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Piano competition concludes in Fairbanks

Posted: July 17, 2014 - 12:03am

FAIRBANKS — The University of Alaska Fairbanks’s Davis Concert Hall has been home to some of the most talented pianists younger than 32 in the world over the last few weeks as they competed in the Alaska International Piano-e-Competition.

And on Saturday night, thanks to the high tech self-playing Yamaha Disklavier piano that can record every touch of a key or press of a pedal, those award-winning performances filled the hall once again, showcasing the award-winning performances of the last 10 days.

And at the end of the night, the judges announced that Peter Friis Johansson, a concert pianist from Denmark and Sweden, won first prize in the competition that featured more than 20 contestants from around the world. Johannson smiled wide as he took the stage and bowed while receiving the award, which came along with a gold medallion crafted by students in the UAF Art Department.

Johansson then took the stage with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra to play his award-winning concerto in the grand finale of the competition.

The award also comes along with performances in New York City and Chicago, including the opportunity to return to Fairbanks and play with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra in its opening season performance on Oct. 5.

The entirety of the competition, which is considered one of the most prestigious in the country, was played on the Yamaha Disklavier piano, which can be linked into a worldwide network allowing the performances to be recorded or played in real time on any other Disklavier piano in the world. Each performance was also broadcast online and can be seen online at http://uaf.edu/piano.

Many of the artists, the judges and many in the audience appeared to be enchanted by the high-tech piano, which replayed the performances with all the feeling and soul from the world-class pianists. One of the award-winners even bowed to the piano after it replayed his performance.

Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra board president Chuck Lemke said the orchestra is working to keep the piano and is holding an outreach fundraiser for people sponsor it key by key.

The competition’s other winners included Alexey Chernov, of Russia, winning second prize, Frank Dupree, of Germany, winning third prize, Marianna Prjevalskaya, of Spain, winning fourth prize, and Chen Guang, of China and Italy, who won the fifth prize.

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