Last night, as you probably know, was the final round of the 2016 USA International Harp Competition. If you were not able to attend last night’s fourth stage competition and awards ceremony, the livestream video is still available to watch on Youtube. Elizabeth Bass, Lenka Petrovic, and Katherine Siochi performed Ginastera’s Harp Concerto with the Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music’s summer orchestra. A huge congratulations to Katherine Siochi, from the United States, who was awarded the Gold Medal. Katherine was the first U.S. winner since the very first USAIHC in 1989. Elizabeth Bass of United Kingdom received second prize and Lenka Petrovic from Serbia was awarded third. Congratulations to all the competitors and finalists of the 2016 USAIHC.
I thought the best conclusion to my blogs and the USA International Harp Competition would be to share advice for future participants of the USAIHC. I asked for advice from each of the competitors and the responses I received were very inspiring. I will share a few with you, and I hope they will inspire you as well:
“Start early and enjoy the experience. It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to do this. So relax as much as possible and don’t be afraid to go for it! You never know…” – Melanie Mashner, USA
“Try not to be distracted by what other people are doing. Learn the repertoire early so that it becomes part of you. Do as much mental practice as you can and remember that your life will go on after the competition! Do try to take as much from the experience as possible.”- Elizabeth Bass, United Kingdom
“Practice, practice, practice! And listen to great musicians’ performances, not just harpists, as much as possible.” Oksana Sidyagina, Russia
“Competition is not the whole life, but the joy of music is.”- Jia Peng, China
“You have to really want it, because preparing for this kind of competition asks way more from you than you can imagine.”- Aisté Baliunyté, Lithuania
“The best thing is to always find pleasure in playing. Life isn’t a competition. Fix your goals and then try to achieve them with your time. It’s important to take the time in order to find your musicality, your interpretation, and your maturity”- Arianna Rossi, Italy
“It’s really a huge achievement to prepare for something like this! I would encourage a future competitor to remember why they love the harp and focus on that. And also, be proud of what you’ve accomplished. No matter what the outcome, your achievement in preparation is probably the greatest prize you will carry out of Bloomington”- Rachel Hall, USA
Thank you so much for all who have read my blogs and have joined me on this USA International Harp Competition journey. I feel honored to be working so closely with the USAIHC and Harp Column, who have made this opportunity possible for me. I have enjoyed getting to know the contestants well over the past two weeks, and I hope you were able to get a glimpse of their personality through my blogs. Thank you!