Oregon M.D. and pianist, Ron Potts, one of the newly elected Board Directors of Portland Piano International, is a finalist in the Seattle International Piano Festival Amateur Competition. The final round of the competition, new this year to Seattle, will take place on September 20. Best Wishes to you Dr. Potts!
The upcoming Seattle event represents the growing trend of recognizing the many excellent pianists who have (wisely) chosen not to pursue music as a profession, but make piano study an important part of their lives.
The most famous of these events, and the likely inspiration for many of the regional competitions, is the Van Cliburn Foundation’s International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, held every four years. Portland pianist Sylvia Gray was a contestant in the 2007 competition. David Stabler, classical music critic for the Oregonian and one of the judges for the event, wrote about her here:
Stabler followed Sylvia’s progress through the competition, so click on “Cliburn Amateurs Competition” for other archived posts from the Oregonian.
There is also the Cliburn’s YouTube Competition for Amateur Pianists, held this past March for the first time; a second online competition will be held in the summer of 2009. This sure saves a lot of money on travel expenses for the contestants and judges! Here is the basic story from Stabler’s Oregonian blog:
“Building on its competition for amateur pianists, the Van Cliburn Foundation recently held a YouTube contest for amateurs. Christopher Shih, a gastroenterologist from Maryland, won by popular vote. Forty-one amateur pianists, ages 35 and older, took part.
On his video, Shih comes across as a clean and tidy player with an agile technique. He gets an automatic entry to the sixth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, to be held in the spring of 2011 in Fort Worth. Last year, Portland pianist Sylvia Gray competed and came away with new friends and a new confidence in her playing.
Shih won the YouTube contest with his playing of “Los requiebros” from “Goyescas” by Enrique Granados. The Cliburn’s second YouTube Contest will be held in the summer of 2009.”
And one more recent story about a dedicated amateur, this courtesy of thestar.com (Toronto, Canada).
Speaking of competitions, Portland Piano International will host a group of patrons at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. If you are interested in the trip to Fort Worth, Texas for the semifinal round, see details here: