【2nd Prize Winner : Miao Gao】The 4th Shigeru Kawai International Piano Competition

2023.11.29140 views

The '4th Shigeru Kawai International Piano Competition,' held from July 29 to August 6, showcased remarkable talents. In this article, we trace the journey of one of the six finalists, Miao Gao, through performance videos and an exclusive interview.

01_Miao GAO

 

Program

1st Round
F. Chopin / Nocturne No.3 in B major Op.9-3
A. Scriabin / Piano Sonata No.2 in G-sharp minor Op.19 ”Sonata Fantasy”

 

Semifinal Round
L.v. Beethoven / 15 Variations and a Fugue on an Original Theme in E-flat major ”Eroica Variations” Op.35
J.S. Bach = F. Busoni / No.5 Chaconne from ”Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor BWV1004”

 

Final Round
S. Prokofiev / Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.3 in C major Op.26

 

Interview

After the Semifinal Performance

Please share your thoughts immediately after finishing the semifinal round.

I was so tired that I broke out in a lot of sweat. My glasses kept slipping during the performance, but I managed to get through it somehow. I feel like I had a good performance today.

How did you choose the repertoire for the first round, semifinals, and finals?

In the first round of the competition, I consulted with my teacher and decided to perform Chopin's Nocturne from the set of required pieces. After Chopin, I planned to continue with Scriabin's Sonata, as I felt that their compositional styles were quite similar.
Moving on to the semifinal round, according to the competition rules, I had to choose between playing a sonata or a variation piece. My teacher advised me to go with the variation piece and suggested Beethoven's Eroica Variations, so I decided to prepare that piece. For the free-choice piece, considering the historical context, I selected two composers, Bach and Busoni, to create a balanced program with Beethoven in between.
For the final round, I opted for Prokofiev's Sonata No. 3.

01_08_Miao GAO-semi-2

©Shigeru Kawai International Piano Competition

 

After the Announcement of the Finalists

Congratulations on making it to the finals! Can you please share your thoughts right now?

I've just finished the rehearsal (30 minutes with the accompanist after the announcement of the qualifiers), but I'm still feeling nervous, and my hands are shaking a bit. It's my second time participating in an international competition, and the last time was four years ago, so I'm really thrilled!

 

After the Final Performance

Please share your current feelings.

This was my first time performing this piece in front of the audience, and everything was a new experience, so I'm still quite nervous. My professor, who performed with me, provided great support, and I'm very thankful for that.

How was the "Concerto for Two Pianos," which is a distinctive feature of this competition?

The teacher who performed with me was especially helpful in guiding me with the tempo and coloration of the second movement. His fantastic advice was invaluable. The professor’s performance was truly wonderful, beautiful, and filled with brilliance, and I enjoyed it immensely!

The venue changed from the first round to the semifinals. Did you feel any differences?

Both venues were excellent. In terms of sound, I believe that both halls provided acoustics that allowed me to hear my performance clearly, and the condition of the pianos was superb. I'm very grateful to the organizers of the competition for providing the opportunity to perform in such wonderful venues.

Lastly, can you share a message for the audience who attended this competition or watched the livestream?

I hope to continue delivering wonderful music to all of you who have been watching. Thank you very much!

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 ©Shigeru Kawai International Piano Competition

After the Award Ceremony

How are you feeling right now?

I'm feeling really excited, and also a bit hungry.

ceremony_08

©Shigeru Kawai International Piano Competition

 

Before the Prize Winner’s Concert

A day after receiving the award, please share your thoughts.

I feel extremely honored to have received this award. As this was my second international piano competition, I still feel quite overwhelmed. I want to express my gratitude to the competition and the judges for providing me with the opportunity to perform in this wonderful competition.

How was the Shigeru Kawai International Piano Competition?

It was an absolutely fantastic competition! The overall organization was incredibly well done, and everything from the hotel to the concert hall was perfect, making the 10 days very enjoyable. The pianos provided were outstanding as well. This experience was refreshing for me, and I can only describe it as truly wonderful.

Can you share your impressions of the SK-EX, your first encounter, memories of playing it for the first time, and its tone, etc.?

I've played Kawai pianos in China and the United States, so I already had a strong affinity for them, and the Shigeru Kawai has always been one of my favorite pianos. I consider it near perfection. Especially in concert halls like Kawai Omotesando Concert Salon "Pause" and Sakura Hall, the sound was incredibly beautiful, splendid, and extremely clear. For me, this piano is a vehicle to convey many ideas to the listeners through the music. The balance, in particular, was quite impressive, and the keys were very soft and easy to press. I'm not a fan of heavy keys, so the soft, easy-to-press keys are a significant advantage for pianists.

Miao-GAO_a

 

About Miao Gao

Born in 1999 in China.
- The 8th Steinway Junior Piano Competition (Beijing, China) – 2nd Prize
- The 11th Golden Bell Awards (Guangzhou, China) - Honorable Mention
- The 15th Khachaturian International Music Competition (Piano) (Yerevan, Armenia) - 3rd Prize, Best Interpretation of Romantic Era Composition
- The 3rd “Huang Long” Piano International Competition (Hunan, China) - 1st Prize, Special Prize

Writer

Kawai Japan (Domestic division)

This article has been translated from a piece published on the Kawai Japan website.

This article has been translated from a piece published on the Kawai Japan website.

Kawai is a Japanese musical instrument manufacturer founded in 1927,
renowned for its acclaimed acoustic and digital pianos.

Kawai is a Japanese musical instrument manufacturer founded in 1927, renowned for its acclaimed acoustic and digital pianos.

For almost 100 years, Kawai has delivered thousands of pianos to musicians around the world.
Kawai instruments are highly regarded and cherished by many pianists,
and frequently selected in international competitions and concerts.
The company's vision is to "share the joy of music and create emotional connections."
This heartfelt desire stems from Kawai’s long history of crafting musical instruments
and promoting music appreciation.

For almost 100 years, Kawai has delivered thousands of pianos to musicians around the world. Kawai instruments are highly regarded and cherished by many pianists, and frequently selected in international competitions and concerts.
The company's vision is to "share the joy of music and create emotional connections." This heartfelt desire stems from Kawai’s long history of crafting musical instruments and promoting music appreciation.

Kawai company information