June 26, 2014
By Edward Reichel | reichelrecommends.com
The Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition came to a close Wednesday in Abravanel Hall as three finalists vied for the gold medal in the concerto round.
Coming out on top was the 28-year-old Russian Andrey Gugnin.
Second prize went to the 22-year-old Korean Chi Ho Han, while the bronze medal was claimed by the 25-year-old Ukrainian Artem Yasynskyy.
The three gave dazzling performances with the Utah Symphony under guest conductor Thomas Hong. However, Gugnin’s account of Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto stood head above shoulders over the performances of the other two competitors. Gugnin exhibited a finely honed expressiveness in his playing that brought depth and definition to the work. It was beautifully crafted, dynamic and virtuosic.
Han gave quite a stunning reading of Rachmaninoff’sRhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, although he occasionally was overwhelmed by the music. Making up for that, though, was his wonderfully lyrical and sensitive reading of the famous 18th variation.
Yasynskyy made a valiant effort with Prokofiev’s Third Concerto, and to his credit he acquitted himself admirably. It’s a fiendishly demanding work and he does have the chops to pull it off. He did, unfortunately, stumble a bit in the opening and closing movements showing that the work is still a bit out of his reach. Nevertheless, it was a remarkable performance.
For his gold medal win, Gugnin receives a cash award of $40,000, along with concert and recital engagements in the United States and Asia as well as an appearance with the Utah Symphony in a future season. Along with this he also gets a recording contract with the Steinway & Sons label and a Bachauer CD recording.
Gugnin also won the Audience Prize and its $1,000 cash award.
Silver medalist Han receives $20,000 in cash as well as concert and master class engagements and a Bachauer CD recording.
Third place winner Yasynskyy gets $10,000 in cash along with concert and master class engagements and a Bachauer CD recording.
The nine remaining competitors who made it into the semifinal round will each receive a $1,000 cash award.