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June 5, 2002
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Arts/Entertainment: Overnight
Confident players make their mark at Cliburn Amateur


By SCOTT CANTRELL / The Dallas Morning News

FORT WORTH – Debra Saylor, whose deeply personalized performances were among the most memorable at the 2000 International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, was back Tuesday evening for the 2002 installment of the contest. And she cast her spell again.

I've never heard the piano more movingly played. And I would say that even if Ms. Saylor, now a sales associate in Nebraska, weren't blind.

With warm tone and extravagant rhythmic flexibility, she made a Tchaikovsky Romance in F minor (Opus 5) and a Schubert Impromptu (in A-flat major, D. 899, No. 4) profound human dramas. This was playing of a kind you'll hear on scratchy old recordings from the early 20th century, but hardly from professional pianists these days. That's our loss.

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
Actually, there was quite a bit of very good playing in Tuesday's sessions at Texas Christian University's Ed Landreth Auditorium, and more that was merely well schooled. This being an amateur competition, there were also a couple of catastrophic memory slips.

Logos Hall, a business owner from California, made Ravel's Sonatine glint and glow exquisitely, like cut glass. Chemistry professor Victoria Bragin, from West Virginia, found whimsy and charm in a Haydn F major Sonata (No. 23). Lauren Green, a TV news anchor from New York, gave polished, confidently projected performances of pieces by Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Ginastera.

Darin Tysdal, a music salesman from Minnesota, played Copland's craggy Piano Variations as if he believed, passionately, in every note – and he made real music of it. Ellen Dodson, a business consultant from Massachusetts, hadn't anything particularly individual to say in Chopin's B-flat minor Scherzo (No. 2), but she delivered the party line with utter confidence – and appeared to enjoy herself in the process.

New York psychiatrist Allan Blumenthal had a ball with his own transcription of waltzes from Strauss' opera Der Rosenkavalier. He caught the Viennese lilt, savored the harmonic riches and gave the music delicious winks and nudges.

John Markey, an accountant from North Carolina, gave boldly projected accounts of two Liszt numbers. Karen Bush Purpero, a Florida missionary, offered a wonderfully tender Schubert G-flat major Impromptu (D. 899, No. 3). Memorable Chopin readings came from Arizona microbiologist Milton Farbstein and New York computer scientist Carl Tait (whose gently backlit D-flat major Nocturne was ravishing).


The third International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs continues through Saturday at Ed Landreth Auditorium, Texas Christian University, University and West Cantey, Fort Worth. Preliminaries from 1 to 5 p.m. and 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Semifinals from 2 to 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 11 p.m. Friday. Finals and awards ceremony from 3 to 7:45 p.m. Saturday. Call Central Tickets at 817-335-9000 or 1-800-462-7979 (toll-free).

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