The future of the piano at the Paloma O’Shea Santander International Competition | culture

From left to right, the six finalists are: Marcel Takodoro, Jayden Izik Dzorko, Xiaolu Zhang, Matthias Novak, Yu Nitahara and Domonkos Chesabai.
From left to right, the six finalists are: Marcel Takodoro, Jayden Izik Dzorko, Xiaolu Zhang, Matthias Novak, Yu Nitahara and Domonkos Chesabai.crooked Elena

With the map of the 21 participants in this year’s Santander Paloma O’Shea International Piano Competition, not only can the future of the instrument be traced, but also its geography. They belong to 17 countries and the balance between Europe, Asia and America presents very similar proportions, although the Asian weight was noted in the final match among the six countries that passed the big test, which was held on Wednesday and Thursday in the capital of Cantabria and whose result was known on Friday.

They are the Japanese Yu Nitahara and Marcel Tadokoro, who also holds French citizenship; Chinese Xiaolu Zang, Canadian Jaeden Izik-Dzurko, Hungarian Domonkos Csabay and Czech Matyáš Novák. They’ve been competing since last July 24, when junior senior Josep Colom, winner of the first edition in 50 years, opened the competition with a gala. Then Paloma O’Shea launched a precarious and pioneering commitment to the future when, in 1972, Spain was still a major musical wasteland.

Within five decades, the event has acquired its very attractive characteristics. All those who made it to the end agree on the prestige of the competition, with a jury headed this year by Joaquín Achocaro, made up of professionals and aspiring pianists. “Firstly,” says Domonkos Kasabi, the oldest of the six with Japan’s Nitahara, both 31, “because you can show great diversity in different musical references, not just in one composer, as it does in others. Then because the prize is given to you The opportunity to perform publicly at various stages.”

Matthias Novak (on piano) during the competition.  Photo: Elena Crooked.
Matthias Novak (on piano) during the competition. Photo: Elena Crooked.

That’s right, the round also corresponds to the first three. The winner will receive 30,000 euros and a tour of Spain and different countries. But the second and third prizes also provide the opportunity to perform in multiple venues.

They all see the piano today as a task. It gives his artistic adventure meaning beyond personal satisfaction after the sacrifice involved in betting on this machine since he was a child. Both finalists started studying very early. Between three and eight years. They have a future of confinement, concentration, resignations and personal challenges. From constant testing, self-demand and frustrations. However, they decided to continue. Everything for music. For being faithful to tradition, history and searching day by day for her own voice.

This is what Jeden Izik Dzorko, 22, says. Translator model is fellow countryman Glenn Gould. He was a great example when it came to showing how the character of a pianist should adapt to the 20th century. It is up to them to bring the musical instrument into the 21st century. “In it, Gould shows us, whether you like it or not, because it was so controversial, the determination and the courage to find your own voice,” says Isaac Dzorko.

Pianist Marcel Tadokoro during the competition.
Pianist Marcel Tadokoro during the competition.crooked Elena

For the final, he chose this musician Concerto No. 3 for piano and orchestra Rachmaninov. The pieces have not been repeated much in the last two days, as they were all accompanied by the RTVE Symphony Orchestra and director Pablo Gonzalez in two sessions broadcast by La 2 on TVE. only he Or not From Brahms, by Nitahara and Novak. Choose the rest third Prokofiev, The Case of Marcel Tadokoro, and Or not Tchaikovsky, the case of Zhang and third From Bartok, by Csabay.

After finding out the winner on Friday, everyone will go their own way but with a common purpose: to find a place in a world that requires a lot of magic. Each of them contributes to a cause, a declaration of principles for the reality of wanting to be a pianist in these times. Nitahara believes that the piano needs a change in this century. The Japanese say: “We are influential in society, but we need to adapt to new technologies by being faithful to the classic world without giving up its originality and trying to find new paths at the same time.”

His compatriot Tadokoro, 28, counters this with a more personal challenge: “Being a pianist, for me, is painting pictures with sounds.” It’s a similar analogy to that offered by the 23-year-old Czech Novak, in his case, within literature: “For me, every time I encounter a piece, it tries to tell a different story. In the case of the Brahms concerto, this is exciting, but full of hope and reminds me of my grandmother, Because I learned it at her home.”

Csabay believes that the strength of the role today’s pianists must play lies in live music. In terms of apostolic. “Many of my friends are not at all interested in classical music, at first. But when I encourage them to come to a concert and some of them start to get interested, they discover something that contributes to and builds them beyond just entertainment. It gives them a deeper and deeper spiritual experience. And they appreciate it.” What, I see it as important.”

This is how Isaac Dzorko understands it, too. “I started playing as a kid in a town in British Columbia in Canada, where I was born. Everyone came to see us. Until then I realized that music united society around something beautiful and useful. That’s why we’re in it. For that and to preserve an artistic legacy for centuries and connect it with the present. “.

Xiaolu Zang, a young Canadian, aged 22, also thinks about it: “It’s something I ask myself every day: what it means to be a pianist today, what are we contributing to. The fact that I look at it is a commitment. I think it’s love. Passion I don’t know if I will dedicate myself to this all my life. But while I am in it, what I am sure of is that I will put my soul into it every day and not give up.”

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