Jun 10, 2009
Three extraordinary pianists selected for the Sylff Chamber Music Seminar, hosted by Austria’s Universität für Music und darstellende Kunst Wien in 2008, came together again for one of the world’s most prestigious music events – the 2009 Van Cliburn Piano Competition. The three were amongst the elite group of 29 competitors invited to Texas for the live rounds, amongst the thousands who auditioned in six cities in China, Europe and the USA. They were Naomi Kudo (USA & Japan) from the Juilliard School; Natacha Kudritskaya (Ukraine) from the Paris Conservatoire; and Vassilis Varvaresos (Greece), from the Juilliard School.
As I watched each perform in Texas, I thought about their remarkable performances in Vienna’s legendary Musikverein a year ago, thanks to the SYLFF program. I remembered the incredible evening we spent in the tavern where Beethoven penned his famous ‘Heiligenstadt testament’ 200 years ago; an evening of intense musical discussion, authentic Austrian food, folksongs sung with the local accordionist . . . and then came the moment when Vassilis decided it was time to teach his colleagues how to have a really special time, Greek style. And he got up and began to dance, and one by one, pulled his friends to their feet and they began to dance in an exuberant line in the middle of the tavern, as the accordion played on. It was unforgettable.
You can hear them perform. Go to www.cliburn.tv/# and click to launch the Competition Webcast, then select “Preliminary Archives” and you can hear them. It’s not to be missed!
Bärli Nugent, D.M.A.
Assistant Dean and Director of Chamber Music
The Juilliard School