Vsevolod Zavidov, 15, from Russia, won the gold medal and a $10,000 cash prize in the Junior portion of the Gina Bachauer International Junior and Young Artists Piano Competitions, which are being held virtually this year. Twenty-three pianists, who started the competition last year in the 11-14 age group before the pandemic disrupted it, played in the finals of the competition. This week, 21 pianists from the world will continue the medals competition, representing the Young Artists category of musicians who started the process last year in the 15-18 age group.
Zavidov’s final round performance can be viewed by the public for free on Bachauer’s YouTube channel, along with the full final round in the Junior category of the competition. Zavidov performed three movements from Stravinsky’s Trois mouvements de Petrouchka, including Dance russe, Chez Petrouchka and La semaine grasse.
Also from Russia, Pyotr Akulov, 14, took the silver medal and a $5,000 cash award. His program included three works by Rachmaninoff: Daisies, op. 38, no. 3; Lilacs, op. 21, no. 5 and the composer’s transcription of the Scherzo from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The closer was Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in D-flat Major.
The final round’s musical selection was filled with works that would be considered as demanding and technically advanced in their own right for competitions involving pianists a decade older than many of the Junior Bachauer participants. Harmony Zhu, 15, from Canada won the bronze medal and a $3,000 cash prize with a program featuring Ondine from Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit and Chopin’s Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, op. 52.
The two remaining finalists won $2,000 cash prizes each. Zhexiang Li, 15, from China, played Tchaikovsky’s Theme and Variations in F Major, op. 19, no. 6 and Scarbo from Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit. Lindsey Yang, 15, of the U.S., performed Bartók’s Suite, op. 14, and Liszt’s Concert Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto. Kai-Lang Yang of Taiwan, as a nonfinalist, received the Sascha Gorodnitzi Prize, which includes a $1,000 cash award.
The Young Artists competition continues through Saturday. The final rounds will consist of additional video performances, presented to the jury and public only after the announcement of the five finalists each week. Douglas Humpherys is chair of the jury, which includes Frank Weinstock of Salt Lake City, Rae de Lisle (New Zealand), Miyoko Lotto (Japan/U.S.), Faina Lushtak (Russia/U.S.), Eleanor Wong (Hong Kong) and Bernd Zack (Germany).
Preliminary rounds were conducted with live performances prior to the pandemic halting all such programs. The pianists performed half-hour programs in one of five cities, including Salt Lake City as well as Hamburg, Moscow, New York City and Shanghai. The preliminary rounds determined the competitors for the solo rounds and finals in Salt Lake City, which were originally slated for June last year.
Bachauer will release 10 video recordings per day. All videos will be streamed at the Bachauer website as well on the Foundation’s YouTube channel. As the videos comprise the official competition, the comments function will be disabled. The Bachauer website also has the complete schedule and competitor profiles available. For more about the competitions, see The Utah Review feature.