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Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition
Brent Hugh

Salt Lake City, Utah - The finalists in the 1998 Gina
Bachauer International Piano Competition have been announced.

In the first round of the quadrennial competition, the 47 entrants each performed two programs, each fifteen minutes in length. The field was then reduced to twenty competitors, and in the quarter final round each of these twenty performed a work of Brahms and a work of Schubert. Ten pianists were chosen for the semi-final round and each played a fifty minute program of their own choice.

The semi-final round concluded about an hour ago and the six finalists were announced just minutes ago. Three finalists will perform a concerto with the Utah Symphony the evening of Friday, June 26th, and the remaining three will perform with the Symphony following Saturday evening. Immediately after Saturday's concert, the winners will be announced.

The Gina Bachauer Competition, named after the renowned Greek pianist, began in 1976. In the beginning a competition of regional importance associated with Brigham Young University, the Bachauer soon achieved independent status and international stature under the leadership of Paul Pollei. The competition, at first annual, soon became bi-annual, then tri-annual, and is now held every four years in June. In the off years, the Junior Bachauer competition and other piano-related events are held.

Past winners include Douglas Humpherys, Christopher Giles, Arthur Greene, Panayis Lyras, Duane Hulbert, Michael Gurt, David Buechner, Alec Chien, Kong Xiang-dong, Gail Niwa, and Nicholas Angelich.

The Bachauer jury consists of fifteen musicians, including this year such well-known pianists as Joseph Banowetz, Benedetto Lupo, Einar Steen-Nokleberg, and Nelita True. Since 1982, Kansas City's own Joanne Baker has served as chair of the Bachauer jury. Baker, who taught in the UMKC Conservatory of Music's Keyboard Division for 49 years, has recently retired from UMKC.

The Bachauer jury is not allowed to discuss the contestants or performances; each jury member votes independently and the results (which in the first three rounds of the competition are simply a "Yes" or a "No" for each competitor) are tallied to determine which pianists advance.

The semifinals and finals are being broadcast live locally on KBYU (89.1 FM); unfortunately they are not available for listening over the internet (by contrast, last year's Van Cliburn International Piano Competition made all rounds available for listening at

The Salt Lake Tribune's Jeff Manookian is providing excellent coverage of the competition, and some of his pieces can be found on the Tribune's web site at (Look for "Search the Trib" and search for "Bachauer". Manookian has been writing a daily article about the competition; unfortunately most of these daily articles have not been available online).

The Bachauer Competition's official web sit is

The six Bachauer finalists along with the work each will be performing in the final round:

Lori Sims (USA): Prokofieff, Concert no. 3

Ju-Ying Song (USA): Ravel, Concerto for the Left Hand

Eugene Mursky (Uzbekistan): Rachmaninoff, Concerto no. 2

Sean Botkin (USA): Liszt, Concerto no. 1

Luiza Roxana Borak (Romania): Liszt, Concerto no. 1

Marko Martin (Estonia): Tchaikovsky, Concerto no. 1

Brent Hugh is a pianist and composer residing in Raytown, Missouri; currently he is on recital tour in Utah. On the internet, Brent can be heard on the Interactive Internet Piano Concert
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