A Candle Burning Brightly In The World of Music Education

International Piano Competition for Young Musicians, Enschede, The Netherlands

The International Piano Competition for Young Musicians in Enschede brings together young pianists from all over the world in pursuit of that illusive first prize.

For anyone who saw my post earlier in the week about the International Piano Competition finals here in Enschede, I am delighted to share that Shan Lui, the 12-year-old from New Zealand who dazzled in the second round, did indeed dazzle again in the final and won equal 1st prize in his age category (Group A), sharing the prize with Rio Ueyama from Poland. Shan also won the Schumer prize for the youngest competitor in the competition, and finally the Audience prize — he was a firm favourite in the concert hall on Saturday night.

Shan Liu, the 12-year-old from New Zealand | © Clare Varney

Group B finalists (the older participants) each had the opportunity to perform the first movement of a Beethoven piano concerto with the East Netherlands Symphony Orchestra. We had two very different interpretations of Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto: firstly, from the Ukrainian pianist, Dmytro Semykras whose playing displayed a beautiful line and great sensitivity in phrasing; and then in contrast, a much more bombastic reading from the German pianist, Simon Haje whose technical brilliance and clear vision won over the judges, earning him the 1st prize.

British Interest

The British interest, Harvey Lin from Windsor, played the first movement from Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto and should be immensely proud of his most polished performance. The finals of the BBC Young Musician of the Year prepared him well.

Huge congratulations to all the participants. This competition really is wonderful and attracts competitors and adjudicators from all around the world.

This year’s jury members were from Germany — Florian Koltun, Ukraine (and Belgium) — Nataliya Chepurenko, China — Xin Wang, Poland — Grzegorz Kurzyñski and the Netherlands — Michail Markov.

Michail Markov- the founder

Started twenty-one years ago by the Russian pianist — Michail Markov, and supported by the ArtEZ Conservatory, this biennial competition for young pianists aims to advance talent, and to wake up the sleeping world of music education. Markov believes that competition is essential for the development of top musical talent.

In an interview in Tubantia last month, Markhov spoke about the importance of memorizing music as a means to finding freedom. How can you ever become free in music if you continue to depend on reading notes? Memorizing music is an essential component of musical competition but nevertheless, interesting words from one who fled his native homeland in 1991, to do just that, find his freedom in the West.

All six finalists in the 11th International Piano Competition, Enschede, May 2022 | Credit: IPCE

The competition is supported by the Alink — Argerich Foundation, an independent worldwide information centre for musicians and competitions, supporting and assisting musicians and competition organisers alike, both in terms of practical advice — planning and preparation for competitions, but also giving financial support where needed.

One of the founders, Gustav Alink (a Dutchman from Den Haag) was present at the finals concert where he gave quite a moving speech about the special place this competition in Enschede has in the vast schedule of competitions open to young pianists around the world. It is this chance to play with an orchestra which makes the competition here in Enschede so special.

Previous winners include the Croatian pianist — Ivan Krpan who went on to win the highly prestigious Bussoni Competition in 2017.

So to conclude, the audience here in Enschede have not just been woken from the sleepy world of music education this past week, but instead have been delighted in the joy and high level of skill on show from these young pianists. This competition is indeed a candle burning brightly in the world of music education. Long may it continue.

Click below to see all the results and watch a live stream of the finals concert and see if you agree with the judging panel…

The 2022 competition was supported by Kaliber Kunstenschool, MIR Hosting, Schumer, Provincie Overijssel, Gemeente Enschede, ArtEZ Conservatory and Graveer Industrie Smink.

This year’s jury members were from Germany — Florian Koltun, Ukraine (and Belgium) — Nataliya Chepurenko, China — Xin Wang, Poland — Grzegorz Kurzyñski and the Netherlands — Michail Markov.



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Clare Varney

Clare Varney


Writer | Mother | Violinist | All things English from a #Dutchkitcheninthesky | https://thespidyeditor.com |