International Piano Competition in Shreveport attracts World Class Talent
The contestants represented 14 nationalities in what one organizer referred to as a United Nations of musical talent, competing at Centenary College.
A total of 32 pianists from across the globe converged upon the Red River Radio listening area for the 72nd Wideman International Piano Competition. Centenary College’s Hurley School of Music hosted the three-day event. The contestants represented 14 nationalities in what one organizer referred to as a United Nations of musical talent from countries including China, Israel, Russia, and the United States, among others. They study at premier music schools across the country.
The competition’s artistic director, Alon Goldstein tells us winning the competition in 1996 helped jump start his professional career at the age of 25. “(It) Gave me opportunities and here we are offering opportunities to people who will get the first three prizes. The Shreveport Symphony will invite the first-place winner to perform next year. We have concerts in Chicago and Oregon and New York and Washington D.C, for the prize winners of the competition.”
The top three winners also receive cash prizes. Ilya Shmukler (Russia/Israel) earned the gold medal. The silver went to Dmitry Yudin (Russia), while Qianli Chen (China) won the bronze medal. American Victor Shlyaktenko received an honorable mention, along with three other contestants.
The competition was founded in 1950 in part by the late Nena Plant Wideman – a prominent Shreveport piano teacher, concert pianist and member of the Centenary piano faculty. The late John Shenaut, conductor and founder of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra also co-founded the Wideman International Piano Competition.