9 September 2010

Three of the 11 finalists striving this week for the title of the nation's best pianist have links to The Con.

The trio of Jocelyn Ho, Vatche Jambazian and Jee-Yong Kim produced stellar performances during the year to make the contenders list for the prestigious biennial Australian National Piano Award.

The finalists are made up of musicians aged 21 to 35 from NSW (four), Victoria (four) and Queensland (three). They are vying for $43,000 in cash prizes and major performance commissions.

Ho, 28, of Kingsgrove, completed a Masters of Music at The Con, studying the piano rolls of Debussy.

She is now pursuing a doctorate at Stony Brook University in New York.

Jambazian, 23, of Castle Hill, is undertaking a Bachelor of Music Degree (Honours) at The Con, under the guidance of Natalia Sheludiakova, a Con lecturer and a doyen of four hands piano duets.

Kim, 23, of Carlingford, completed his Master of Music Performance at The Con last year and is now a doctorate candidate.

All three are scheduled to perform up to four recitals, with the jury assessing technical mastery, style, and emotional and intellectual interpretations.

The repertoire for the finals includes works by Beethoven, Bach, Schubert and Debussy, and ranges across Baroque, Classical, 19th century Romantic and French Impressionist music styles, as well as contemporary works, including an Australian composition.

Performances are all before live audiences at the Eastbank Centre in Shepparton, Victoria, with the semi-finals on Friday and the grand final on Saturday evening.

Ho, who started playing the piano when she was five and finished third in the 2008 Award finals, still remembers her first piano, which was donated by a family friend.

She comments: "It was really tattered, all scratched on the outside and the keys were yellow. With other instruments maybe you can do one or two voices, but with the piano you have 10 fingers.

"You can kind of evoke the whole orchestra.''

Jambazian was a semi-finalist in the Russian Music International Competition last year, having won the 2MBS Young Performers Award in 2008.

He is quoted as saying that he "craves the piano for breakfast every morning. Rehearsals are not a stress for me. I love it."

Kim, like Ho, has a strong interest in numbers and maths. Before seriously studying music he earned a degree in Actuarial Studies.

He looks to tennis star Roger Federer for inspiration.

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 292a3012190127022e1e04080b2c0b2a211c192700761c23475d2a37