While teaching at a summer music festival in Spain, Robert Palmer, Ball State professor of music, met Frank Wibaut, artistic director of the Hastings International Concerto Competition, and was invited to serve on the jury for the 2015 competition.
During that competition, Palmer and Wibaut decided there should be a series of live preliminary rounds in different parts of the world, including Muncie. Now, Sursa Performance Hall hosts the auditions for all of North America.
Of the 42 competitors from the United States, only four will advance to the next round: Daniel Baer from the Eastman School of Music, Sylvia Jang from the Juilliard School of Music, Inyoung Kim from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and Priscilla Navarro from the University of Miami Frost School of Music.
When performing in Sursa Performance Hall, Baer and Kim both said they were impressed with the performance space.
“I really enjoyed performing at the concert hall,” Kim said. “Actually, the acoustic sound was really good and also the condition of the piano on the stage was very good. I think I could express what I wanted on the keyboard.”
The next stage of the competition will be in Hastings, England, and only six contestants will advance to perform with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The first prize winner of the competition will receive a prize of almost $20,000 and other performance opportunities.
“The standards are extremely high at every stage of the top competitions,” Baer said. “Hopefully I’ll meet and learn from other great pianists and make friends with people who study and live throughout the world.”