11. February 2019 Nikita Stěpaněnko

Chapter five

The date: February 2nd, 2019 Anno Domini. This particular academic year has been my most successful year so far. In the end of the previous semester I won a 2nd prize in the "New York Solo Competition" and subsequently I performed in the winner's concert which took place in the one the most famous buildings of the world of classical music, the Carnegie Hall (the Weill Recital Hall). There were for about 30 other performers in the concert, mostly pianists and string players. Although the concert was long, it was a joyful experience nonetheless. I had two supporters in the audience, my dear girlfriend Raina Yuhan Wang and my fellow colleague Leoš Malec, who is also a Kellner Family Foundation Recipient. Leoš is studying in New Jersey, so it didn't take him too long to come to Manhattan.

Another good news is that I have been recently notified about my results of auditioning for the three days Piano Masterclass Programme organized by the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition for Young Pianists. I have been selected as one of the six candidates in order to play for three Chopin experts, pianists who are winners of countless competitions and who are members of international competitions juries. This is truly an honor and a privilege for me. It also enhances my biography, which is crucially important for classical musicians nowadays.

I am regularly performing throughout this academic year in various concerts, whether it be a solo performance, a piano duo or choir performance. I am very grateful to The Kellner Family Foundation for supporting me in my studies. The success comes slowly, but steadily and New York city is indeed unique, because it keeps proving to me that it's a right place for classical musicians in terms of opportunities and a career.

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