2011 Chamber Music Masterclasses and Competition

Masterclass with Prof. Martin Lovett

Jury: Prof. Martin Lovett, Gwyneth George and Alberto Portugheis

Prizewinners: Eugene Lee (violin) and Tania Park (piano)

Once again this annual event counted with veteran cellist, chamber musician and pedagogue Prof. Martin Lovett to coach the participating teams of advanced students and young professionals — an array of talented violin/piano and cello/piano duos destined to carve a niche for themselves in the world of music.

For me, attending these Masterclasses, listening to one duo after another followed by Prof. Lovett’s incisive observations, then listening yet again to the same students, was like watching a magician put a handkerchief into a hat and produce a dove!

The concert-cum-competition to decide which team would take the GWYNETH GEORGE AWARD was not easy for the Jury — made up of Professors Martin Lovett, Gwyneth George and myself – as everybody present agreed. However, the award had to go to one duo and the lucky recipients of the prestigious Award were violinist Eugene Lee and pianist Tania Park, both born in Korea but raised in New Zealand, who gave us an exhilarating performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No.8 in G, Op.30 No.3. Each movement so indelibly defined, with a great variety of dynamics and colours, excellent line and rhythm. Eugene could make one single note – a “staccato”, a “sforzato” or just one long note – tell a whole story.

The other Violin and Piano Sonata we heard was the No.4 in A minor, Op.23. Here again we were handsomely rewarded by the expressive sound, temperament and superlative balance of the experienced duo made up of Japanese violinist Yuka Ishizuka and Israeli pianist Nadav Hertzka. Both listened to each other in an exemplary way.

The Cello and Piano Sonata with which we were then regaled was the No.1 in F Major, Op.5 No.1. Dutch cellist Willemijn Knödler and Austrian pianist Bernadette Bartos made an exciting duo, impressing us with their energy and contagious enjoyment. Bernadette’s insight into the complex world in which Beethoven operates was remarkably defined and exposed.

I very much look forward to hearing all of these young artists further in our BPSE Concert Series.

Written by Alberto Portugheis © 2011

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