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Young Pianists Vie for Top Prizes at Milwaukee Competition

Erik Petersons, PCMS Concerts

Piano Arts is bringing together the cream of the crop of young pianists this week for its biennial North American Piano Competition, one of the most prominent competitions for these musicians.

The competition is for pianists ages 16-20, who are living or studying in North America. The judging has been going on since Saturday. The Finalists will perform with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra on Wednesday, June 11 in Uihlein Hall.

Pianist Lydia Artymiw

Pianist Lydia Artymiw is one of three judges for this year’s contest.

"I’m really looking ultimately for someone who loves their music so much that we can feel that love and that passion through their playing," she says. "The music becomes, then, really a true gift."

But in a somewhat unusual turn, the Distinguished McKnight Professor of Piano at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis is taking the stage herself tonight to perform a recital for the competitors and the public.

Artymiw met with Lake Effect in a rehearsal room at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music to talk about her recital, and she played two little-known Ukranian solo piano pieces, including an elegy by composer Mykola Lysenko.

Lydia Artymiw performs Lysenko's "Elegy" at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music

Artymiw, along with MSO principal cellist Susan Babini and Chicago Lyric Opera concertmaster and former MSO violinist Robert Hanford, will perform a recital tonight at 7:30 at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music on Milwaukee’s east side.

Another of the Ukrainian pieces she'll perform is a Kolomyjka, a type of dance tune, by Hans Kolesa:

Lydia Artymiw performs a kolomyjka by Hans Kolesa

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.