Two pianists, a trombonist and an accordion/piano duo are considered among the best concert musicians in the world per the IBLA Grand Prize World Music Competition.
These performers begin a United States tour at Radford University on April 27.
IBLA is an elite international music competition located in the Sicilian city of Ragusa-Ibla. It showcases musical talent of the highest caliber. This is the 26th year of this competition.
Founded by Radford University, this competition began in 1981 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Hungarian composer Bela Bartók’s birth. Originally the Bartók Competition, it later expanded to honor Russian composers Dmitri Kabalevsky and Sergei Prokofiev. It now honors the memory of the great pianist and musician, Bartok’s protege and Radford Competition jury chairman for decades, Gyorgy Sandor. He served as jury chairman in 1991, when the competition awarded Salvatore Moltisanti first prize.
“The performers selected and representing IBLA that grace our Performance Hall each spring are among the finest in the world,” said Al Wojtera, Chairman of the Department of Music. “We are very fortunate that Radford University continues to be a regular stop on their annual tour that culminates at New York’s Carnegie Hall. This is a wonderful performance opportunity for our students, faculty, and our patrons in the region”
For over a decade, Radford University has hosted this annual concert comprised of several of the IBLA winners. This year, the program will again feature the elite
prize-winning musicians of distinction.
IBLA Top Prize Winner is 16-year-old Elia Cecino from Italy. He has studied the piano since 2009 under the guidance of Maddalena De Facci. In 2014, he obtained the second-grade pre-academic certificate on piano with full marks at Conservatorio B. Maderna in Cesena. Elia has won first prize in more than 50 national and international piano competitions in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland and Germany.
Elia has been member of the piano duo, Four-Hands since 2013, a member of a piano-violin duo, and a violin and cello duo and trio since last year, and he recently performed the “Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K.491” by Mozart with full orchestral accompaniment at Palazzo Zacco in Padova and at the church of the Patron Saints of Europe in Marcon.
IBLA Top Prize winners and husband and wife Michal and Julia Wolanska make up the accordion/piano duo. They graduated in 2012 summa cum laude from the Poznan Academy of Music. Michel Wolanska has competed in many national and international competitions and festivals since 2002, earning numerous awards.
His musical activity extends beyond solo accordion works to include organ music, through Astor Piazzolla’s “Tango Nuevo to Contemporary Music Works.” He partakes in many various ensembles, performing classical and popular music with symphonic orchestras, solo recitals, and as a chamber musician in Poland, Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Slovakia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy and Sicilia. He now works with the Poznan New Theatre as a music manager, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at Poznan Academy of Music.
Trombonist, Kojiro Fujihara, with accompanist, Kyoko Harada, is a recipient of the IBLA Top Prize. He began studying trombone at the age of 15. He graduated from the music division of the Hyogo Prefectural High School, and from the music department at the Tokyo University of the Arts as the first in his class.
He has received awards from national and international competitions, and has played with many Japanese orchestras, and is currently the principal trombone in the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. Recently, Fujihara became involved in the recording industry for film music. He is one of the most promising performers in Japan.
IBLA Outstanding Musician recipient Hyejin Seo began studying piano at the age of 10. She had her debut concert in Korea with the Busan National Orchestra when she was 13 years old. After she graduated from Seoul Arts High School, she received a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music with a Best Artist of College of Music Scholarship from Ehwa Woman’s University. Her former teachers include Suyeon Kim, Johanna Jimin Lee. Currently, she is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Ehwa Woman’s University of Music under the tutelage of Professor Jung eun Kim.
The evening’s program includes work from composers Appermont, Brahms, Chopin, Kanno, Liszt, Lutoslawski, Molique, Monti, Motomazu, Piazolla, Rojko and Rota.
The musicians begin their United States’ tour at Radford University’s Department of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts with a free concert at 7:30 p.m., April 27 at the Performance Hall in the Covington Center. Their last performance in Virginia will take place at 5:30 p.m., April 29 at the Belmont Christian Church in Roanoke.
The final U.S. performance for these artists will culminate at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. In comparison to the Radford University Covington Center performance, which is free, the New York tickets are $300 each.
Visit ibla.org for further details on IBLA and the performers. For more information on the performance, contact the Radford University Department of Music at 831-5177.
— Submitted by Alyssa Klinksiek