2016 Chamber Music Masterclasses and Competition

Monday 16 May 2016,  10am – 1pm & 2pm – 4pm
Tuesday 17 May 2016, 10am – 1pm & 2pm – 6pm

Wednesday 18 May 2016, 6pm

First Prize: Louko Piano Trio (RNCM) –  Erkki Louko (violin) | Waynne Woo Seok Kwon (cello) | Victor Lim (piano)
Second Prize: Amarins Wierdsma (violin) | Edward Liddall (piano) – Guildhall School of Music
Special mention: Jonel Manciu (violin) – Guildhall School Music of Music

The winning ensemble of the 2016 BPSE Beethoven Chamber Music Competition was the Louko Piano Trio: Erkki Louko, violin, Wayne Kwon, cello and Victor Lim, piano, all students at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, who played as one dynamic entity in their stirring account of Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’ Trio, Op 70. Second prize was awarded to Amarins Wierdsma, violin with Edward Liddall, piano, students at the Guildhall School of Music, with special mention to fellow Guildhall student, Jonel Manciu. The annual competition, held at London ‘s Steinway Hall on 18 May 2016, followed two days of masterclasses with distinguished pianist Peter Frankl, who joined BPSE ( Beethoven Piano Society of Europe ) Vice-Chairman Alberto Portugheis on the Jury for the competition. Nine ensembles participated, each performing a duo sonata or trio of their choice, to regale a select Steinway Hall audience.

Framed by two contrasting accounts of the Violin Sonata in A Op 30 No 1, the all-Beethoven programme featured two trios, a cello and piano sonata and six violin and piano sonatas. To open with Op 30 No 1 was the duo of Kamila Bydlowska, violin with Lucy Colquhuon, piano, whose engaging performance was followed by the particularly impressive Fiesole Piano Trio, who gave a warm-hearted, expressive and witty account of the Op 1 No 3 Trio, full of contrasts and fine tonal control. Alexander Kirk’s pianism was incisive and polished, while Rosa Hartley, violin, projected an appealing tone, responsively complemented by cellist Kieren Carter.

Next was Sophie Leung, violin with Boya Yang, piano in a propulsive account of the Sonata in A minor Op 23, with the Cello Sonata Op 69 to follow. Here Hannah Watson’s pianism was noteworthy, always compelling and precise as support to Thomas Marlin’s cello, which gained in energy but seemed generally slightly thin in tone. The drama of their Op 69 Cello Sonata was capped by the exciting and arresting account of the ‘Kreutzer Sonata’ Op 47 by violinist Jonel Manciu and Kaoru Wada, piano. This was a reading of this large scale work full of felicities, clarity and impetus, reaching to the extreme registers with sonorous richness.

After a short interval, the duo of Corinna Hentschel, violin and Giulio Poggia, piano gave a forthright rendition of the power -packed Sonata in C minor Op 30 No 2. It was then the turn of the remarkable young Louko Trio, whose uniquely involving account of Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’ Trio, Op 70 No 1, enthralled the audience. Certainly the slow movement that gives the piece its name was full of suspense and whispered tension, the chromatic harmonies and subtle rhythms characterised with intensity. The motivic clarity of their first movement was impressive, as was the remarkable transition from the slow movement into the exhilarating impetus of the driving finale.

The sprightly early Sonata Op 12 No 3 was offered by Akerke Ospan, violin partnered by Tamila Salimdjanova, whose intrepid pianism injected sensitivity and energy into Beethoven’s varied textural interplay. Yet it was the outstanding violin tone and matched responsiveness in the piano that gave a special aura to the duo of Amarins Wierdsma, violin with Edward Liddall, piano. Their interpretation of the A major Sonata Op 30 No 1 displayed resilient, supple tone and interplay between the players that gave this performance the edge.

Introducing the Jury decision, Alberto Portugheis thanked Peter Frankl and emphasised how fortunate the BPSE were to have such a distinguished teacher for the masterclasses in which everyone had learned so much, and improved their styles. Peter Frankl, in his preamble to awarding the prizes, observed that in some cases the musical personalities were impressive but the task was to judge the ensemble playing. For that reason the first prize was awarded to the Louko Piano Trio, who, he believed, really listened to each other, giving a really enjoyable performance. Second prize went to the Wierdsma/Liddall duo, with special mention for artistry and personality going to Jonel Manciu. Prizes include cash awards and recitals as part of the BPSE series in London and around the UK, with details to be announced at www.bpse.org Copyright © 21 May 2016 Malcolm Miller,

Written by Malcolm Miller © 2016

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