2018 Senior Intercollegiate Piano Competition

Sunday, 9 December 2018, 1pm
Whitgift School, Haling Park, South Croydon, CR2 6YT

Jury: Marios Papadopoulos MBE, Dennis Lee, Melvyn Cooper

1st Prize: Minkyu Kim, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
2nd Prize: Maxim Kinasov, Royal Northern College of Music
3rd Prize: Kilian Scholla, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Yuanfan Yang, Royal Academy of Music

The annals of the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe are filled to the brim with irresistible young talents as prize-winners of its annual Senior Intercollegiate Competition, and this year’s, its 26th incarnation, was no exception. The splendid concert hall at Whitgift School in Croydon was used on Sunday 9th December 2018 as a platform for competitors from seven different Music Conservatoires, offering their revelatory reading of the same Bagatelle in Bb op 119 no 11, as well as their own chosen Sonata, with only one duplicate of op 109 amongst them.

Jinah Shim from Trinity Laban kicked off the proceedings with a reflective D major sonata op 28, Pastoral, demonstrating some poise in her playing. The next pianist, Yuki Minami from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama followed with a lively performance of the E minor sonata op 90, with some clarity in her fingerwork. The first session then ended with Maxim Kinasov from Royal Northern College of Music in a most maturely inspiring performance of the E major op 109, showing us some of his terrific intensity and a good measure of lyricism.

The second session opened with Killian Scholla from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in a persuasive performance of the Eb major sonata op 7, producing some interesting tones and timbres. Minkyu Kim from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland then followed with a well-sculpted D major op 10 no 3, highlighting some dramatic tension in the music, all played with good tone.

The third and final session opened with Yuanfan Yang from the Royal Academy of Music in a buoyant and highly charged interpretation of the G major sonata op 31 no 1, showing us what he is capable of in terms of imagination and producing an interesting and varied palate of phrasings. This final session then ended with Joon Yoon from Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the second and original performance of op 109, where he demonstrated some degree of seriousness when observing score markings.

Jury members of this highly regarded competition have always tended to be of the veritable crème de la crème, so this year’s distinguished trio were Marios Papadopoulos MBE, Dennis Lee and Melvyn Cooper, whose task was incredibly difficult after hearing so many wonderful performances.

Hats off to this competition, for undoubtedly opening doors for many aspiring young pianists, and all seven of these competitors will certainly go far in their chosen careers.

Written by Bobby Chen