Monday, November 16, 2009

Music Competition, Inspirations, and Observations

My wife chaired the MTAC contemporary music Festival yesterday and had Michael Jon Fink, Ulrich Krieger, and Brian Pezzone judging the performances.(talk about overkill in the judging department!)

I helped out last year and saw the performances of these talented kids and they were good; last night, I saw some of the same kids perform almost one year later and I have to say, what an eye opener! Some of these kids were stunning! The improvement was 100%, almost across the board! I saw about 3-4 kids who were about as good as any performance I saw in college. Mind blowing and to have such improvement in 11 months was inspiring!

The one kid who stood out in my mind was a Japanese male (I have since learned that this kid was the first place winner) who played 'Serpents Kiss' by William Bolcom (I've never heard of the composer before but it looks like he has won the Pulitzer!). The music wasn't my cup of tea, but it definitely had some great moments, including extended percussive techniques of tapping on the piano body, rhythmic vocalization, and foot rhythm. The best part though was that this kid owned the music, 100% owned, like he wrote it. It was a fantastic display.

There was another little kid who was maybe 8 or 9 that had a heartbreaking evening. He had a memory slip after about 8 bars and couldn't continue and he sat on stage crying. It was too bad, the first 8 bars were some of the best music I heard yesterday evening. The judges are giving him a special award (I learned that they thought exactly as I did about his performance).

This brings up another subject to deal with at a later time. Are music competitions really worth having? There are some big Pro's and Con's to either side.

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