The semi-finals of the Leeds Piano Competition took place over the weekend and we here at The Two Moors Festival were lucky enough to see two of the hopeful pianists in action over lunch time at the Great Hall on the university campus.
The weather was amazing (perfect for seeing the beautiful grounds of the campus!) and the playing was just as good. First up, we saw American Eric Zuber who treated us to a programme of Schumann’s Humoresque in B flat major Op. 20, Liszt’s Sonata in B minor S178 and Britten’s Night Piece ‘Notturno’ (which all semi-finalists were due to play).
While he was no doubt an accomplished player (even managing to fend off an annoying fly halfway through his first piece), Zuber was no match for Australian Jayson Gillham, who stormed his way through Beethoven’s Sonata in A major Op. 101, a series of Ligeti pieces and Brahms’ Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel Op. 24.
Two Moors Festival artistic director Penny Adie said she thoroughly enjoyed the day, adding: “Being at the semi-finals of the Leeds was an experience in itself. At this level you know that you will be listening to playing of top quality but even then, there is a difference in the type of quality. Even at the very top level, there are many areas in which you can be critical. And you come away with your own opinion which is invariably at odds with the jury!”
What a great day! We also caught a glimpse of ambassador Lang Lang, which was fun. We can’t wait to see who comes out on top!
Who’s your money on for this year’s competition?