Semi-finals showcase stellar performances of OPC's eldest and youngest competitors

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London, Thursday, October 4th 2012

Today, the first day of the Open Piano Competition's semi-finals, saw a total of nine pianists from Category 1 play a 25 minute programme of music from the Romantic and 20th Century eras, including works by Chopin, Debussy, Prokofiev, Liszt and Schumann.

Forming part of the lunch-time recital at St. Olave's church in the City of London, the pianists took to the church's old Bosendorfer piano with flair, ambition and competitive spirit.

The audience was treated to interpretations of Chopin's Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante by Category 1's eldest and youngest competitor on the same evening.Valentin Bogolubov, 64, from Canada, and Ngoc Vu, 20, from Germany, both played the virtuosic piece, the second half of which was originally written for piano and orchestra. Chopin was clearly a favourite amongst the competitors today, as similarly both Fabio Sormani, 44, from Italy, and Benjamin Carre, 22, from France, played his Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31.

"Today the talent totally blew me away. A perfect setting for La Catedrale Engloutie by Debussy, Carolin Danner's performance was stunning and really grabbed my attention", said Ella Connolly, OPC director.

Keeping a low profile as always, the OPC's artistic directors and judges for the first and second rounds have not given anything away, slipping out quietly from the church when today's performances ended. They will not reveal the finalists until the second day of the semi-finals is over.

Tomorrow, starting at 1pm, the five remaining Category 2 pianists will play for up to three places in the final round, on Monday 8th October where they will compete against the finalists from Category 1.

With  £3000 and a live studio performance on BBC Radio 3's In Tune at stake, the competition is gearing up rapidly to what will without doubt be an evening of virtuoso performances on Monday 8th.

We look forward to welcoming you tomorrow at St Olave's church, at 1pm, to support our remaining semi-finalists. Admission is free!