Well, I am a semifinalist of the Rubinstein. The finalists were the Chinese guy Hao Zhu, who was apparently always the staff favorite; a Czech girl; and a Russian guy. I did not win the award for interpreting the commissioned Sonata in the best way, either (which was split between two others), but at least one (and possibly two) of the jury members thought I should have gotten it.
One of the many issues I’ve learned is that I think competitions in a far-away timezone in which I have not been well-adjusted to for the past month are not for me. I still have yet to get a full 6 hours or more of uninterrupted sleep ever since arriving here. Anyways, time to go exploring Europe now!
As a side note: On the flight here, I was working on an extension to the beautiful, but extremely brief, Melodie in C Major, Op. 38 No. 3, by Edvard Grieg. The whole piece is AA’BA”BA”, and is only two pages and less than two minutes long. The A’ and A” sections are beautiful to the point of invoking tears, but the work is so short that I feel it needs an extension to be really meaningful. I plan to finish this soon, adding a C and C’ section with a climax to really juice out the work, ultimately ending with yet another recurrence of A”… possibly A”’. Mwahaha.
If you would like to listen to that Grieg work on YouTube: please avoid Walter Gieseking’s horrendous performance of it, and get away from the other amateurs, too; listen to Håkon Austbø’s recording; although I dislike his harshness of the triplet-thirds in the B section with the accel., he otherwise performs the work magnificently, using crystal-clear voicing and great rubato for maximum effectiveness, and giving it that soul-yearning feel that makes one wonder of eternity. Excellent.