The four finalists are doing all they can to impress the judges and make their mark on this special occasion. There is the award-winning performance of the commissioned work "Upsparkles" by the Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Moravec.
Russian mystic Alexander Scriabin breaks free from 'sonata-form' with his "Sonata Fantasy in g minor."
Claude Debussy cuts loose from the forms he used in his first set of preludes when one of the contestants plays four of the twelve works from his second set from 1913.
It is nerve racking to compete head to head. In sports this is a fairly normal part of the job, but when it comes to artists, especially pianists, it is a big shift from the norm.
A musician's routine is quiet and predicable. You generally practice alone and it is here that you polish and learn, working on your fingering, phrasing and the little things that mean so much to you, but might not be even noticed by an audience.
I remember reading a legendary performer once say that no two performances are alike. When I starting studying the piano I recorded some of my practice sessions to hear how I was playing without the distraction of making the music.
The great musician was right, not only were all my repetitions different, I couldn't make my performances sound the same if I tried.
In the hurly-burly of a Piano competition there are selections that can make or break the chances of a competitor; pieces so difficult or dense that only a master musician can make them work for the audience and more importantly, the judges.
On the Piano this Sunday, we continue with music from the 2012 San Antonio International Piano Competition where two of the pianists "go big" in an effort to convince the judges that they have what it takes to be worthy of the gold medal.
Over the years of listening to the San Antonio International Piano Competition, I've noticed that nerves play an important part. Just enough, and a performance can be charged with excitement, too much, and disaster awaits.
With the competitors narrowed from 11 to eight, the stakes are higher, and that could help the judges separate the best as the competition continues.