We just had a very rewarding weekend! On Saturday, Beatrice "Bea" Grant and Orion Kim were chosen as two of six finalists to perform in the Saint Paul Piano Teachers Concerto Competition. Bea was awarded Third Place giving an awesome performance of the first movement of Schumann's magnificent Concerto in A minor. Bea is a fifteen year old sophomore and is a brand new addition to our roster just this fall. She is one of the most outstanding sophomores to ever come our way. Bea had studied with her mother, the noted pianist and pedagogue, Maria Grant, since the age of three. However, the fact that she scored so high in her first audition representing our studio - after just a few months of study here - is an indication of great things to come. Bea has adjusted to our studio so quickly that it seems she has always been with us. We are so happy to have her - both as a young pianist with limitless potential - and as a superb young person who will be a great colleague to the members of our Premier Class. Bea plays with power and assurance, high concentration, and possesses a fluid, natural technique, and beauty of tone. She is extremely intelligent and learns very quickly. Jo Anne, myself, and the Premiers are so excited that she has joined our roster!
In addition to this strong showing in the SPPTA Competition, Bea was also selected by audition and performed in the Master Class of famed Seymour Bernstein in October at MacPhail Center for Music's Antonello Hall. She played Chopin's gorgeous Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Opus 27, No. 1.
Orion, clearly the youngest of the six finalists by far, gave a brilliant performance of the first movement of Mozart's great Concerto in D minor, K. 466. Orion plays with such heartfelt lyricism and beauty. He is extremely charismatic on and off stage. He is a deeply authentic musical talent and plays with great integrity. He is a poet and a budding virtuoso who enthusiastically supports his classmates and cares deeply for their progress. Our kind of guy!!
And what more can one say about our great Nita Qiu? Nita gave a stunning performance of the first movement of Ginastera's Sonata, broadcast earlier today on the famed National Public Radio's program, From the Top. Her performance was amazingly powerful and yet delivered with an uncanny ease. She delivered to its core - and with great command - this 20th century movement of chaos, strife, and conflict. Yet she was also able to bring to us the relief of the beautiful dolce second theme with such a radiant beauty and depth of tone. The colors simply took one's breath away. I have heard Nita play this movement a thousand times, and yet it was as fresh as ever. This is what a great artist is able to do.
Just a few weeks earlier, Nita was named - for the second year in a row - Alternate in the State Division of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Young Artist Competition, this time in the Senior Level (15-18). As many of you know, Nita was a National Finalist in 2015, performing in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Yours in Music -
Joe & Jo Anne