[FOUNTAIN]Korea’s pianist brothers

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[FOUNTAIN]Korea’s pianist brothers

Among living pianists, Maurizio Pollini receives the most money for a performance. For just one concert, he is guaranteed at least $100,000. He won the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in 1960 by unanimous agreement of the judges.
Arthur Rubinstein, who was one of the judges, applauded Pollini’s performance, saying that he doubted that there was a pianist with more mastery in their midst. The competition, which is held every 5 years, is the gateway to becoming a world famous pianist. This is because this competition is nothing like other music contests, which are full of factionalism and involve taking advantage of being on one’s home ground. If the level of the participants is below the judges’ expectations, no prize is awarded.
The common rule is to memorize the pieces and play without a score in order to concentrate on the sounds. But even the Chopin Competition went through some trouble in 1995. Back then, Japan was full of enthusiasm, as Rika Miyatani had placed fifth. However, when it was disclosed that she had practiced with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the official accompaniment orchestra for the competition, she paid the price. Despite the incident, the compeititon was able to maintain its prestige by not awarding a prize for 10 years.
At this year’s competition, pianist brothers Lim Dong-min and Lim Dong-hyek were tied for the third place. There was no second place winner. It is a splendid achievement, a result of constant effort and passion.
The brothers said, “from now on, we will live as professional pianists rather than concentrating on music competitions.” Competitions are not everything in music.
In 1980, Ivo Pogorelich gained more attention than the winner, Dang Thaison from Vietnam. At that time, he was eliminated in the third round for interpreting Chopin’s music at his own will, but now his unique interpretations are highly praised.
Last Wednesday, during the final round of the competition, Lim Dong-hyek asked the conductor to stop the performance, saying “A note sounds odd.” It turned out that a piano tuning instrument was left inside the piano.
The competition fans who were focusing on the live performance through the Internet, not knowing whether it was night or morning, were astonished at his musical talent. He left a deeper impression than the first-place winner, Rafal Blechacz from Poland.
Let’s hope the brothers, with much more practice, both become world famous pianists.


by Lee Chul-ho

The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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