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Cliburn silver winner gets a record deal. Anyone seen gold?

July 31, 2015 by norman lebrecht

12 comments.


The Italian pianist Beatrice Rana, who came second in the last Van Cliburn competition, has cut her first recording with Sir Antonio Pappano in a new album deal with Warner Classics. Details below.

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Warner Classics is delighted to announce the exclusive signing of Beatrice Rana, who shot to stardom at just 20 years of age when she claimed the Silver Medal and the coveted Audience Award in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

This month, in Rome, she has just finished recording her Warner Classics debut album with Sir Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. The thrilling programme – Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 in B-flat Minor, and Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto – is a bold statement for a virtuoso who ‘possesses an old soul that belies her twenty years, and more than a touch of genius’ (Gramophone).

In an interview with Repubblica newspaper in Italy, Rana praised Pappano as a ‘formidable conductor with prodigious energy. I admire his dedication as well as his rustic, hands-on approach. My grandparents toiled the land and this has had a profound impact on me: the cult of manual labour with hands which is so integral to our work as musicians.’

Born in 1993, the daughter of two pianists, Rana made her orchestral debut at the age of nine. She has amassed an impressive number of first prizes in international piano competitions, such as Muzio Clementi Competition, the International Piano Competition of the Republic of San Marino and the Bang&Olufsen PianoRAMA Competition. She was selected in 2010 as one of the six pianists taking part in the Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Prize, attending a prestigious masterclass with Arie Vardi, with whom she now studies in Hannover. On 1st August, she makes her Verbier Festival recital debut, stepping in for Mikhail Pletnev.


Comments (12)

  1. anon says:

    You gotta think like a marketer, Norman. Old married Kholodenko has gotten a bit pudgy lately, whereas young Rana has the “Mediterranean passion” – quote Warner Classics. One of these is marketable, one is not.

  2. tess says:

    Actually, the (deservedly so) first prize winnder, Kholodenko, has had quite a busy year according to the schedule on his website. Rana is a hugely talented girl with enormous technical potential, but she is still – a girl. I haven’t yeat heard her deliver outstanding, daring or in any kind of way original musical ideas – but this can still change in the future. She is only 22 after all.

    1. All Keyed Up says:

      The reason you haven’t heard any original musical ideas from her is because her teacher, Arie Vardi, instills his pupils with time-worn musical clichés — a serious limitation of his pedagogy. Yet these young pianists flock to him because they think he can give them a career.

  3. milka says:

    Another bore !!! the Tchaikovsky no less as an original a bold statement .. save us ….
    The manual labour bit goes beyond laughter ….

    1. Nigel says:

      Prokofiev’s Second Concerto is extremely bold. Good for her for programming it.

    2. Furzwängler says:

      I can only agree with you. If I have to listen to another Tchaik 1, or even a Tchaik 2 for that matter, I might just seek out a lonely mountain top to become a hermit on.

  4. CDH says:

    I may be remembering incorrectly, and this site’s archiving is useless, but I thought there was a great deal of buzz around Beatrice Rana at the close of the competition.

    I came away thinking it was a name to remember from what some of the articles (or comments) said.

  5. All Keyed Up says:

    There’s always a buzz when a 20 hear old plays Prokofiev 2nd Concerto. Certainly, let’s all wish the talented Ms. Rana well, but Universal’s hyperbole does her no favors: “She shot to stardom…” is clearly a stretch, to say the least. Her student-level performance of a Beethoven Concerto in the Cliburn competition finals indicated that more work is necessary if she wants to be taken seriously as a musician. Also, let’s not forget that her teacher (and his best friend) were on the Cliburn jury (his friend also had a pupil in the finals). Talent isn’t enough, and so only time will tell if her artistry will develop to the level where she can justify the hype.

    1. tess says:

      You nailed it. Couldn’t agree more.

    2. Neven P. says:

      Very few Cliburn winners managed to establish a long-term career (R. Lupu being one of the exceptions).

  6. Jennifer Bynum says:

    The comments made concerning this young lady are quite interesting to say the least, I can Only say, I enjoyed her very much!

  7. Mike Z. says:

    Musically and intellectually, Rana’s early rounds struggled to be prosaic. Kholodenko on the other hand began the concert before alighting the stage in his programming, then delivered when his hands hit the keyboard.

    She did wear the better gown.


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