Only one UK pianist in last 10 at Leeds

Only one UK pianist in last 10 at Leeds


norman lebrecht

September 09, 2018

The last pianists standing in Leeds are:

Aljoša Jurinić, 29, Croatia
Anna Geniushene, 27, Russia
Eric Lu, 20 USA
Evelyne Berezovsky, 27, UK


Mario Häring, 28, Germany
Pavel Zemen, 25, Czech Rep
Siqian Li, 25, China
Tamila Salimdjanova, 26 Uzbekistan
Xinyuan Wang, 23, China
Yuchong Wu, 22 China


  • Mike Schachter says:

    There are more people learning the piano in China than the entire adult population of the UK. Almost all the very good pianists I know, in their 20s, are Chinese.

  • Alex Davies says:

    Interesting to observe that Eric Lu’s parents are Taiwanese and Chinese and Evelyne Berezovsky was born in Russia, although presumably now has British citizenship (the French Wikipedia article on her, however, describes as simply as Russian).

    As for there only being one British pianist (albeit one born in Russia) in the final 10, given that the UK has less than 1 percent of the world’s population, doesn’t that mean that having 10 percent of finalists in the competition is pretty impressive.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    Finals will be shown on a big screen

    I wonder if there are any more catastrophic memory lapses like that girl with Rach 3 last time.

    • Delphine1962 says:

      Do you think you could be a little kinder? The pianist was terribly nervous, it’s one hell of a work and the stress levels in that situation are enormous- far waorse than an anoramal perforaming event. She is a gifted musician who did so well to get that far, and, like all of us, she is human.

  • Philippa Ballard says:

    Interesting concerto choices:

    “Concerto Finals – Leeds UK

    Competitors should submit two choices of concerto drawn one from each of the following groups. Only one concerto will be chosen by the Jury. Notification of the concerto to be played will be given when the finalists are announced. The concerto will be played with the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner.

    Group 1

    Bach Concerto in D minor, BWV1052

    Beethoven Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15

    Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37

    Concerto No.4 in G major, Op.58

    Haydn Concerto in D major, Hob: XVIII:11

    Mendelssohn Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op.40

    Mozart Concerto in D minor, K466

    Concerto in E flat major, K482

    Concerto in C minor, K491

    Concerto in C major, K503

    ****Group 2

    Bartók Concerto No 3, Sz.119

    Brahms Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.83

    Chopin Concerto No.2 in F minor, Op.21

    Liszt Concerto No. 2in A major, S125

    Prokofiev Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.16

    Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op.26

    Rachmaninov Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op.1

    Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op.40

    Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in A minor, Op.43

    Ravel Concerto in G major

    Schumann Concerto in A minor, Op.54

  • Karen Fodor says:

    ==I wonder if there are any more catastrophic memory lapses like that girl with Rach 3 last time.

    Mark Elder, conductor, coped wonderfully. She absolutely wasn’t up to it.

    • Delphine1962 says:

      Do you think you could be a little kinder? The pianist was terribly nervous, it’s one hell of a work and the stress levels in that situation are enormous- far waorse than an anoramal perforaming event. She is a gifted musician who did so well to get that far, and, like all of us, she is human.

    • Alex Davies says:

      So how did things go when you played the Rachmaninoff piano concerto no. 3 in the final of the Leeds International Piano Competition aged 21?

  • Vovka Ashkenazy says:

    I believe Evelyne is Russian; she is born in Moscow.

    • Alex Davies says:

      I think she’s lived in the UK for about 20 years now. In publications relating both to the Leeds competition and to the Grieg competition in Troldhaugen she is described as being from the UK/Great Britain. It wouldn’t be surprising if somebody who has spent most of her life living here were now a British citizen. Is her mother also Russian? The spelling of her first name is unusual and I think is used only in francophone countries.

      • Robert Groen says:

        If you are the daughter of a great Russian pianist (as Boris Berezovsky certainly is) chances are that you will also be Russian. Your country of residence may be the UK, but if you do not formally apply for British citizenship (or have, like Zola Budd, a cheap British passport pressed into your hand not long before you are required to compete) you are most likely Russian. If that is the case, it will be interesting to see how her status as a UK resident is affected by Brexit.

        • Alex Davies says:

          Given that Russia isn’t in the EU, I don’t see how the position of Russian citizens in the UK will be affected.

          I also don’t see that it is implausible that a Russian who has spent most of her life in the UK would have become a British citizen. Alina Ibragimova and Alexander Sitkovetsky, for example, are both British citizens.

          • Robert Groen says:

            I agree it’s not implausible at all, Alex. It’s just that I have found no source of information on Ms Berezovsky that says she’s anything other than Russian. As far as Brexit is concerned, I know Russia isn’t in the EU but, depending on the type of Brexit, animosity towards Russia may well deepen further than it has already.

    • Robert Groen says:

      Vovka, if (as I assume) you are the son of the great Vladimir Ashkenazy, do you have UK nationalty or have you chosen to remain Russian? Where were you born?

  • Fernando says:

    I think the young Tamila Salimdjanova was the first pianist to give a solo recital at Cidade das Artes, in Rio de Janeiro, in 2013, as the winner of the 2012 BNDES Piano Competition. I was there, in a small rehearsal hall, listening to her Beethoven and Scarlatti. She was very young indeed! Now, five years later, I wish her good luck again!

  • Angelo Misterioso says:

    Could this be a non-event? Maximally 500 views for each contestant on the Youtube channel. If you want, you can spend a few hours at Medici TV looking at grimacing hopefuls like this one (they do not show the number of views):

    Up to now: a good therapy for insomnia.

  • Karl Luttinger says:

    E Berezovsky is a wonderful player….we are likely to see more of her.

  • Deborah Mawer says:

    The memory lapse girl in 2015 was Yun Wei. She must have been exhausted by the finals as I remember that her earlier rounds included the Hammerklavier and Gaspard

  • Christopher Storey says:

    Sadly, I shall be surprised if this is not the last Leeds Competition . Having the first round in Berlin, New York, and Singapore deprived most of the keen followers of the competition in the UK of one of its greatest attractions, which was to see an enormous range of young pianists in a single venue and span of a few days,albeit for 25 minutes each. The new venues appear to have been pitifully attended by the audiences, to whom the competition probably meant little or nothing. I then watched all 24 of the 2nd round pianist chosen . All were of enormous technical proficiency , but sadly musicality was present in too few of them , with the two modern besetting sins of banging and the “mad scramble” being far too prevalent. The result was that I could not reach 10 pianists who I would positively wish to hear again, which I used as my yardstick , being restricted to 8 . Only 2 of these were amongst the 10 chosen by the jury , ( and only 1 has reached the final and he was something of a marginal selection on my part because as I recorded in my notes he “rather smashed his way through the middle section ” of a certain piece ) and worse still of the 5 finalists chosen two were pianists who I would never wish to hear again . I realise, of course, that personal viewpoints inevitably are subjective , but this is the 3rd competition in a row where I have felt the final selections were bizarre , and it is perhaps no accident that of the last 5 or so competitions there have been few if any prizewinners who have gone on to become sought after soloists

  • Irving08 says:

    Federico Colli appears to be sought after; Sofya Gulak has a flourishing career, although she is not often seen on these shores. So, I am not sure Christopher Meyer is correct in his judgement on recent Leeds’ winners. I do however share his regret that the competition in Leeds has been truncated; and I also feel that the chamber component adds little, if anything, to the competition – in fact, I think it rather detracts from it. I must say that I found the first night of the Finals a little flat, but it may have been the absence of Mark Elder rather than anything in the piano-playing that accounts for this.

  • Lin says:

    Leeds announced that they will not have teachers in the jury. Apparently, a finalist from Germany Mario Häring is a current student of Lars Vogt who sits in the jury. Moreover, Lars Vogt publicly advertised his student on the tweeter account retweeting Medici.Tv to vote for an audience award. Also, Mr Vogt came to the general rehearsal before the finals and was given comments to his student.

  • Irving08 says:

    What Lin says is rather worrying particularly as his pupil won two prizes. But back to the Finals themselves; they lacked something as an event. In previous years the concertos have been introduced to the audience and something has been said abkut the challenges they present.This time there was nothing. Furthermore, why only three places ? What is the logic behind that ? None at all so far as I can see. Who was fourth and who was fifth ? They were, in effect, reduced to being also rans. And why were the pianists from the earlier rounds not seated on the podium, as happened in previous competitions ? Opinions are bound to differ on the finalists – only the Chinese man who came third and the Russian woman who came nowhere have a presence or are likely to get my pulse racing. I jfound the Beethoven players just too polite fir my taste.

  • christopher storey says:

    It all seems to boil down to the modern clash between virtuosity ( which appears too often to have the upper hand ) and musicality. In the event , the only one of the five I would have selected from the earlier rounds as a potential finalist was Eric Lu ( and that with significant reservations ) but to me from the Ist movement cadenza of Beethoven 4 onwards he treated us to yet another mad scramble, particularly in the finale . Of the five who appeared it was Aljosa Jurinic who I thought gave a ravishingly beautiful ( and musical ) performance of Mozart K.491. The other 4 I lost interest in. If I had to select an outstanding musician from the 24 who played at Leeds , it would be Tamila Salimdjanova