icon-date-replay.png Crescendo to the Finals!

Leeds News Final Part 1

Crescendo to the Finals! The moment has come – the Finals are upon us! For the closing concerts of the competition we welcome the Edward Gardner and the fantastic Halle Orchestra! And where better to perform the concerto Finals of The Leeds than the Leeds Town Hall?! 

Opened by Queen Victoria in 1858, Leeds Town Hall has seen the most iconic composers and conductors of its era! Amongst them, Benjamin Britten, who came to Leeds in 1950 to conduct his Spring Symphony. Now it is our finalists’ turn to take centre-stage as they reach the last phase of what has been an exhilarating twelve days. 

After rehearsals with the Halle Orchestra, we catch up with today’s finalists: Aljoša Jurinić, Mario Häring and Anna Geniushene, as they prepare for their final performances at The Leeds. 

Mario tells us how excited he is to have made it to the finals. He also recounts, with an air of relief that he is now free from the pressure to pass to the next round. “That’s it, it’s the last round!” Anna goes on to share her admiration for the competition, not least being able to choose the repertoire she interprets onstage: “We were not confined by a chosen repertoire but were rather given the liberty and encouragement to choose our programmes.” She explains that this is rare in this league of competition, but it is very important because it gives her the opportunity to “demonstrate my versatility”. The competitors were all asked, if they made it to the Finals, to put forward two concerto options. Anna is immensely pleased that the jury chose her Prokofiev Concerto No.3 because it is very close to her heart. Hot of the stage from rehearsal with the Halle, Aljoša is beaming. “Ed Gardner is excellent and accommodating. There is a perfect balance between his artistic ideas with the orchestra and my interpretation at the piano”. Aljoša also tells us that he is glad there have been extensive rehearsals with the orchestra, which isn’t always the case at piano competitions.

As we near the end of an epic adventure, we ask our finalists what advice they have for young pianists who are starting out and thinking of competing themselves. Mario, with his infectious positivity, tells us “concentrate on the music and enjoy yourself!” Aljoša joins with Mario in his encouragement for young pianists and adds that it is essential to surround yourself and trust the knowledgeable people around you – teachers, mentors, supervisors. Anna shares her own experience of The Leeds as she describes the competition as an opportunity to share your love of music with the audience: “the competition is on your side”. She goes on to draw upon her emotional journey: “There is an essence of pressure in a competition but you have to forget that and bring your own feelings to the music. Share your love of music with the audience and it will always pay you back”. 

Tune in to share the five finalist’s passion for the piano. Tonight and tomorrow they perform an emotionally charged competition Final!

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