TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE (FOR PLAYING PIANO)
15 November 2010
She might be only 12 years old, but Angela Wong is ready to take on the world in a place far from home - Russia.
The virtuoso pianist from Peakhurst is practising more than her regular two hours a day in readiness for one of the most elite competitions of its type and with the distinction of carrying the highest degree of difficulty.
Only 17 contenders are selected from around the globe for the under 13 division of the 7th International Piano Competition Dedicated to Franz Liszt at the Central Music School of the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory from 20-28 November.
Angela is Australia's sole contestant.
Her DVD audition in September earned her a shot at the grand prize of $10,000 and another credit on an already sizeable list of award triumphs, including the Allan's Youth Piano Competition in 2008 and 2009 and a finals position in the 2010 Sydney Eisteddfod.
But it's an arduous task before her - three rounds of performance requiring perfection across 10 separate pieces of music, played solo and with the Conservatory's Chamber Orchestra.
Angela, who started playing the piano not long after turning three, is a student at St Catherine's in Waverley, and has been a member of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's prestigious Rising Stars program for several years.
"I love playing the piano and practising every day is something I love doing," she says. "It will be difficult in Moscow, I know, but it will be a chance to play some beautiful music.
"I love the works of Liszt and Chopin. But I also love all sorts of music beyond classical."
Performing is not Angela's only skill when it comes to piano and music. Through special study, she recently gained an important performance qualification - a Licentiate in Music.
Moreover, playing on the big stage and under extreme pressure is not new to Angela.
In July she joined one of the world's most renowned piano duos - Paul Rickard-Ford and Natalia Sheludiakova - for a combined selection of concertos and overtures in Big Hands, Small Hands - the fifth concert in The Con's 2010 Sensational Sundays series.
The concert before an overflow audience in the Verbrugghen Hall featured the music of Vivaldi, Mozart, Busoni and Bach. The pianists were supported by the Student String Orchestra.
Angela's mother Christina praises Dr Rickard-Ford, Chair and Senior Lecturer of The Con's Keyboard Unit, for helping develop Angela's talent.
"Paul has done amazing things in bringing out the very best in my daughter's playing ability…she would not be performing at such a high level in Moscow if it wasn't for his tutoring," she said.
Dean and Principal,Professor Kim Walker, commented: ""What a fabulous accolade for Angela's talent…just being selected was a magnificent achievement, now she is taking on the world, and we are all behind her."
WHAT:Angela Wong playing all 10 pieces she has prepared for the Moscow competition in a free recital
WHEN:6pm, 15 November
WHERE: Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Contact: Mick Le Moignan
Phone: 02 9351 1385