NTD’s 6th international piano competition continued for the second day on Sunday in New York. Thirteen contestants qualified for the semifinals.
At Monday’s semifinals, contestants are required to perform a special piano piece commissioned by the competition.
Since 2016, the competition has made a special effort to commission a piano arrangement of a piece by D.F., the artistic director of Shen Yun Performing Arts, which is a world-renowned music and dance company that has led the way in the revival of traditional Chinese culture through the arts.
This year, the commissioned piece “The Sacred Journey” was arranged by Qin Yuan, a composer and piano accompanist with Shen Yun. Qin is a prolific composer with notable expertise in delivering the melodies and rhythms of ancient Chinese music through the language of classical music as it was established in the West.
Contestants shared their feeling about playing the commissioned piece.
Contestant Ilya Ramlav, who was originally from Russia, said: “When I started playing it, I realized that it’s very beautiful and colorful and I see that it’s very different from traditional European music we are used to performing.”
He said it’s expressed differently because of its fusion of Eastern and Western music.
“I think the combination of it can create a very interesting message for the audience to listen and to get to know different shades of music, not being particularly focused on one side.”
Stephen Gott, from the UK, loved learning the unique composition.
“I really loved learning it,” Gott said. “I thought at first having only 45 days to learn it, it would be really challenging and it was, don’t get me wrong, quite challenging. But I really loved the piece and it didn’t feel like work at all.”
“There’s also English themes in there. Like King Henry the Eighth’s Green Sleeves, which is rumored that he wrote that. So it’s nice as an English person to be able to hear that crossover heritage in different cultures.”
Some contestants find the commissioned piece challenging.
Yung-Yi Chen from Taiwan said: “It’s not easy. It requires a lot of effort and time to make it well. But at the same time, I also feel like this is a very beautiful piece. It has many colors that resemble the Asian culture, the Chinese culture.”
Qin Yuan, who arranged the piece for the competition, had some encouraging words.
“When they do perform it, whatever interpretation they bring I want them to make sure that inner meaning is still there. I’ve heard some of their explanations of how they’re practicing the piece and I believe they exceeded my expectations a little bit,” Qin said.
- Aron Alakmeh
- Aruth Masrangsan
- Baryshevskyi Antonii
- Boris Krivoshein
- Carolina Danise
- Evangeliya Delizonas-Khukhua
- Jiusi Zhang
- Maria Narodytska
- Ilya Ramlav
- Tiago Rosario
- Trinity Goff
- Xizhu Liang
- Yung-Yi Chen