Second-year graduate student Yumi Shigeyasu won third place in the piano division of the 10th Beten Music Competition.
Shigeyasu, who majors in Music and Fine Arts Studies, entered in the University and Graduate Student A division, the division for music university students specializing in piano. She qualified in the regional preliminary trial and, on December 25, she participated in the national finals in Tokyo, where she played “Islamey: an Oriental Fantasy,” composed by Russian composer M. Balakirev.
The piece is known as one of the most difficult piano solos in the history of piano, and at the time that it was composed, even the most accomplished pianists considered it difficult. Shigeyasu, who has been working on the piece for about a year, smiled as she commented, “I was very nervous because I just had one chance. I’m really happy to have placed with this piece.” She explained that she listened to herself objectively as she played in order to transmit the beautiful, fantastical and energetic melody.
Shigeyasu studied Russian music at the graduate school, and did research on Russian composer Mussorgsky for her master’s thesis. “I’m glad I was able to learn about not only music, but also a wide range of art because there were a lot of art classes,” she remarked. Of the future, she says enthusiastically, “I want to improve my performance skills and win. I also want to grow as a piano instructor.”