24 August 2012
<p> Robert Finley, a retired electronics engineer and Thomas Yu, periodontist share First Prize at the 2012 Amateur Piano Competition. (Pictures of the Winners to come.) The Competition was run by <em>Pianist</em> magazine, Yamaha and Chetham's International Summer School & Festival for Pianists</p> ...
Two amateur pianists achieved professional recognition for their astonishing pianistic talent after winning the live Final of the unique 2012 Amateur Piano Competition presented by Pianist magazine, Yamaha and Chetham’s School of Music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester on Wednesday 22 August.
Selected from just under 100 entries, then with 16 semi finalists, the chosen six finalists stepped onto the concert platform for the live Final to perform on Yamaha’s CFX concert grand piano.
A capacity audience responded to the outstanding performances with rapturous applause, voting Canadian periodontist Thomas Yu as recipient of the Audience Favourite Prize. Judges Noriko Ogawa, Michael Roll, Murray McLachlan, Yamaha UK Managing Director Mike Ketley and Pianist magazine editor Erica Worth revealed the jury’s decision to choose two joint Winners – Thomas Yu and Robert Finley. Finley is a retired electronics engineer from Boston USA.
Some amazing prizes now await Yu and Finley: They will be featured inside Pianist magazine, have their winning performances recorded for Pianist’s covermount CD, give a recital at Yamaha Artist Services Recital Room in London, plus play a concerto movement with the Manchester Camerata Chamber Orchestra in 2013. As Audience Favourite Prize Winner, Yu has received a selection of sheet music books kindly donated by Schott Music.
At the after-show party afterwards, a delighted Thomas Yu stated, ‘It is hard to put into words what this means. It is a dream for all amateurs to be able to play on a stage with a magnificent Yamaha CFX concert grand piano. It doesn’t get better than this.’
Robert Finley added, ‘I feel so happy. I enjoyed the evening so much and wish it could go on forever. It means everything to be considered to have reached a standard that does justice to the composers and to be able to feel the appreciation of an audience for your playing.’
The Competition was the brainchild of Pianist magazine, Yamaha and Chetham's International Summer School & Festival for Pianists - here they tell us what they thought of the Finals night..
‘The standard was way and above our wildest dreams. These six finalists have other day jobs, but they played like true professionals. It was astounding.’ Erica Worth, editor of Pianist magazine
‘This competition offers a real performance platform for talented adults who play for the sheer love of it. As with events in previous years, we found that the quality of amateur players is simply staggeringly high, and therefore we strongly believe these people deserve a wider audience and that’s exactly what this competition provides.’ Yamaha Managing Director Mike Ketley
ABOUT THE WINNERS
Thomas Yu has played in venues around the world while maintaining a full-time career as a periodontist in Calgary. As an amateur pianist, he has won first prize at the Concours des Grand Amateurs (Paris), the Bösendorfer Amateur Piano Competition (Vienna), as well as the Bradshaw & Buono Competition (New York).
Robert Finley was born in Hull and is a retired electronics engineer. He began to play piano at the age of 7 and studied piano and musicianship at Trinity College of Music with Norma Fisher and Albert Ferber. He gained the ARCM diploma in 1976. He has played recitals and concertos in the USA, UK, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Argentina and Israel. He is founder of the Boston Piano Amateurs Association, which organizes bi-annual international amateur piano competitions.
Congratulations to the other Finalists 2012: Martin Evans, Peter Morgan, Nuno Maulide, Deirbhile Brennan