Once every two years Brisbane becomes the stage for one of the most acclaimed international piano festivals and competitions in the world: Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition and Festival. Organised by the legendary pianist’s daughter, Natasha Vlassenko, and her husband Oleg Stepanov, in the memory of the great Russian pianist, this event has put Brisbane on the map when it comes to world class classical piano.
The 2019 edition of the festival was opened with a concert from acclaimed Irish pianist, John O’Connor. Under his dexterous fingers, Haydn’s Sonata trickled like a spring brook, and Schubert’s Impromptus sparkled like champagne crystal, and the nocturnes by Field, Chopin and Scriabin took us on the journey of the “after-dinner” pieces through centuries. After such a marvellous start to the festival, the Queensland Conservatorium venues are set to become the busy hub for many piano enthusiasts for the next two weeks.
The first week of the festival is focussed on competitors – 20 of the best young pianists from Australia and New Zealand battle it out over three gruelling rounds, where they play three hours of music prepared for the competition. The second week of the festival is an opportunity to hear the judges (all of them with grand careers and long list of accolades behind them) perform and give masterclasses to some of the competitors. The event also includes Little Lev Festival – a chance for child musicians to test the performance and competition waters.
The climax of the festival is the grand finale on the 12th July, where four finalists will perform a piano concerto of their choice with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Richard Davis (Chief Conductor and Head of Orchestral Studies of Melbourne Conservatorium).
The festival is an open event with tickets available for competition rounds (2nd, 4th-7th July), masterclasses and recitals by the members of the jury (8th-10th July), Little Lev showcase (11th July), and the finals accompanied by Queensland Symphony Orchestra (12th July).