New Detail

Gustav Alink article in "Pianowereld", nº 4 august 2011Back


Last year, the idea was born in Paterna (a suburb of Valencia) to organise a new piano competition in April. A new concert hall was built. All details were carefully discussed and evaluated. The competition was announced on a beuatiful website (www. and then, an exciting period started, in expectation of the applicants. However, everything went very well: 132 applications, and this for a completely new competition! True, Paterna was made very attractive with good prize money, rather free choice of repertoire, excellently situated (only 10 minutes from the airport of Valencia, which is served by low-cost airlines), fine hospitality for all the contestants in a very good hotel, frequent transportation to the hall and ample practice facilities. After a preselection, not less than 80 pianists were allowed to come to Paterna, of whom eventually 52 showed up.

The jury partly consisted of pianists who also organise competitions, such as Pierre Reach, Leonel Morales and Marian Rybicki. Organiser Juan Lago made sure that everything went smoothly: a good adjudication system was applied and the voting was done in a good atmosphere and without discussions (upon special invitation, the author could personally witness this).

Already from the first stage, South Korean Yedam Kim left a great impression. She went on to the finals and won this competition. There were, however, many other fine candidates to win a prize and the level was particularly high. The expectations for Alexander Yakovlev were also high. He applies for numerous piano competitions, and has won some 50 prizes during the past five years. His second stage performance, however, was disappointing, and he left immediately for another competition, in Jaén (at approx. 450 km). Another Korean participant, Yoonjung Han, received 4th prize in Paterna and won shortly afterwards two first prizes at two international competitions in America.