This week I’ve been enjoying a musical treat! I’ve been listening online to the International e-Piano Junior Competition, held this week in the small town of Faribault, Minnesota, situated about an hour south of the Twin Cities.
This event features young musicians, ages seventeen and younger, who have traveled from Canada, China, Costa Rica, Great Britain, United States, and South Korea to compete with one another and play before six carefully-chosen judges. After four rounds of performances, finalists will receive cash prizes. The real prize, however, is the opportunity that accompanies the prestige of winning a major competition: future opportunities to compete, give recitals, and advance their musical career.
The vision of this e-Competition is to use the best in technology to bring music to as wide an audience as possible. The “e” stands for the most advanced technology available to make this event accessible for musicians throughout the world. When pianists audition to compete in this event, they record their performance on a Yamaha Disklavier near their home, eliminating the need to travel long distance, and submit it to the judges. Disklaviers (yes, they are “real” pianos), are equipped with fiber optic technology that delivers an authentic sound, better than a mere audio recording. Listening online is like listening to a live performance. Those who are chosen to compete gather with their peers to play in person for the judges of the e-Competition this week.
This past weekend, twenty-four participants began the competition’s first round. These young people, most of whom began studying the piano when barely past toddlerhood, perform with professional artistry, impeccable technique, and sensitive musicianship. Over the course of their young lives, they’ve dedicated themselves to the discipline and love of music-making.
As I’ve listened to these performers, I’ve wondered: How is it that these young players have been able to learn so much difficult and demanding repertoire and perform it with consistency, flawless technique and unfailing memory? Furthermore, and most important, how do these young musicians, still growing and developing into adulthood, play with such emotional maturity and superb musicianship?
Obviously such achievement could not be accomplished by themselves alone. The journey to their high achievement has required the financial and personal support of entire communities, especially parents and teachers. Nevertheless, the devotion, discipline, talent, and infinite hard work of these young pianists are admirable and inspiring.
If you are so inclined, treat yourselves to a few inspiring moments by going to their website—and enjoy!