Piano contest will give winners chance to play with orchestra

August 20, 1993|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Contributing Writer

When Simone Pedroni, a 24-year-old Italian pianist, won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition last June, he was awarded $15,000, his own CD recording, a Carnegie Hall debut, professional management and a succession of engagements worth in excess of $200,000.

The reward for the winners of the first Chesapeake Youth Symphony piano competition won't be as grand -- $100 and an appearance with the orchestra -- but it still is good reason for young pianists in our area to emulate Mr. Pedroni by repairing to the nearest piano to practice, practice and practice some more.

The competition, which is scheduled Nov. 21 at Ramsey Music Co. on West Street in Annapolis, is being co-sponsored by the orchestra and the Maryland Music Teachers Association.

It is open to pianists from ninth through 12th grade from Anne Arundel, Charles, St. Mary's and Calvert counties and the Eastern Shore. These are the areas from which the orchestra draws its players. Contestants also must be studying with a member of the Maryland Music Teachers Association.

This is the second year for the piano competition and the first in which cash prizes will be awarded, says Cecilia Wyatt, chairman of the competition.

Dr. and Mrs. Henry Virts of Mechanicsville, in St. Mary's County, have offered the money in memory of their son, Ward Alan Virts, a former student of her's, Mrs. Wyatt says.

Mr. Virts died last spring in Spain, where he was teaching piano.

Three winners will be chosen, each of whom will receive $100 and play a movement of the Mozart G-major Concerto with the orchestra and its conductor, Arne Running, in January.

"We're taking three because of the uniqueness of this opportunity," Mrs. Wyatt explains. "Talented high school pianists just don't get much of a chance to perform with an orchestra so we want to take as many as we can."

Composed in Mozart's extraordinarily productive year of 1784, the concerto is one of the true sparklers of the canon with elegant, scintillating outer movements surrounding a gorgeous, heart-felt andante.

This competition will be unique in another respect.

"We're the only outfit around that schedules our competition eight weeks before the actual concert," says Mrs. Wyatt. "Our emphasis is on education, not on the prize itself. We want our winners to have time to work with the orchestra and the conductor in rehearsal so that the all-important gelling process can take place."

To apply, call Mrs. Wyatt at 263-8416.

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