The 2013 Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition will be presented by the Connecticut Alliance for Music (CAM) with the support of the Westport Arts Center, on Saturday and Sunday, November 23 and 24, at Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue. The media sponsor is WSHU.
Now celebrating its 42nd year, the bi-annual event is named for the late Heida Hermanns, an acclaimed concert pianist who lived in Westport with her husband Artur for more than 40 years.
The goal of the competition is to give support to young musicians, aged 19 through 35, in the early stages of their professional careers. Past winners include pianists Frederic Chiu and Christopher O’Reilly.
From audition CDs submitted by university and conservatory music students and alumni world-wide, 16 semi-finalists have been chosen to compete on Saturday, November 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. Admission to the semi-finals is free-of-charge and open to the public. Competitors will perform throughout the day for 20 minutes each. Audience members are free to come and go.
At the end of the day, judges will select six pianists to move on to the Sunday finals, November 24, 2 to 5 p.m. The contestants will vie for cash prizes of more than $10,000 – first prize, $5,000; second prize, $2,500; third prize, $1,500; and three honorable mentions, $500 each.
The finalists will each perform a program selected by the judges to demonstrate musical virtuosity and skill. At the conclusion of the performances, the audience will be invited to a reception while the judges determine the winners. Tickets to Sunday’s finals are $20 for adults; free for ages 18 and younger.
The Honorary Chair of the competition is Yue Chu, who was the first prize winner of the 2011 Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston on a full scholarship, and was the first undergraduate student to receive the Presidential Scholarship in two consecutive school years. Yue Chu has been in worldwide competitions and music festivals. He is currently attending the Artist Diploma program at Yale University of Music.
Three distinguished professional pianists will judge the competition: Howard Aibel, Ron Levy, and David Allen Wehr. Aibel is a frequent juror at many national and international piano competitions, and the recent recipient of a Bravo Award at Carnegie Hall for “Lifetime Artistic Achievement in the Field of Performing Arts”; Levy is Associate Artist with the All Seasons Chamber Players, and actively affiliated with the Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard, and NJ PAC; and Wehr, who holds the Jack W. Geitz Distinguished Piano Chair at Duquesne University, is well-known to Connecticut Alliance of Music audiences as a soloist, chamber music performer, and a judge of the Heida Hermanns Competition since 1990.
Connecticut Alliance for Music, for more than 42 years, has been nurturing the talents and careers of young musicians and fostering the love of fine music.
The Westport Arts Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting community through the arts, reaches more than 11,000 people annually through outstanding programs in visual arts, arts education, and the performance arts of chamber music, jazz, and film.