Congratulations to Canberra pianist and School of Music alumnus Ronan Apcar, winner of the ACT Young Virtuoso Award held at ArtSound in September, for taking second place at the competition’s national final on Sunday 20 November!
Read ArtSound's full article here.
Reflecting on the experience, Ronan Apcar writes: "I was so happy with my performance and just the chance to be at a competition on a national level. It's the first time I've been in a competition at a national level, which is such a milestone for me because I'm not competitive in that way - and I've also recently been thinking about how only a few years ago I didn't think I would even be a performer in any way. I thought composition was going to be my thing, but that's just the way the cookie has crumbled!
I performed two pieces which are both epic, all-consuming works in their own unique ways: Busoni's transcription of Wagner's Siegfried's Funeral March and Rautavaara's The Fire Sermon (Piano Sonata No. 2). Being a funeral march, there's a real gravitas in the Wagner/Busoni and I am always a sucker for heavy stuff. It's also so fun to play because I get to experiment with the full scope of dynamics and colour from the piano, and I try to think like a conductor and not a pianist when playing it. The Fire Sermon however is just an incredible beast, something that really feels like an extension of myself. To me, it's this incredibly beautiful marriage of modernism and (honestly) sheer violence with beautiful lyricism and moments. I almost think of it as a whole Greek tragedy in just about 10 minutes - a real rollercoaster. And the opportunity to just smash the piano with my palms and forearms is a healthy outlet - how lucky I am to do that and call it art..!
I was at the Canberra Critics' Circle Awards tonight and they said something about how artists are usually the biggest critics of themselves. I feel like I've gotten good at celebrating my achievements and minimising the impacts of my "mistakes" on how I perceive the performance. But it's a real shame that often, as artists, we struggle to really appreciate what we create and make once it's public. I have to say I'm feeling quite surprised at how calmly satisfied I am with my performance at the Nationals! Of course, there are always little mistakes, but I was so comfortable performing those pieces I could really let go and channel whatever artistic statement I wanted to make. I feel like that came across and I couldn't have been happier with my performance to be honest! The second place is just the cherry on top really."
Ronan also received a Canberra Critics Circle award on Tuesday 22 November for his world premiere of Dulcie Holland's Piano Concertino in June with Canberra Sinfonia and fellow alumnus Leonard Weiss!