World's best pianists apply for competition

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The four top place-getters in the 2014 Kerikeri International Piano Competition: Sylvia Jiang (NZ), second (left); Ayesha Gough (Australia), third; Alex Raineri (Australia), first; Xuan He (China), fourth.
The four top place-getters in the 2014 Kerikeri International Piano Competition: Sylvia Jiang (NZ), second (left); Ayesha Gough (Australia), third; Alex Raineri (Australia), first; Xuan He (China), fourth.

The organisers of New Zealand's only international classical piano competition are expecting a rush of entries as the deadline to apply draws near.

Competition director of the Kerikeri International Piano Competition, John Jackets, said it is traditional to receive a flurry of last minute inquiries and entries.

"Many are from the other side of the world and will be looking at more than 750 competitions worldwide and deciding if Kerikeri is for them.

"Others may be waiting for some sort of 'divine intervention' before entering but, in the end, we always have a healthy list of high-class pianists who want to come to the Far North to play."

The biennial competition has a solid, worldwide, reputation for attracting international contestants, with New Zealand pianists also keen to enter because of the event's international reputation.

Entrants have until midnight March 11 to apply. From an anticipated list of over 50 entries, two independent assessors will judge the standard of the anonymous audio recordings and then decide on the final line-up of 14 pianists who will perform at Kerikeri's Turner Centre. That selection will be made by mid-April.

Mr Jackets said there are numerous reasons why so many contestants apply to come to Kerikeri. "It's mostly a broadening of experience and the chance to gain some international recognition. Some are 'professional' entrants who go to competitions all over the world. For New Zealanders, it's a chance to perform alongside those of a high calibre of competence and for nearly everyone it's the opportunity to meet their peers from around the world."

The 2016 adjudicators are: Eleanor Wong, senior lecturer (keyboard), artist-in-residence Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts; Jan Jiracek Von Arnim, professor of piano University for Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, artistic director of the International Beethoven Piano Competition, Vienna; Albert Tiu, associate professor of piano at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Singapore.

- Northern Advocate

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