Young music students shine at Richmond Music Festival
A "very very high level" of young talent impressed adjudicators in this year's Richmond Music Festival, with standout pianists as young as 12 and 13 taking home top prizes.
"Both senior piano adjudicators…mentioned that the level of students is so high," said Victor Shevtsov, president of the Richmond Music Festival Society.
The three-week festival offers a competitive venue for young music students in piano, voice, strings, guitar and woodwinds. Professional adjudicators give students feedback on their performances before the best return for a gala concert, where a host of awards are presented.
This year's festival, which concluded Nov. 24, hosted 700 young musicians from Richmond and across Metro Vancouver. Vera Lu, 13, earned one of the top prizes: the $500 Richmond Music Festival scholarship and trophy for most outstanding gala performance.
Lu, a student of Shevtsov, played Bach's challenging "Goldberg Variations" at the gala concert.
"She did so well," said Shevtsov. "Bach is Bach. It's not such an impressive and virtuosic piece for the audience, but still the audience was absolutely quiet listening to her."
The piece has proved a match for Lu's smaller hands, and her performance amazed adjudicators and earned her the top gala prize. Lu is now preparing for a Bach competition held in New York, her teacher said.
Angeni Wang, 13, received the prestigious Tom Lee Trophy, awarded to the best overall performer in all divisions at the festival.
Wang, who has been a piano student of Shevtsov for nearly four years, scored high marks in all festival classes.
"She plays music that requires a lot of maturity," said Shevtsov. "She's getting more and more secure and technically brilliant when she performs on the stage."
Wang will be on the stage again on Jan. 26, this time with her brother Arthur Wang, 12. The pair will perform as guests of Richmond Orchestra in a concert at Gilmore Park United Church.
This year's festival demonstrated the strong dedication to music many students are now showing at an early age—especially in Richmond, where children of Chinese ethnicity usually study at least one instrument, said Shevtsov.
"I've stopped being surprised," he said. "Half of my class are students of very high ambitions and dedication to music. They practice so hard and want to participate in international competitions and want to achieve high results."
Some of them, like Angeni Wang, are dreaming of becoming professional musicians. Others are already eyeing other professions while developing a lifelong love of music.
Richmond Music Festival 2012 Awards
•Tom Lee Music Trophy to overall Best Performer in all divisions: Angeni Wang
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship ($500) & Trophy: Vera Lu
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship ($200): Kevin Ng
•Tom Lee Music certificate ($200): Roger Wang
•Tom Lee Music certificate ($200): Julie Wu
•Most Promising Performer Strings Trophy: Kevin Ng
•Most Promising Performer Voice Trophy: Sarah Orsmond
•Most Promising Performer Guitar Trophy: Sean McGowan
•Most Promising Pianist Trophy: William Lu
•Natasha Foresi Trophy Junior Flute Player: Sorbin Kim
•Natasha Foresi Trophy Intermediate Player: Cecilia Hua
•Natasha Foresi Trophy Senior Flute Player: Karen Wen
•Most Promising Pianist aged 9 & under: Julie Wu
•Most Promising Pianist aged 12 & under: Claire Liu
•Most Promising Pianist aged 15 & under: Vivian Lou
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship (junior voice): Ysabelle Santa Ana
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship (intermediate voice): Yuan-En Monica Tang
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship (junior woodwind): Mila De
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship (intermediate woodwind): Kelly Li
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship (senior woodwind): Logan Lan
•VCGS Scholarship (junior guitar): Justin Yan
•VCGS Scholarship (intermediate guitar): Oliver Korman
•VCGS Scholarship (senior guitar): Sean McGowan
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship (junior strings): Amy Zhang
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship (intermediate strings): Trisha Doo
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship (senior strings): Kevin Ng
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship (junior piano): Athena Deng
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship (intermediate piano): Vera Lu/Arthur Wang
•Richmond Music Festival Scholarship (senior piano): Roger Wang/Daphne Wang/Ariel Mo/Amy Yu