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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 5:36 pm 
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@Scott - Right on to all of those things! A weekend in Chicago with some piano friends would be a blast!!
Besides Macy's taking over Marshall Fields, another change I can't get used to is the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower, which it will always be in my mind...


I must be out of the loop (or "The Loop" as the case may be). When did they change the name of the Sears Tower??? What next, renaming Wrigley Field to "Amazon.com Field" or Soldier's Field to "Oprah Winfrey Field"???

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 6:29 pm 
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Sears Tower info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willis_Tower


They better not touch Wrigley Field!

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:13 am 
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I'm sure you'll have a great time. Always interesting and stimulating to mix with fellow pianists. Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 2:41 pm 
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It really is an interesting experience. And thank you, Andrew, but I haven't even entered yet. The applications won't be ready until the first of July. In the meantime, I will just keep gently prodding you all to enter along with me....so...PLEASE ENTER THE COMPETITION WITH ME! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 3:31 pm 
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Maybe you could tell us a little about the first edition, seeing that you took part. That way we know what to expect and how to prepare.

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 2:12 am 
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Well, first you have to submit an audition CD of recent recordings - about ten minutes worth. Then you wait to see if you are accepted. I think this year there will be many more applicants so it might be even harder to get in. For the actual competition - the way it was last year and probably similar next year, is that there are three rounds. You play for about 10 minutes in the first round, about 20 minutes in the second round, and 30 minutes in final round. Repertoire can be practically any classical piano music but cannot be repeated in subsequent rounds. Also, you don't have to play by memory - they will supply a page-turner if you need one.

One thing I know for sure is that you cannot be too prepared! The level of playing is extremely high - really I felt some of the competitors were professional-level. But still, I liked the fact that most of the competitors were 'normal' people like me ( :lol: ) who just happen to play piano well but happened to also make slips or have memory lapses. And only about 12 people go on to the second round (last year the first round had about 55 competitors). I was eliminated after the first round, but I didn't mind because I was so relieved that I had done it in the first place. It was a real big personal challenge to myself - something I just had to do sometime in my life.

So all you have to do now is pick out your pieces and start practicing. I don't think I had a whole year to prepare last time like we do this time so this is a good thing. Let's hope you, me, and anyone else here is ready to play our heart out next May! One more thing - you get to play on a Fazioli, which is so sweet....!

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 6:44 am 
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This all sounds feaseable. 50 hours of repertoire is not out of this world.

I would say there are amateurs and amateurs. In their definition a someone who could have been a concert pianist but who happens to make his living as a diamond merchant or an astonaut would qualify. Reading many of the biographies on the site I notice many mambers are in that category, for example (not that any of them sells diamonds or lives on the moon). I have heard of pianists who gave up because they did not want to live out of a suitcase and to lead a normal life.

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:36 am 
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richard66 wrote:
This all sounds feaseable. 50 hours of repertoire is not out of this world.

I would say there are amateurs and amateurs. In their definition a someone who could have been a concert pianist but who happens to make his living as a diamond merchant or an astonaut would qualify. Reading many of the biographies on the site I notice many mambers are in that category, for example (not that any of them sells diamonds or lives on the moon). I have heard of pianists who gave up because they did not want to live out of a suitcase and to lead a normal life.


50 hours? :shock: Hehe.

Yes, I've noticed that the definition of amateur tends to be a bit spurious in the competition context. I don't think that someone who has been conservatoire-trained, done piano as a career, but then moved on to work as something else is really an amateur just because they don't derive an income from the piano.


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 1:38 pm 
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It's a very long competition.... :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 3:28 pm 
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I meant a total of 50 minutes a person! Yes, for those listening... it might well be 50 hours!

I am not being self-depricating here, but I am not sure I would be (at present at least) capable even of being accepted. I certainly feel very modest when I read some of the biographies of the "Amateurs".

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:07 pm 
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I know what you mean, some of the bios are intimidating. But if you go into a competition like this with the notion of just challenging yourself, and not trying to 'beat' those big-shots, then you'll have a better experience. Plus, I heard a lot of music I had not heard before so I got some good ideas for pieces that I wanted to play myself some day. And then it's just sort of fun to see how people behave at a function like this. You see all kinds....

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 2:30 pm 
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What is the story I was told once by my earstwhile teacher? That at a competition at the Paris Conservatoire one girl came along and sat. Then the started to adjust the height of the stool. Then she sat down. Adusted again, adjusted, sat... At which point the judges told her, "Young lady, you may leave: you are disqualified."

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 3:16 pm 
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Oh boy, that sounds quite scary!

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:21 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Chicago Dog Friendly Hotel
__________
What is the story I was told once by my earstwhile teacher? That at a competition at the Paris Conservatoire one girl came along and sat. Then the started to adjust the height of the stool. Then she sat down. Adusted again, adjusted, sat... At which point the judges told her, "Young lady, you may leave: you are disqualified."

______
What a bummer!!!!
Poor thing :(
Hopefully by now, she has made it big and the judge is kicking himself/herself for disqualifying her!

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:57 pm 
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I just found out that I am accepted - that I'll be in the competition in May. Yay! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:46 pm 
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Congratulations and good luck! Look for me in 2014 :|

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:56 am 
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musical-md wrote:
Congratulations and good luck! Look for me in 2014 :|

Thank you, Eddy!
Ok, I hope so... :)

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:41 pm 
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That's great news! Hope you have a wonderful time.


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:53 am 
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andrew wrote:
That's great news! Hope you have a wonderful time.

I appreciate that, Andrew. Thank you! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:47 am 
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Monica,

Quote:
I just found out that I am accepted - that I'll be in the competition in May. Yay! :D


Congratulations! I went to the website and I think I may be able to go to it :) . I graduate from SIU in early May, so I should be in Chicago around that time.

What piece(s) are you playing?!? Or is it a surprise? :P

I was looking on the website but I didn't find a place where tickets are sold. Do you pay for them the night of?

Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:46 pm 
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pianoman342 wrote:
Congratulations! I went to the website and I think I may be able to go to it :) . I graduate from SIU in early May, so I should be in Chicago around that time.

Thank you, Riley. You, Andrew, and Eddy make me feel good. :)

pianoman342 wrote:
What piece(s) are you playing?!? Or is it a surprise? :P

I was looking on the website but I didn't find a place where tickets are sold. Do you pay for them the night of?

Riley


I would love to see you in Chicago :!: Looks like I'm playing at about 11:15 on the morning of May 23rd, but if you can't come that day, I will also be there most of the other days too. Most likely I will not advance after the first round, but I like to watch/listen to the other competitors too. You hear some really great music.

Regarding tickets - I don't know, but I'll check into it. As to what I'm playing - they will probably post that information when it gets closer but right now I'd like to keep it secret. I'll tell you on Facebook though.

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 3:37 pm 
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Six days, nine minutes, and 10 seconds to go....but who's counting... :)

Here is some information on the event if anyone is interested:

http://chicagopianocompetition.org/home/

They will be streaming all of it on live tv too.(I play on Wednesday morning at 11:23 Chicago time) The site is called Gigity.TV. You have to set up an account in order to view the broadcast, but it's easy to do. Here is the link:

http://gigity.tv/home.php

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 4:03 pm 
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Good luck Monica! What a great experience. I'm sure you'll do well. I look forward to watching the stream.

Matt

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 1:48 pm 
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Thank you, Matthew. :) I need a lot of luck - I'm sure I will make a total fool of myself....
Sorry I have not listened to your new recordings; I have no time currently.

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 1:43 am 
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No worries Monica. No matter what happens, you will not look like a fool. Nothing ventured, nothing gained right? Even if you don't "gain" a 1st place trophy this experience will enrich you in many ways... I believe you said this is your second competition, so you're an old pro practically! :wink:

Considering what I've learned about you through these forums, I'm quite positive that you are well prepared and have undoubtedly put in the practice time. Although, I do understand that there's always the feeling that one could/should have practiced more!

Now don't you feel SOOOOO much better after such an inspiring pep-talk?? :shock:

Anyway, all the PS members including myself will certainly be rooting for you!

Matt

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 1:31 pm 
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I'm sure you'll be fine; your submissions always sound well-prepared and clean. Best of luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 2:50 am 
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Thanks, Matthew and Andrew! :D

One more day to go. I'm very nervous and pretty much scared to death (what was I thinking when I signed up for this... :roll: ). Well anyway, I know I'll survive, but it's just knowing what happens to my fingers when I get nervous. They shake so badly that they go all over the place and I have a hard time trying to control them , like make them land on the right notes. That's the part I hate! I love to play piano and I like to have others listen to the music I like to play, except I'm terrible in public. I know the music well, but I can't control my shaky fingers. I also have another little problem: I bought some new shoes to go with my new dress but the shoes fall off when I walk. I'm a little worried that one of them may fly off my foot when I'm walking to the piano and possible hit a camera or something. Actually, that would be a good thing - maybe I can knock out all the power . Then I can play in the dark! :D Hmm.... :idea: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 10:58 am 
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pianolady wrote:
One more day to go. I'm very nervous and pretty much scared to death (what was I thinking when I signed up for this... :roll: ). Well anyway, I know I'll survive, but it's just knowing what happens to my fingers when I get nervous. They shake so badly that they go all over the place and I have a hard time trying to control them , like make them land on the right notes. That's the part I hate! I love to play piano and I like to have others listen to the music I like to play, except I'm terrible in public. I know the music well, but I can't control my shaky fingers. I also have another little problem: I bought some new shoes to go with my new dress but the shoes fall off when I walk. I'm a little worried that one of them may fly off my foot when I'm walking to the piano and possible hit a camera or something.


I don't know how much public performance you have done, but it can be a good idea to do mock concerts in front of friends. I also sometimes rehearse for a public concert by going to the piano, running through the programme and treating it as a performance - i.e. imagine that it is recital day, imagine that there is an audience there, dress as I would on the concert platform, and run through my pieces in exactly the planned order, no stopping for anything. Re the shoes: get an appropriately coloured and camouflaged tape to hold them in place? But do check that this doesn't affect your pedalling! (Tbh, if they aren't a great fit, I would check pedalling wearing them anyway.)


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 5:33 pm 
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andrew wrote:

I don't know how much public performance you have done, but it can be a good idea to do mock concerts in front of friends. I also sometimes rehearse for a public concert by going to the piano, running through the programme and treating it as a performance - i.e. imagine that it is recital day, imagine that there is an audience there, dress as I would on the concert platform, and run through my pieces in exactly the planned order, no stopping for anything. Re the shoes: get an appropriately coloured and camouflaged tape to hold them in place? But do check that this doesn't affect your pedalling! (Tbh, if they aren't a great fit, I would check pedalling wearing them anyway.)

I have not played in public nearly enough in order to gain confidence. That's my main problem. But I have been playing my piece in front of my family all this past week - almost every night. Just made them all sit on the couch and watch me play. That made me feel different when playing, so hopefully it helps a little. And my new shoes fit fine, except when I walk. They have a pretty high heel and I have been practicing while wearing them (pedaling). Also yesterday I had them on the whole time in order to break them in. According to my sons I looked very silly because I was walking around in high heels all day while wearing gym/workout shorts..... :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 8:37 pm 
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Just accept that things will go wrong. Don't worry about it at all, just give it your best shot and when something happens keep the stony face and pretend it was written just like that. Good luck !

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 3:27 am 
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techneut wrote:
Just accept that things will go wrong. Don't worry about it at all, just give it your best shot and when something happens keep the stony face and pretend it was written just like that. Good luck !

No chance of me keeping a stony face - I seem to laugh at the most inappropriate times. But thank you! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 9:50 am 
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I wish you the best of luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 9:54 am 
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pianolady wrote:
No chance of me keeping a stony face - I seem to laugh at the most inappropriate times. But thank you! :)

Probably best not to do that.
The stony face was a tip from my former teacher. Whatever goes wrong, do not show any surprise or emotion, do not stop or correct, act as if nothing happened.

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 10:16 pm 
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I watched most of the first half. I thought you did very well; it would have been easy to be intimidated by the performance immediately prior to yours. Brava!


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 11:07 pm 
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Yes indeed. Well played, Monica! And an impressive stony face while playing, leaving the big smile until the end.
Your fingers didn't shake and your shoes stayed on. What more can you ask for?

After the first two competitors were sadly let down by nervousness-induced memory lapses, you had the good sense to use a score and a turner, even though you seemed to be playing it all from memory anyway. If nothing else, it's one less thing to worry about going wrong.

Interesting to see some Mompou played, even if not by you. You'll have some up your sleeve for the next round.


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 2:25 am 
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Thank you, Richard, Andrew, and Rainer! And thanks for watching, Andrew and Rainer!!! :)

I decided to bring my music up to the piano at the last minute. I heard other competitors say that they were going to do that, and so that's why I did it. And I am glad that I did!! I didn't look up at the music except for one or two seconds when I had a little stumble and looked up, found my place right away, and then kept going. If my music wasn't up on the stand, it could have been a disaster; I would have been floundering around trying to figure out how to keep going.

And the reason I was able to keep a 'stony face' was that I got a headache right when I started playing - about 30 seconds into the piece. And I'm talking a very, very bad headache - like someone stuck a knife into my brain. My head was throbbing; I thought I was going to pass out at any minute. Never have I had a headache like that! I get normal ones once in a while, but this was different. Don't know what was going on, probably just stress or something, but I sure was glad I got to the end of the piece!!

So that's it...tomorrow I go and get to sit in the audience the whole day and do nothing but relax and watch the other competitors. Ahhhh... :)

p.s. Rainer...if...and that's a big IF I advance into the second round (HIGHLY DOUBTFUL!!), there is no Mompou on my list this time....

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 12:23 am 
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pianolady wrote:
And the reason I was able to keep a 'stony face' was that I got a headache right when I started playing - about 30 seconds into the piece. And I'm talking a very, very bad headache - like someone stuck a knife into my brain. My head was throbbing; I thought I was going to pass out at any minute. Never have I had a headache like that! I get normal ones once in a while, but this was different. Don't know what was going on, probably just stress or something, but I sure was glad I got to the end of the piece!!


I always take painkillers before going on stage. A concert grand fully open can make a lot more noise than you are used to when practicing, plus there is stage lighting to consider, to say nothing of stress.


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 2:35 am 
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andrew wrote:
pianolady wrote:
And the reason I was able to keep a 'stony face' was that I got a headache right when I started playing - about 30 seconds into the piece. And I'm talking a very, very bad headache - like someone stuck a knife into my brain. My head was throbbing; I thought I was going to pass out at any minute. Never have I had a headache like that! I get normal ones once in a while, but this was different. Don't know what was going on, probably just stress or something, but I sure was glad I got to the end of the piece!!


I always take painkillers before going on stage. A concert grand fully open can make a lot more noise than you are used to when practicing, plus there is stage lighting to consider, to say nothing of stress.


Now you tell me! :) Oh well, another lesson learned so thanks for that, Andrew! Next time.... :wink:

Also, I just found out that I did not advance into the semi-finals.

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 11:05 am 
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pianolady wrote:
Also, I just found out that I did not advance into the semi-finals.


That's a pity, but you do have to bear in mind that "amateur" contests aren't always 100% truly amateur. I had a chat with my teacher about this a few years back when I was contemplating playing in one, and he said that the definition of amateur for competition purposes tends to be along the lines of "does not earn a living from music performance or teaching" - he wasn't very flattering about this definition. The result of this is that you get some competitors who have gone through the full college/conservatory training system and emerged at the end to in effect be budding professionals, but who then change career and go and do something else for a living. Not wishing to detract from some of the fine playing I heard, but there were performers in your group who sounded professionally trained and whose resumés suggested they were in that category. I thought you should be very proud of your performance, especially when you've done little playing in public.


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 11:24 am 
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True, a lot of these people are not amateurs by any reasonable definition, and a true amateur (one without years of professional training) doesn't stand a chance against them in a competition. It will be hard to draw a clear line of course. In any case it gives a good 'real' amateur the chance to perform in public and that is good.

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 3:14 am 
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Thank you for saying that last thing, Andrew. :) I still don't really know how I played because I have not seen the video; it's not up on the website site. I'm sure I'll hate it though. At least I can say that I listened to all the other competitors and I was not the worst one. And honestly I was a little surprised by a couple people who advanced into the semi-finals - I didn't think they were that good. Without naming names or pieces (which would give things away), one person played a Grieg piece that I know well except he/she slowed down drastically on the hard part. Another person played a Gershwin piece I know well but he/she missed a bunch of notes because of playing to fast. And another person, although he/she played the pieces nicely, they were relatively easy pieces. But those three people advanced anyway. I'm a bit discouraged, but nothing I can do about it. And out of the 63 competitors, 24 had formal training and have degrees in piano performance. I'm pretty sure many others do too, they just didn't put that information in their bios. One person I was talking to today said there is an amateur piano competition in Texas (I think) with the rule that competitors can hold no degrees in music whatsoever.

Tomorrow I signed up to play in an impromptu recital - no judges in the audience, just the other competitors. Still a little nerve-wracking, but I don't think I'll get that 'knife-in-my-brain' headache again. ( :lol: I know, that sounds so dramatic, but it's an accurate description.... :lol: ). Also, I forgot to mention that I met up with another PS artist - Mark Hensley, who played very nicely. And Riley Tucker was actually in the audience when I played on Wednesday but I didn't know it. He and I are planning on meeting up again on Sunday; we're both hoping to rub elbows with some of the famous pianists that are in town for a piano festival in Symphony Center. I am going to bring my camera.... :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 10:47 am 
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pianolady wrote:
Thank you for saying that last thing, Andrew. :) I still don't really know how I played because I have not seen the video; it's not up on the website site. I'm sure I'll hate it though. At least I can say that I listened to all the other competitors and I was not the worst one. And honestly I was a little surprised by a couple people who advanced into the semi-finals - I didn't think they were that good. Without naming names or pieces (which would give things away), one person played a Grieg piece that I know well except he/she slowed down drastically on the hard part. Another person played a Gershwin piece I know well but he/she missed a bunch of notes because of playing to fast. And another person, although he/she played the pieces nicely, they were relatively easy pieces. But those three people advanced anyway. I'm a bit discouraged, but nothing I can do about it. And out of the 63 competitors, 24 had formal training and have degrees in piano performance. I'm pretty sure many others do too, they just didn't put that information in their bios. One person I was talking to today said there is an amateur piano competition in Texas (I think) with the rule that competitors can hold no degrees in music whatsoever.


You were far from being the worst one. Of the dozen or so that I watched, they broadly fell into three groups - those who presumably were true amateurs, and sounded like amateurs; those who presumably also were true amateurs, but who played nicely and gave very acceptable presentations; and those who appeared formally trained and played in the manner one would expect of such a person. You were at the top end of the second group and as far as I'm concerned you were in the top half of those I watched. I think you chose wisely: you played music with which you were clearly comfortable and au fait, didn't fall into the trap of attempting something outlandish and having it go haywire, and you got a nice sound out of the piano. When something went slightly wrong, you covered it very well and if someone wasn't listening attentively they wouldn't have noticed. Re the judges' decision, I don't know what calibre they are, but it may well be that you know the pieces in question better than them and their judging is a bit superficial. And re formal training, as far as I'm concerned, if you've been to Juilliard or Curtis (etc), you're never an amateur: indeed you've had teaching that some pros would kill for.


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 1:14 pm 
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Yes, that's just it, several of the competitors had been to Juilliard or Curtis. The five judges were all highly respected heads of the piano division in area universities. They did have quite as huge job - listening and critiquing four full days worth of piano playing, but still makes you wonder about everything....

Anyway, the competition is now over. Before it started, I told myself that I was never going to enter another competition, but now I am already thinking about what pieces to play for the next one! :lol: Aside from my nerves almost getting the better of me, it really is a great experience. And although I was aware of the three video cameras pointed at me, which was extra scary, I really basically forgot about them once I started to play. Again like at the last competition, I met some nice new friends from all around the world and it was fun to share 'piano stories' and our music with one another. I also came away with a list of some new piano pieces I heard being played by other competitors, so I can't wait to get back to my own piano and start learning some new stuff.

Like I mentioned earlier, I met up with two PS members. The first is Mark Hensley. He's very nice and I watched him play Bach during his competition round and Beethoven in our "Loser's Recital" on Saturday. He's a good player and what was interesting to me is that he used a tablet on the piano for his music - the kind where you turn pages with a foot pedal. It's really neat.

Yesterday I met up with Riley Tucker and boy did we have a great time together! He is also such a nice young man and I hope we can see each other again in the near future. We met outside of Orchestra Hall where a big piano festival was taking place (just a block away from where the amateur piano competition was being held). It was a free event and he and I went right down to the front and sat in the third row in the middle so we were only about 15 feet away from the piano(s) on stage. We watched Emmanuel Ax and Jorge Osorio play some wonderful music, but the highlight for me and I think Riley too was Marc-Andre Hamelin. He was amazing as ever! Really, I'm still in a state of awe from watching him play. And we were sitting so close to him too...very neat! The day before I was with another competitor/friend and we were goofing around on a piano and suddenly the comedy duo, Igudesman and Joo, walked right by us and then ten minutes later Marc-Andre Hamelin did too. Needless to say, I was shocked and simply stared at these people as they walked by (I believe I at least blurted out 'hi' to Igudesman and Joo, but not a word came out of my mouth when Hamelin walked by). But yesterday, the best thing was that during a break in the action, Riley and I decided to go get a bite to eat and there were not many people in the lobby as we walked through, but I caught site of Marc-Andre Hamelin standing there talking to someone and Riley and I were beside ourselves with excitement. We stood a little to the side wondering if we should approach him or even if we had the nerve to do so. Then the person MAH was talking to left and we sort of glided over towards MAH (that's how I felt, like we were floating on air...haha) and Riley took the lead and spoke with MAH and shook his hand and then I did too! Wow wow wow!! :D And I actually spoke in complete sentences for a change and he was very gracious and made of bit of small talk with Riley and me and then that was it. He went on his way and Riley and I about died from being so happy that we got a 'close encounter' with MAH. :) :)

After that, Riley and I went to a nearby restaurant and then went to watch some of the final round of the amateur piano competition. We parted ways after that, Riley went back to Orchestra Hall, and I stayed with the competition people because there was a dinner afterwards for everybody.

Here are few photos of Riley and me at Symphony Center and also a couple photos of Mark Hensley.


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 2:55 pm 
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Monica,
I'm very happy for your experience and proud for all of us that you participated. I hope we'll allways have some American from PS participating in this competition. I appreciate your fine narrative too. I have to find that link now so I can watch some playing!

Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 6:41 pm 
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That's a great thing when PS members can meet up and even shake hands with someone like MAH. Jealous now.... There's a similar amateur competition in Paris, but I've not so far considered going there.

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 7:31 pm 
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Quote:
Yesterday I met up with Riley Tucker and boy did we have a great time together!


I had the pleasure of meeting Monica yesterday, it was a special honor to meet in person "pianolady," :D who has produced so many wonderful, characterful performances that are on the main site for everyone to listen to! It was really nice of her to pal around with me, have lunch and she even gave me a free ticket to the amateur competition! I was going to pay at the door otherwise :roll: And it was special to meet on this day because it was the one when the music instrument of the piano was being celebrated in the city, CSO called it "Chicago Piano Day" :)

Yesterday was a day I will never forget, I hope I don't anyway :lol: It was a day for piano enthusiasts (non-players) but perhaps specifically inspirational and target marketed for real-life players :P . If only more members on the forum had the opportunity to see the performances Monica and I saw! Emanuel Ax playing a duet with David Hyde Pierce (Dr. Crane on Frasier :lol: ), Igudesman and Joo performing Ave Maria (it was like watching a piano lesson with a strict teacher, very funny) Marc-Andre Hamelin playing Alkan and his own work requiring virtousic technique (his paganni variations had it's funny moments), Jorge Osorio playing some masterworks of the concert repetoire (really excellent playing of chopin) and Gorden Cheng who I saw compete for the final round of the chicago amateur competition (finally I'm on topic :lol:) and who Monica told me today won the competition. I'm almost not surprised :wink: , his performances of a piece each by Mozart and Biscardi were truly incredible. The end of his Mozart was met by very loud cheers from the audience :!:

What Monica said is true, though it is still sinking in--I met Marc Andre Hamelin yesterday and shook his hand! It is true, we engaged in small talk (something about the weather in Chicago :lol: ) but it was great to see him and his wife Cathy Fuller. To think, for the longest time, the closest I had gotten to seeing him was through Youtube videos.. :lol:

After the amateur competition I had a listen to Etudes by Liszt and Rachmaninov performed by the well-known Valentina Lisitsa. Her ability to recall sheets and sheets of music with hardly any margin of error, totally memorized and with a range of expression was to put it simply, spellbinding :shock: was totally beyond spellbinding :P :P :P you should have been there Monica, she was spectacular.

Jeremy Denk gave some some great accounts of Ligeti's etudes. By the way he was moving while he was playing, you really could tell the music was a part of him. It was like he was channeling the spirit of Ligeti! He said he just released a CD of his Ligeti. Hmm, I might get that... 8)

The finale was phenomenal. It was the tour de force of the day. Imagine 8 pianos on the stage and 8 page turners next to each performer. Well that was the case for the first three pieces. The ride of the valkeries, a Hamelin arrangement of Maple Leaf Rag, a Rossini piece, there were up to 8 players playing together, like a small ensemble performance (there where only eight players but each one of the pianos was a grand, all for one. The final piece was Stars and Stripes forever by Sousa. How appropriate, a military march just in time for memorial day! For this piece, the conductor, Mei-Ann Chen didn't conduct eight players, but sixteen :o ! page turners turned into duetists! With 16 strong, it was quite a march! At one part of the refrain, the audience clapped along (Ms. Chen continued to conduct, ignoring them) :P The piece ended, Mr. Ax introduced the performers and duetists and they left the stage. I went home in awe.

Still in awe :lol: ,

Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:52 am 
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Eddy - I hope to see you in 2014!!

Riley - you're sweet! It was my pleasure to 'pal around with you'! And I'm glad you got to enjoy more fine piano playing after we went separate ways. If only I could have split myself in two, then I would have gone with you back to Orchestra Hall.

Just received an email from a piano friend -a photo of me playing the beautiful Fazioli on Saturday. I love that piano! Downstairs in the showroom is a 10-foot Fazioli. It costs about the same as a house! The piano at the competition was a restored 100 year old Steinway concert grand. It was a nice piano too...lovely warm tone and slightly stiff keys, which I'm used to from playing on my Yamaha for many years.


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 12:09 pm 
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Sounds great. I'm impressed they managed to get so many "names" to come along.


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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:45 pm 
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andrew wrote:
Sounds great. I'm impressed they managed to get so many "names" to come along.


Emmanuel Ax was in charge of putting together the festival and one of the other artists made a joke something like...."When Manny Ax asks you to do something, you don't turn him down."

(try saying "Ax asks" three times....I can't say it one time! :lol: )

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 Post subject: Re: Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2012
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:47 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
(try saying "Ax asks" three times....I can't say it one time! :lol: )

Your dentures pop out don't they ? :mrgreen:

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