Finalists for the 11th UNISA International Piano Competition announced

Back: Szczepan Konczal, Ben Schoeman, and Chun Wang Front: Alexey Yemtsov, Pallavi Mahidhara and Martina Filjak

On Saturday evening 2 February 2008, after the final session of the third round, the six finalists of the 11th UNISA International Piano Competition 2008 were announced. Szczepan Konczal (Poland), Ben Schoeman (South Africa), and Chun Wang (People’s Republic of China), Alexey Yemtsov (Australia), Pallavi Mahidhara (USA) and Martina Filjak (Croatia) are the six finalists. Arjan Tien, from the Netherlands, will be conducting the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa during the final round of the competition.

Each finalist is playing two piano concertos with the orchestra during this popular event. Here is a short background on the 6 finalists:-

Martina Filjak (29)
Filjak is from Croatia and one of the older finalists. She has trained in the Zagreb Music Academy, the Hochschule Karlsruhe (2000-2004) and from 2004 till presently, she trains at the Hochschule Hannover.

She has topped most the competitions that she has entered and received most of her prizes during last year, 1st prize for 58 Concorso Internazionale di Musica Gian Battista Viotti Pianoforte, Vercelli and 1st prize: Ibla Grand prize and 3 other major prizes.

Szczepan Konczal (22)

Konczal who is from Poland has been training at the Academy of Music in Katowice from 2004 – 2008. He has been winning prizes since 2003 and his recent achievement was in 2006 where he was the finalist in the Tallinn International Piano Competition.

Pallavi Mahidhara (20)

Mahidhara, the only finalist from the US has trained at the Curtis School of Music, Levine School of Music and the Music Institute of Chicago. She has been winning awards from a very tender age and her most recent accolade was in 2006 – second prize at the Piano Arts National Competition.

Ben Schoeman (24)

Schoeman, our homegrown talent, has trained at the University of Pretoria and is currently training at the Accademia Pianistica ‘Incontri col Maestro’ in Italy. His recent win was in 2005, first prize at the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship.

Chun Wang (17)

Wang is from the People’s Republic of China and is the youngest finalist. He has trained at the Music School attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. His recent achievement was in 2006, first prize at the Villa Lobos International Piano Competition.

Alexey Yemtsov (25)

He is the only Australian finalist and has trained at the Australian Institute of Music and the Sydney Conservatorium. His recent award was in 2004 where he claimed third prize at the Pozzoli International Competition.

Jury members of the competition - Back: Mr Japie Saayman (Non-voting chairperson, UNISA)
Jean-Paul Sevilla (France), William Chapman Nyaho (Ghana/USA)
Sergio Perticaroli (Italy), John Roos (UNISA)
Front: Dianne Coutts (South Africa), Huiqiao BAO (PR of China),
Dame Fanny Waterman (UK), Manana Doidjashvili (Georgia)


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