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Play on piano man

Get your dose of Haydn, Mozart and Liszt as The John Gomes Memorial Competition, popularly known as Con Brio opens at NCPA, next week. Con Brio is a platform known for recognising and honing talent in playing the soft-and-strong aka pianoforte, now known as the piano.


The finale of Con Brio 2012 was the performance of Bach’s concerto for four keyboards. Four pianos at once, not something you get to see often, not even at international venues

Currently, in the fourth year; Parvesh Java, Festival Director recalls how Con Brio started, “In 2010, I was determined to celebrate the birth bicentenary of Robert Schumann on June 8, his birthday. Inspired by my dear friend and cellist from the Bavarian State Orchestra Friedrich Kleinknecht, and with the support of pianists Paul Stewart and Marialena Fernandes, I decided to put a little festival together.”


Parvesh Java, the festival director of Con Brio competition

Continuing, he speaks of Anthony Gomes of Furtados who was more than ready to be roped in for the competition-cum-festival. From then to now, the event has become one of the most prestigious avenues in recognising local talent at a national level. Java shares, “The classical disciplines are finally beginning to come to the forefront. I would not attribute this solely to Con Brio, but to all the initiatives across the country, quite notably those of the NCPA.”

Java speaks about their forte programming and how the 2013 Con Brio will be especially unique, “This year’s festival is extremely easy to hop on board with. Come to the ‘Con Trio’ concert on July 12 and see how composers write for three musicians. On Saturday July 13, the semifinalists will tell children’s stories through music.

This is different: instead of asking pianists to play very difficult music, we have cornered them this year by requiring them to play extremely easy music but putting it into a story format. In the evening on July 13, we have a concert called A Carnival of Animals, a programme of all pieces dedicated to animals.”

For the connoisseurs, dog-ear your calendar for a performance by Symphony Orchestra of India and an innovative execution of Benjamin Britten’s The Little Sweep in celebration of his birth centenary, which also goes with this year’s theme of celebrating children.

Along with workshops and masterclasses, Java divulges, “We also do a piano camp, which is extremely unique: an all-expenses paid trip to a destination outside Mumbai for six to eight local pianists where they get to work with international pedagogues for four days.” Play on piano man, we say.

Log on to: facebook.com/conbrio.india 

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