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Calgary's Honens International Piano Competition announces five finalists

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22-year-old Jong-Hai Park is the youngest of this year’s Honens finalists (Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition photo)

The Honens International Piano Competition announced its five finalists late last night. The sole Canadian entrant, Avan Yu, did not make the list.

The final round of the competition is being held Thursday and Friday (Oct. 25 & 26) with the Calgary Philharmonic under music director Roberto Minczuk. The five contenders are: Italian Lorenzo Cossi (aged 30), Russians Pavel Kolesnikov (23) and Maria Mazo (30), South Korean Jong-Hai Park (22) and American Eric Zuber (27).

The winner, referred to as the Honens Laureate, gets a world-leading $100,000 in cash, plus a recording contract and career development package the competition says is worth $500,000.

The final round will be streamed live, beginning at 9:30 p.m. (Eastern) on Thursday and Friday. The jury will deliberate immediately after the final performance.

Three of the finalists will play the first piano concerto by Brahms, two will tackle Tchaikovsky (the first, of course) and Zuber will offer  Rachmaninov’s second.

The jury for this portion of the competition includes Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker as well as Michael Spring, the creative force behind the fine piano recording programme at Britain’s Hyperion records (the label of record for Canadians Angela Hewitt and Marc-André Hamelin, among many other greats).

For details on how to follow online, click here.

Here, for fun, is Cossi performing a Bach-Busoni showpiece, the Prelude and Fugue (BWV 552) on the hymn tune we know at St Anne (O God Our Help in Ages Past) at the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition three years ago. Who needs an orchestra when there are pieces like this to be tackled?

The Prelude:

The gorgeous Fugue:

 John Terauds


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