"

Andy Evans

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Sep 13, 2021, 6:42:57 PMSep 13
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The second semifinal brought a really stand-out performance of the Dvorak Quintet by Elizaveta Kliuchereva. She really brought this work to life in a way that Roh failed to do. I think to be the pianist in a Quintet like this you need to be not only a team player with excellent listening skills, you need to have management skills. It's not enough to try and follow the string players, which Roh never really got past. Kliuchereva had everything needed - excellent ensemble, great rhythm and a real sense of the architecture of the work. The strings seemed to really like her, and they worked very closely to bring off a very effective performance, full of life and nuance. Up a level from the other pianists, I thought. She has a future as a chamber music player. Probably the same skills will work in her favour in the concerto round.

Ariel Lanyi didn't impress so much in the Ravel Trio as he did in his solo works.

I think Kliuchereva is a shoo-in for the final. Not so sure about the others. Roh, Lanyi and Zang came down a notch in the chamber round. Third semi is tomorrow.

HT

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Sep 16, 2021, 5:24:21 PMSep 16
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Op dinsdag 14 september 2021 om 00:42:57 UTC+2 schreef Andy Evans:
> The second semifinal brought a really stand-out performance of the Dvorak Quintet by Elizaveta Kliuchereva. She really brought this work to life in a way that Roh failed to do. I think to be the pianist in a Quintet like this you need to be not only a team player with excellent listening skills, you need to have management skills. It's not enough to try and follow the string players, which Roh never really got past. Kliuchereva had everything needed - excellent ensemble, great rhythm and a real sense of the architecture of the work. The strings seemed to really like her, and they worked very closely to bring off a very effective performance, full of life and nuance. Up a level from the other pianists, I thought. She has a future as a chamber music player. Probably the same skills will work in her favour in the concerto round.
>
> Ariel Lanyi didn't impress so much in the Ravel Trio as he did in his solo works.
>
> I think Kliuchereva is a shoo-in for the final. Not so sure about the others. Roh, Lanyi and Zang came down a notch in the chamber round. Third semi is tomorrow.

THE FINALISTS

Performing on September 17 are

Dmytro Choni (28,Ukraine) — Beethoven, Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37
Alim Beisembayev (23,Kazakhstan) —Rachmaninov, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in A Minor, Op. 43
Thomas Kelly (22,United Kingdom) — Beethoven, Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 58


Performing on September 18 are

Kaito Kobayashi (25,Japan) — Bartók, Concerto No. 3 in E, Sz. 119
Ariel Lanyi (23,Israel) - Brahms, Concerto No. 2 in B-flat, Op.83

The only question mark is Kobayashi. Why not Roh or Zang?

Henk

Andy Evans

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Sep 18, 2021, 3:17:59 PMSep 18
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Listening to the Brahms as I write - the last performance of the final. For me the three winners are:
Dmytro Choni (28,Ukraine) — Beethoven, Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37
Kaito Kobayashi (25,Japan) — Bartók, Concerto No. 3 in E, Sz. 119
Ariel Lanyi (23,Israel) - Brahms, Concerto No. 2 in B-flat, Op.83

I'd be happy for any of them to win, but I'm guessing Ariel Lanyi will take it.
He played a good Brahms 2, and I think a big work like this is effective in competition.
Dark horse is Choni - his Beethoven 3 was very nice. He has a future I think.
Kobayashi is already working with some known musicians so he's on his way.

I'll be very interested to see who wins - I've followed quite a lot of this.

HT

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Sep 18, 2021, 6:22:05 PMSep 18
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Op zaterdag 18 september 2021 om 21:17:59 UTC+2 schreef Andy Evans:
It's Beisembayev. Kobayashi is second and Lanyi third. I have no problems with the results.

Henk

Herman

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Sep 18, 2021, 7:08:45 PMSep 18
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On Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 12:22:05 AM UTC+2, hvt...@xs4all.nl wrote:


> >
> > I'll be very interested to see who wins - I've followed quite a lot of this.
> It's Beisembayev. Kobayashi is second and Lanyi third. I have no problems with the results.
>
> Henk

Beisembayev did the Brahms C minor piano quartet with the Castalians, right?

HT

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Sep 19, 2021, 4:12:41 AMSep 19
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Op zondag 19 september 2021 om 01:08:45 UTC+2 schreef Herman:
Yes, he did.

Henk

Andy Evans

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Sep 19, 2021, 7:48:25 AMSep 19
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I put Dmytro Choni (28,Ukraine) Kaito Kobayashi (25,Japan) and Ariel Lanyi (23,Israel) as my top three, and in the end they came 2, 3 and 4.

I find Alim Beisambayev pretty boring, despite his wonderful pianism. For me he doesn't have what it takes to be a really top pianist - a really superior concept of the architecture of a piece, and how to deliver that with contrast and appropriate phrasing. For me he's bland - he doesn't have that overall concept and architecture. I switch off.

Everyone else seems to love him. I think probably Kaito Kobayashi should have won - he did win the chamber prize, and he has made some well-known musical friends for future gigs.

Herman

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Sep 19, 2021, 10:12:43 AMSep 19
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I got the impression Beisambayev was rather preoccupied with not making any mistakes.

Herman

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Sep 19, 2021, 11:31:05 AMSep 19
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On Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 4:12:43 PM UTC+2, Herman wrote:
>
> I got the impression Beisambayev was rather preoccupied with not making any mistakes.

I just watched Ariel Lanyi Humoreske and Ravel. On the basis of those performances he seems a more musical performer than Beisambayev, indeed.

Andy Evans

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Sep 19, 2021, 6:23:20 PMSep 19
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On Sunday, 19 September 2021 at 16:31:05 UTC+1, Herman wrote:
> I just watched Ariel Lanyi Humoreske and Ravel. On the basis of those performances he seems a more musical performer than Beisambayev, indeed.

He's not the only one who's more musical!

Beisambayev is like a Michelangeli without the imagination and musicality.

Al Eisner

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Sep 19, 2021, 7:54:38 PMSep 19
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On Sun, 19 Sep 2021, Andy Evans wrote:

> I put Dmytro Choni (28,Ukraine) Kaito Kobayashi (25,Japan) and Ariel Lanyi (23,Israel) as my top three, and in the end they came 2, 3 and 4.

Actually, 4, 3 and 2, respectively.

> I find Alim Beisambayev pretty boring, despite his wonderful pianism. For me he doesn't have what it takes to be a really top pianist - a really superior concept of the architecture of a piece, and how to deliver that with contrast and appropriate phrasing. For me he's bland - he doesn't have that overall concept and architecture. I switch off.

He did also get the audience award (live online votes). After the fact,
I found his Paganini Rhapsody really well played, but I agree, not
exciting. Perhaos the effort needed to prepare this difficult piece
left hin little time fo more, but that's pure speculation. I had done
a little random sampling of round 2, and thought his Op. 111 was pretty
good. And I presume all rounds were taken into account by the jury.

> Everyone else seems to love him. I think probably Kaito Kobayashi should have won - he did win the chamber prize, and he has made some well-known musical friends for future gigs.

My own favorite in the finals was Kobayashu's Bartók. I thought Lanyi
played the Brahms well, but I'm picky about the work and wasn't
I listened only to the first movement of Choni's Beethoven, and did not
take to him as a pianist.

I found the repertory lineup in he finals was refreshing: Bartók,
but no Rach concertos or Liszt or Chopin or (thank God) PIT #1. :)

The announcers said several times that the Leeds is the most
important international piano competition. What's that about? I
guess it's the only one which has results announced by a Dame.
--
Al Eisner

Andy Evans

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Sep 20, 2021, 5:37:35 AMSep 20
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On Monday, 20 September 2021 at 00:54:38 UTC+1, Al Eisner wrote:
> My own favorite in the finals was Kobayashu's Bartók. I thought Lanyi
> played the Brahms well, but I'm picky about the work and wasn't
> I listened only to the first movement of Choni's Beethoven, and did not
> take to him as a pianist.

We're pretty much on the same page here. Kobayashu should become more of a name than Alim, together with many second and third place pianists (or even further back) who went on to fame e.g. Berezovsky, Ogawa, Lortie, Uchida, Schiff, Queffelec, Postnikova, Krainev.......

HT

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Sep 20, 2021, 6:13:52 AMSep 20
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Op maandag 20 september 2021 om 11:37:35 UTC+2 schreef Andy Evans:
Beisembayev did well overall. He also won the popular vote. Not a bad sign for a young pianist on the brink of an international career. Kobayashi was as nondescript as he was in Brussels (where he didn't make it to the second round). Zang or Roh would have been more interesting. However, he knows how to play the piano, and made the right choices.

Henk

Andy Evans

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Sep 20, 2021, 7:15:27 AMSep 20
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On Monday, 20 September 2021 at 11:13:52 UTC+1, hvt...@xs4all.nl wrote:
Kobayashi was as nondescript as he was in Brussels (where he didn't make it to the second round). Zang or Roh would have been more interesting. However, he knows how to play the piano, and made the right choices. > Henk

Agree - Zang and Roh were good in previous rounds. They just didn't shine in chamber music.

Altogether not a memorable year. No outstanding talent this time. Shame. Many good techniques, but that's not enough without a memorable ability at interpretation.

HT

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Sep 20, 2021, 8:20:24 AMSep 20
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Op maandag 20 september 2021 om 13:15:27 UTC+2 schreef Andy Evans:
Compared with Brussels, it was an excellent year for Leeds, both candidates and jury. The level was generally high.

Henk

Al Eisner

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Sep 20, 2021, 2:48:07 PMSep 20
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On Sun, 19 Sep 2021, Al Eisner wrote:

I managed to delete a line from this paragraph:

> My own favorite in the finals was Kobayashu's Bartók. I thought Lanyi
> played the Brahms well, but I'm picky about the work and wasn't
> I listened only to the first movement of Choni's Beethoven, and did not
> take to him as a pianist.

It should read:

My own favorite in the finals was Kobayashu's Bartók. I thought Lanyi
played the Brahms well, but I'm picky about the work and wasn't really
satisfied with some combination of his and orchestral interpretive choices.
I listened only to the first movement of Choni's Beethoven, and did not
take to him as a pianist.

--
Al Eisner

Al Eisner

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Sep 20, 2021, 3:03:33 PMSep 20
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As I mentioned earlier, I was impressed by Beisembayev's Op. 111 as well
as Kobayashi's Bartók concerto. But unlike the two of you, I heard very
little of the competition. and cannot form any judgment other than
that both seem worth some attention in the future. (Also, for me,
good chamber players are as important as good soloists.)
--
Al Eisner

Jeffrey Smith

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Sep 22, 2021, 3:57:52 PMSep 22
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The RLPO which played the concerto finals was conducted by Andrew
Manze, a contributor to this group over the years.

Jeffrey Smith.
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