Some 270 guests enjoyed a great dinner and fantastic performances by Nikita Mndoyants, Stanislav Khristenko, Dinara Klinton, and Leonardo Colafelice at the Encore! gala to benefit the Cleveland International Piano Competition on Saturday, August 5. Net proceeds of $60,000 were raised for the organization.
Staff Profile: Crystal Carlson
Crystal Carlson, CIPC’s Production Manager, has had a very interesting career trajectory since joining the organization in 2011. But we’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s start with her background.
Like most of the CIPC staff, Crystal is a musician. Her instrument is her voice, making her the only vocalist on the team. Born in Idaho, Crystal received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. She then moved to Cleveland, where she received a Professional Studies Certificate in voice at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Having a self-professed love of performing, Crystal appeared in a number of local productions while teaching and working at Little Italy’s famed Corbo’s Bakery to help make ends meet. And then a friend suggested she apply for a temporary administrative assistant position at the Cleveland International Piano Competition.
It was early in 2011 and CIPC was staffing up for that year’s competition. Crystal was hired to help with the event (as was her future husband, but that’s another story altogether) and, as they say, she’s never looked back.
Young Artists Return in 2018
A little more than two years ago a select group of exceptionally talented young pianists surprised and delighted the audiences, critics, and jury members in attendance at the 2015 CIPC for Young Artists. The level of skill and poise displayed by the young virtuosos was, according to the Plain Dealer, “remarkable to behold,” and seasoned veterans of competition watching were captivated by their performances.
CIPC is pleased to announce that CIPC for Young Artists will be held again next year, presenting another opportunity for young pianists to hone their performance skills and audiences to catch an early look at rising stars.
The event will be held May 30 through June 9, 2018. Twenty pianists in two age groups will be invited to participate following a rigorous, worldwide preliminary screening round: ten in the junior division (ages 12 to 14) and ten in the senior division (ages 15 to 17). The opening ceremony, solo rounds, guest artist performances, and master classes will be held at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The final round, during which three finalists from each division will perform with the Canton Symphony Orchestra, will be held at the Maltz Performing Arts Center.
CIPC President and CEO Pierre van der Westhuizen said that he is delighted to once again host a competition at CIM, and made a point of praising the efforts of CIM President Paul Hogle to make it happen. “CIPC for Young Artists needs a lot of space, including practice rooms, both concert halls, facilities for social events, a jury deliberation room, and more,” van der Westhuizen explained. “It takes a lot of planning and advance scheduling to make it work – and Paul was an outstanding partner.”
Nikita Mndoyants Releases New CD
2016 Mixon First Prize winner Nikita Mndoyants has released a new recording on the Steinway & Sons label. Available in multiple formats at Amazon and iTunes, the disc includes Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6; Beethoven’s Bagatelles, Op. 126; and Prokofiev’s Sarcasms, Op. 17.
Mr. Mndoyants performed the first two of these works at his Carnegie Hall debut on June 7, earning outstanding critical reviews. “There comes a time when a rising talent comes onto the scene so polished that there isn’t much to say other than to simply applaud it,” wrote Donald Hunt for Pianist magazine. “Such is the case in the Carnegie Hall debut of Nikita Mndoyants, the winner of last year’s Cleveland International Piano Competition.” Mr. Hunt praised the Beethoven, in which the pianist “seamlessly made dynamic switches from technical flair to sensitive phrasing at the drop of a hat,” and the Schumann, during which “Mndoyants created extra space in each line that felt similar to the stylistic traditions of great jazz pianists of the past and present.”
The CD is included in the prize package presented to Mr. Mndoyants as the winner of the Cleveland International Piano Competition. Additional prizes include the Mixon First Prize cash award of $75,000, a Carnegie Hall debut, management services for four years, and concert engagements worldwide.