Top contest provides a date for diaries

WHAT an intense joy and privilege to be able to host one of the gifted young candidates for the second Sussex International Piano Competition last week.

Our totally magnificent Assembly Hall reverberated to the strains of the 21 pre-selected quarter-finalists, each of whom performed a very demanding recital on the Steinway before a distinguished international jury of concert pianists, musicians and agents.

Six were chosen for the semi-finals, from whom three qualified for the grand finale whereby they performed their chosen Piano Concerto with the Worthing Symphony Orchestra, under the guidance of their inspirational principal conductor, John Gibbons. To the majority of the audience all this was just the tip of an iceberg, albeit a very imposing one!

As hosts, we experienced a full gamut of emotions, ranging from the pleasure of hearing our own pianos played as never before, the intensive practising (and nerves), the demanding process of being in the right place at the right time... but the over-riding feeling was the unique pleasure, opportunity (and responsibility!) of welcoming a delightful and very special young visitor into our own homes as well as our district and country!

The week’s climax was of course the Grand Finale itself, with Kazakhstan’s Ragiba Dyussembayeva performing Prokofiev’s 3rd piano concerto, Thailand’s Poom Prommachart with his Rachmaninov 3rd and finally Ukraine’s Olga Paliy playing Brahms 2nd.

Olga won the Audience prize and was placed 3rd overall, followed by Ragiba in 2nd place, and the new champion Poom!

If you had the misfortune to miss this week’s excellent, exciting and thoroughly absorbing event, do put a date in your diaries for the next one in two years’ time, with the Grand Finale on Sunday, April 19, 2015.

Marilyn Dennis

Old Mead Road

Littlehampton