Two years ago, I won my first notable competition. The Irving M. Klein International String Competition was initially a personal test to see if I could apply my improvements on the violin to a set of repertoire, prepare it to the highest level possible, and perform to the best of my abilities. Little did I know that my experience of preparing for and participating in the competition would be one of the single-most important periods in my development thus far as a violinist.
After passing the initial recording elimination, I was determined to be as prepared as possible for the competition. In a situation where so much is out of your control, it's best to leave as little to chance as possible. My teacher, Robert Lipsett, was instrumental in guiding me on how to balance my practicing, performing as close to the competition date as possible, rehearsing with piano, instrument maintenance prior to the competition, and planning clothing, food, and transportation details as thoroughly as possible. With still a month to go before the competition, I stayed in Los Angeles for an extra week after the end of the semester for daily lessons with Mr. Lipsett. I will always be grateful for his guidance and dedication.
Upon arriving at the competition, I was continuously amazed at how supportive the directors, staff, and collaborative pianists were. Never once was there a feeling of cut-throat competition or unnecessary pressure. Everyone at the competition wanted the best for each of the participants, something that was evidently clear and reassuring to us as semi-finalists. Not at all the experience I expected after hearing some of my colleagues' competition stories!
I can honestly say that I did not expect to win. Not because I didn't play my best, as I was actually blessed with the beautiful result of preparation meeting opportunity, but because there were other semi-finalists that were seasoned with much more competition experience than I. Before we knew the results, I was simply happy to know that I had accomplished the goal set forth for myself. Hearing my name announced for first place, seeing my father literally cry for joy, and the amazing performance opportunities that ensued? That, in a word, was surreal.
|After the awards ceremony with my elated parents|
A big congratulations to the 2012 winner of the Irving M. Klein competition, cellist and fellow PMPer Austin Huntington! For more information on the competition, please visit their website.
Until next time,