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June 5, 2002
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Arts/Entertainment: Overnight
Pay out of equation at Cliburn Amateur, but skill is not


By SCOTT CANTRELL / The Dallas Morning News

FORT WORTH – The International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs rules out anyone who makes a primary living as either a pianist or piano teacher. But, once again, the Fort Worth contest sponsored by the Van Cliburn Foundation is drawing people with advanced degrees in piano – and fully professional technical prowess.

Of the 73 pianists to be heard in the competition's preliminary round, 24 performed in Monday's opening sessions at Texas Christian University's Ed Landreth Auditorium.

Greg Fisher, a Web developer from Denton, played like a man possessed – which was quite the point in Liszt's Paraphrase on the Waltz from Gounod's Faust. Mark Horowitz, a cantor and educator from Buffalo, N.Y., gave a ripely romantic reading of Chopin's Ballade No. 4 in F minor, almost extravagant in its rubato.

Also Online
The Third International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs takes place June 3-8 at Ed Landreth Auditorium, Texas Christian University, University and West Cantey in Fort Worth.
Complete packages: $105
Semifinals, finals and awards: $60
Individual sessions: $10 for preliminaries, $20 for semifinals and $35 for finals and awards.
Call Central Tickets, 817-335-9000 or 1-800-462-7979.
Preliminary round (June 3-5): Seventy-five applicants will each present a program not to exceed 12 minutes.
Preliminary round schedule
Semifinal round (June 7): Eighteen semifinalists will each present a program not to exceed 20 minutes.
Final round (June 8): Six finalists will each present a program not to exceed 30 minutes.
The Competitors
The Jurors
First prize: $2,000
Second prize: $1,000
Third prize: $500
Other prizes: Press jury award; audience award; awards for the best performance of a work from the baroque, classical and romantic eras; best performance of a modern work; most creative programming award; and jury discretionary awards.
On the Web
WFAA Video: Amateurs attracting more attention
International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs
Cliburn Foundation official site
Janice Bates, a retired business owner from Garden Grove, Calif., just missed the electricity, the sense of danger, of the greatest performances of the Debussy Feux d'artifice. But both here and in the composer's Reflets dans l'eau this was luminous, buoyant playing, with remarkable clarity.

Another Californian, homemaker Linda Poligono, from Greenbrae, gave authoritative performances of a Scriabin Etude (Op. 8, No. 10) and Beethoven's 32 Variations in C minor (WoO 80).

John Gardecki, a private investor from Virginia, was a Chopin interpreter to the manner born, with accomplished technique and an Old World generosity of expression.

Eric Gustafson, a parish administrator from Virginia, brought depth and assurance to three Moments musicaux by Rachmaninoff.

Irving attorney J. Michael Brounoff – son of former Dallas Symphony Orchestra violinist Zelman Brounoff – picked three Debussy preludes of only moderate demands, but he brought a wonderful sense of mystery to La puerta del vino and Bruyères and just the right whimsy to General Lavine – Eccentric.

Victor Alexeeff, a composer from Groveport, Ohio, demonstrated some of the day's most impressive technique and power. But his performances of Brahms, Debussy and Rachmaninoff were willful and sometimes downright perverse, notably in a tendency to rush the music.


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