Professors place second in international piano competition

Jeff Savage, assistant professor of music, and Karen Hsiao Savage, piano instructor in the School of Music and Theatre Arts, Washington State University, placed second at the Concours Grieg: International Competition for Pianists in Oslo, Norway.

“It was a great experience,” said Karen Hsiao Savage. “We expected to see great talent, and indeed the level of competition was very high.”

“It is definitely an experience we would consider again,” she said. “It was an opportunity for us to broaden our performance and competition experience, which is something we now can share with our students.”

Held Sept. 2-10 at the Norwegian Academy of Music, this was the seventh annual Concours Grieg: International Competition for Pianists. The event, which included two-piano duo, piano four hands duo and solo competition, attracted 40 performers from around the world.

“The School of Music and Theatre Arts at Washington State University is somewhat unique,” said Gerald Berthiaume, director of the school. “While it is common to find great talent in music schools at most universities, our faculty is distinct in that so many of the professors perform worldwide, competitively and professionally.”

The free repertoire performed by this year’s two-piano contestants included one or more movements of Mozart/Grieg Sonatas K.V. 545, 533/494, 186g/283, 457 or Mozart/Grieg Fantasia K.V. 475 or Grieg: Old Norwegian Romanza, op. 51. The contestants played 30 minutes from their free repertoire in the first and second rounds. In the finale, contestants played 20 minutes from their free repertoire and one obligatory piece: B. Bartok, Sonata for two pianos and percussion. Savage and Hsiao Savage performed with percussionists from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo.

Jeff Savage and Karen Hsiao Savage will perform two pieces from the Oslo performance-Rachmaninoff Suite no. 1 and the Bartok Sonata at a WSU concert Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. in Kimbrough Concert Hall on the WSU Pullman campus. The concert is part of the new School of Music Faculty Artists Series.

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