San Antonio International Piano Competition


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.


I've seen contestants in piano competitions play some large and impressive works when trying to stand out from their other competitors. Big and difficult works like Liszt's "b minor sonata" or Ravel's "Gaspard de la Nuit" are sure to get the judges attention, but there is also the fear of losing the audience.

It is not easy programming your first set at a competition. This week on The Piano, we visit more recordings from last October's San Antonio International Piano Competition.There are only two big and challenging works on the program.


We continue working our way through the preliminary rounds of last years contest. This Sunday, the music of Italian Domenico Scarlatti, a man who won a harpsichord "play-off" against G.F. Handel, and was so impressed by Handel's abilities that he always crossed himself when mentioning the composers name.

Scarlatti left Rome and moved to the courts of Spain and Portugal where he taught Queen Barbara to play harpsichord. Our "concert" starts with three of Scarlatti's sonatas.

Carrying Scarlatti's style