Our grantees| Nikita Stěpaněnko| A pianist's diary: chapter 3
19. June 2018 Nikita Stěpaněnko

A pianist's diary: chapter 3

It's the middle of june and I am in a train right now, going to the airport in Milano. Although the spring semester in the MSM finished a month ago, there's no real holiday for musicians, especially for pianists (at least that's how I feel). I am on my way back from Italy to Prague because I completed a mission. I was one of 27 participants in the 3-round piano competition in Valtidone, located in the north-western Italy. Right now I am in a bittersweet mood, because on one hand I didn't succeed, due to extremely high level of a performance of each participant and also the jury was very strict and demanding - they only let 8 candidates to perform in remaining 2 rounds and all of them were older than me; on the other hand I gained a lot of experience and useful tips and feedback both from jury members (famous teachers and piano virtuosos) as well as from fellow piano participants who shared with me their experience in their schools and other competitions, to which they went. It's crucially important for young musicians to never give up on competing and to never stop practicing and improving . There's never a winner in art, particularly in music, unlike in sports and sometimes musicians say that competitions are a lottery, because the results are based on the taste of each jury member.

Now back to what happened during the last few months in the Manhattan School of Music. I am really grateful that my piano teacher gave me a gig to perform with an orchestra which happened right after my final exams which I somehow survived without blacking out (music theory of the 20th century, organ class, Shakespeare comedies class, humanities and the most important part - piano jury). I had to learn within a month a movement from the chinese piano concerto called "the Yellow river". Before that, I also took part in a tour with chamber choir ensemble. We performed in NYC, Boston and the University of Connecticut. Before all those amazing events happened, in April I was honored as a czech citizen to represent my country in the Concert of the international students of the MSM. I performed Antonín Dvořák's two slavonic dances with my girlfriend on 4 hands (each performer had to choose a piece by a composer from his/her country).

Also, throughout this academic yearI learned a big chunk of new piano pieces and I can't wait to participate in two other competitions this summer (both of them are in Poland) and in summer courses located in the South Bohemia, at the castle Blatná, where I will take lessons from a renowned Czech pianist Jan Bartoš. Again, I'm endlessly grateful to the The Kellner Family Foundation for helping me to achieve my life goals and dreams.

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