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2017 - a review
2017 - a review
The 5th Manchester International Concerto Competition and 17th Chetham’s Piano Summer School

Though the Chetham’s Summer School has been staged annually since 2001, this August’s course felt like a new undertaking. There were well over 240 participants on each week of the course, supported by sixty-five leading pianist-teachers from all over the globe. Additionally the Manchester International concerto competition, returning after a four year sabbatical, proved to be both memorable and exciting. The competition is for pianists under the age of 23 and in 2017 it attracted 68 entries from 22 countries. A screening jury chose twenty pianists from this list to perform in the semi-finals, which were scheduled as part of the summer school programme

The brand new 500 seater Stoller Hall, opened in April 2017, added a tremendous new dimension to the evening concerts, which included a remarkable feast of solo recitals: Craig Sheppard performed all 24 Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues from memory, Peter Donohoe the first six Mozart Sonatas (as well as Liszt’s Don Juan Fantasy as an extended encore). There were also memorable recitals from Leslie Howard, Jonathan Plowright, Michael Lewin, Sandro Russo, Vladimir Tropp as well as four late night concerts from artistic director/ founder of the course Murray McLachlan who played (in 240 minutes) the complete piano works of composer-in-residence John McLeod. Symphonically the course was well served by the remarkable locally based Stockport Symphony Orchestra, who under the virtuosic banner of Stephen Threlfall accompanied all Five Beethoven Concertos and Choral Fantasy with soloists Leon McCawley, Noriko Ogawa, Dmitri Alexeeyev, Peter Frankle, Leslie Howard and Murray McLachlan. This was an extraordinary marathon, a feast of music making that will long be remembered.

Threlfall also conducted internationally acclaimed Manchester Camerata in the finals of the concerto competition in Stoller Hall. An extended jury of fifteen of the Summer School Faculty enjoyed remarkable performances from the six finalists: First prize was awarded to 19 year old Alim Beisembayev from Kazakhstan, a student of Tessa Nicolson at the Royal Academy in London. He gave a memorable, commanding and exciting performance of Tchaikovsky’s first concerto which brought the house down and was also awarded the orchestral prize. Second Prize went to 14 year old Zixi Chen from China for an artistically probing, sensitive rendering of Beethoven’s Second Concerto. 11 year old Zhexiang Li, also from China, gave a barnstorming and heroic performance of Kabalevsky’s Third (‘Youth) Concerto and the other finalists were Tianglang Zhou, 17 from the UK (Chopin Concerto no. 1) Caroline Hsu, 13 from USA (Beethoven Concerto no 1) and Wyn Chan, 21 also from the UK (Liszt Second Piano Concerto).

All semi-finalists were given special feedback and masterclass sessions following their participation in the competition, and everyone involved benefitted from watching the many hours of teaching in the summer school, as well attending lectures, workshops, student concerts and- for a few- participating in the annual cabaret! With over 115 practice pianos and seven concert venues as well as full board within the campus grounds itself, Chetham’s Summer School offers unparalleled opportunities for pianofiles of all levels and ages. Bookings for the 2018 course open in January www.pianosummerschool.com
RESULTS
RESULTS
First Prize, Orchestral prize and Euan Moseley prize: Alim Beisembayev – 19 Kazakhstan

Second Prize: Zixi Chen – 14 China

Third Prize: Zhexiang Li – 11 China
Finalists:
Tianglang Zhou – 17 UK
Caroline Hsu – 13 USA
Wyn Chan – 21 UK

Kate Elmitt Prize Berecz Mihály - 19 Hungary

Chetham’s 2018 piano course prize Xuanyan Gong – 11 China


Huge congratulations to Alim Beisembayev who was awarded the First Prize, Orchestral prize and Euan Moseley award. In addition Alim will perform a solo recital as part of the Young Artists recital series on a future Chetham’s piano summer school.

The standard for the competition was exceptional and all 20 semi-finalists performed to a very high level.
The six finalists all performed with the outstanding Manchester Camerata and conductor Stephen Threlfall – something they will treasure for a very long time.

Many thanks to everyone who helped to make the event a great success. Looking forward to the next competition which will be in August 2019.
Finalists announced
Finalists announced
Announcement of FINALISTS For the 5th Manchester International Concerto Competition for Young Pianists
Jury – BingBing LI, Peter Lawson and Aaron Shorr

Congratulations to all 20 semi-finalists in the 2017 competition. The jury were very impressed with the high level of playing. The following pianists will perform in the finals with Manchester Camerata and conductor Stephen Threlfall.

Sunday 27th August – Stoller Hall 7pm
Caroline Hsu, (USA) Beethoven No 1 in C major Op 15
Zhexiang Li (China) Kabalevsky Concerto no. 3

Sunday 27th August – Stoller Hall 8.30pm
Tianlang Zhou,(UK) Chopin No 1 in E minor Op 11

Monday 28th August – Stoller Hall 7pm
Zixi Chen, (China) Beethoven No 2 in B flat major Op 19
Wyn Chan, (UK) Liszt No 2 in A major

Monday 28th August – Stoller Hall 8.30pm
Alim Beisembayev, (Kazakhstan) Beethoven No 4 in G major Op 58

Highly Commended
Xuanyan Gong (China) Beethoven No 1 in C major Op 15
George Harliono, (UK) Rachmaninov Concerto no. 2 in C minor
Xiao Ming Zhang, (China) Chopin No 1 in E minor Op 11

Murray McLachlan – 26th August 2017
Founder and Artistic Director, Manchester International Concerto Competition for Young Pianists
The finals
The finals
Six outstanding young pianists will have the opportunity to perform with the Manchester Camerata and conductor Stephen Threlfall.

About Manchester Camerata

Glastonbury openers, UK Ensemble of the Year (RPS Music Awards 2017) and ‘Probably Britain’s most adventurous orchestra’ (The Times) – Manchester Camerata is redefining what an orchestra can do.

Famous for innovation, we pop up in all sorts of places, from concert halls to care homes, and collaborate with a spectrum of artists, from classical superstars like Martha Argerich to iconic band, New Order. We opened the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury this year with our collaboration with the Hacienda DJs. Our Music Director and conductor, Gábor Takács-Nagy, is one of the finest musicians on the planet, and a magnet for international artists. A Registered Charity, we’re at the forefront of music-led dementia research, and our pioneering community programme helps to promote social change in our communities.

Stephen Threlfall’s current role as Director of Music at Chetham’s School of Music, the UK’s leading music school, is a happy culmination of many years’ experience in the professional music world. An alumnus of the Royal Northern College of Music, Stephen’s career took him first to the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was Sub-Principal Cello, before becoming Director of Music at Benenden School. At the same time, his reputation as a conductor and educator was growing rapidly.
As a conductor, Stephen has earned much acclaim for his performances, recordings and broadcasts. He has conducted at many major venues and festivals in the UK and with many international solo artists. Engagements have taken him to the USA, Europe and Scandinavia, with regular visits to the Urals Philharmonic and Bach Orchestras in Yekaterinburg, the Royal Oman Symphony and Amman Symphony Orchestras. Other ensembles include Leeds Festival, Chester Bach and Manchester Chamber Choirs; the Northern Ballet and Northern Chamber Orchestra, Manchester Camerata and the BBC Philharmonic. He has conducted a number of concert broadcasts for the BBC, Classic FM and Russian national Radio and TV, and his repertoire includes many world premieres, notably High on the Slopes of Terror by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Stephen made his Royal Festival Hall debut in February 2012 in an all Rachmaninov programme.
Stephen combines a natural sense for performance with his creative vision to inspire the artistic direction and programming of concerts, festivals and educational events. He has a passion for working with young people and has enjoyed successful collaborations with many student and youth orchestras both at home and abroad.
He has created and directed a number of arts and community projects involving an impressive number of guest musicians, artists and specialists. In Autumn 2008, the Leonard Bernstein Celebration included chamber and symphonic concerts. In Autumn 2012, Stephen directed a 4-day celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of Frederick Delius. In 2013 Stephen devised a major project marking the centenary of Benjamin Britten. The ‘Russian October’ project marking the centenary of the 1917 Revolution takes place around Manchester this autumn.
Stephen has collaborated with an array of outstanding classical artists, and with a number of actors and entertainers including Timothy West and Prunella Scales, Robbie Coltrane, Vanessa Redgrave, Bridget Forsyth, Hinge and Bracket, Ted Robbins, Emily Watson, Russell Grant and Celia Imrie.
Stephen’s performances of Mahler 3 in July 2015 with the Mezzo Soprano Sarah Connolly and the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra were both highly praised.
Recent performances include a recording of the orchestral works of Marcus Blunt with Manchester Camerata, and conducting the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. Concerts in Melbourne, Australia, and return visit to Russia, Oman and the USA planned for next season. He also devised the celebratory Opening Weekend of concerts and events to mark the opening of The Stoller Hall at Chetham’s School of Music in April this year which received a 5 Star Review.

Semi-finalists are announced.
The semi-finalists are announced. An outstanding first round of 78 entries from 23 countries has resulted in a very high standard in the 2017 ompetition. As a result we are delighted to announce 20 young pianists have been selecetd for the next stage of the competition.
Promotional films now live
Promotional films now live
Two films (one in English and one in Chinese)are now available to give more insight into the 2017 competition.
2017 Competition announced
2017 Competition announced
We are delighted to announce that the 5th competition will take place from 23 - 29 August 2017. The competition will be for pianists 22 and under.
Selected semi-finalists will be invited to the Chetham's International summer school for pianists to perform their complete concerto on two pianos. The international jury will select up to SIX finalists to perform with Manchester Camerata under conductor Stephen Threlfall in the brand new Stoller Concert Hall.

Full details on how to enter will be updated soon.
Results of 2013 Competition announced
Results of 2013 Competition  announced
We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2013 competition is Sophie Dee. Sophie is 19 amd is a student in London. She performed Chopin Concerto no 2 in the finals, accompanied by Manchester Camerata and conductor Stephen Threlfall.