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July 30, 2012

Washington International Piano Festival features Van Cliburn gold medalists

With all the talk of gold medals these days, it seems like a doubly appropriate time to point out that two winners will be at Catholic University in Washington this week. OK, so they're not Olympic athletes, but they did have to display exceptional skills during a high-pressure, competitive event to win the gold.

The Washington International Piano Festival, which provides master classes and private lessons to participants from around the world, also offers several public concerts. Two of those concerts will feature gold medalists of the high-profile Van Cliburn Competition.

On Wednesday evening, the ...

Brazilian-born Jose Feghali, the top prize-winner at the 1985 Cliburn Competition, will play Schumann's "Kinderszenen," Debussy's "Suite Bergamasque," a Chopin Scherzo, pieces by Ernesto Nazareth (including "Odeon" -- I've included a video of Feghali performing it below; although you'll hear Cliburn announce that Feghali will play two works, only "Odeon" is on the clip).

Alexander Kobrin, the Moscow-born pianist who took the gold at the 2005 Cliburn Competition, will give a recital on Saturday afternoon. His program includes a Mozart sonata, Schumann's "Waldszenen," and the complete Etudes, Op. 25, of Chopin (I've included an Etude from Op. 10 to give you a taste of Kobrin's talent).

Check out the festival schedule for more concerts at CU, as well as the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.

And now for a few notes from the gold medal guys:


Posted by Tim Smith at 1:32 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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