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Youngest of young rule at piano competition at BGSU PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT/Sentinel-Tribune Arts & Entertainment Editor   
Sunday, 10 February 2013 18:39
First prize winner of the David D. Dubois Piano Competition, Patrick Pan, performs. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The youngest of the young ruled the roost at the third David D. Dubois Piano Competition Sunday. PHOTO BLOG
The two top prizes went to 14-year-olds at the annual competition for high school age pianist held at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts.
Patrick Pan, of Houston, took the top prize of $3000. Resplendent in a red shirt with a necktie decorated with a keyboard, he started out the second half of the finals with a flourish with Franz Liszt’s “Rigoletto Paraphrase.”
“It’s a fun piece that I really enjoy playing,” he explained afterward. And audience loves it as well.
As did the judges Thomas Rosenkranz of the BGSU faculty and guest judges Elizabeth Joy Roe and Greg Anderson of the internationally acclaimed classical musical act the Anderson Roe Duo.
Pan said one of the attractions that brought him and his parents Dr. Y.S. and Rouza Pan all the way from Houston was his love of Anderson and Roe’s work.
He’s been following them for several years, watching their high-energy videos. On Saturday night he got a chance to see them live for the first time when they performed a Festival Series concert.
The $2000 second prize went to Evelyn Mo, from Virginia.
Choosing the winners from the field of nine finalists culled from Saturday’s semifinals round of 26 pianists was tough.
“I must say I’ve never heard nine like this before,” College of Musical Arts Dean Jeff Showell said at the beginning of the award ceremony. He said he was pleased to turn the responsibility of selecting the winners over to the judges.
“We’re so honored to be in the presence of such inspired musicianship,” Roe said.
The playing was emotional and demonstrated a great investment in the work.
Anderson deciding on the prize was difficult, and on another day the results may have been different.
As it was there was a tie for third place between Ariela Bohrod, a Wisconsin pianist who was one of a number of competitors  from the Interlochen Arts Academy, and Trenton Takaki, from Winnetka, Ill.
Roe said all the finalists had bright futures.
In a competition where excellence and technical accomplishment are the price of admission, selecting the winner comes down to the pianist who on any given day delivers the most moving performance, Anderson said.
“We selected people who touched us in some way,” he said.
Though both Roe and Anderson have played many competitions, this was the first time they’d judged.
“It was interesting to see it from the other side,” Roe said.
Bob Swinehart, the trustee for the Dubois Trust, said the high quality of performances in the event justified his board’s decision in 2008 to award the grant that launched the event to BGSU.
The festival has attracted better and better participants each year, he said. All the finalists have major prizes to their names, and Mo has already played on National Public Radio’s “From the Top.”
Pan said he learned about the Dubois festival from his teacher who had been contacted by Dr. Laura Melton, the coordinator of the event.
Mo said she’d learned about the Dubois competition from one of last year’s prize winners.
Mo said it lived up to its billing. She liked everything, the campus, the facilities, the people involved.
Mo said she started playing at age 3 ½. Her mother Tao Huang had been taking piano lessons before Evelyn was born, but quit.
Then with a piano in the house, the mother asked her former piano teacher when the right age was to start her daughter.
Evelyn Mo took to the instrument right away.
Pan also started at 3. His parents had noticed his ability to pick out tunes by ear. At 7 he started violin. He also has won prizes for his performance on that instrument as well as for his prowess in math and science.
He has already completed his high school work. This year he is at home doing independent study with medical professionals. His father said he was too young to head off to college.
Pan plans to enroll in college in fall, 2014 to study both science and music. He’s looking at joint programs at Harvard and the New England Conservatory and Columbia and Juilliard.
Mo also plans to double major though her decision is still three years off. While she knows music will be part of what she studies, she hasn’t decided just what else she look at.
Mo said she loves music because it provides an emotional release.
That’s evident when she plays, throwing her petite frame into her performance.
That’s both an emotional reaction to the music and an intentional technical strategy, she said. “I need more strength because I’m so small.”
Last Updated on Monday, 11 February 2013 11:23

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