First prize in the University of Maryland's seventh annual International Piano Competition was awarded Saturday night to 21-year-old Myung-Hee Chung of Korea. She studies currently at the Julliard School with Martin Canin, and last year won the youth audition of the Chicago Symphony. Her present award includes the Maryland Piano Festival prize of $2,500, and a solo recital at the Phillips Collection next spring.
After the competition's final round at Tawes Theater, the judges took 35 minutes to come to a decision, and when it was announced it left a sizable portion of the audience audibly upset.
The first runner-up, 24-year-old Colorado native Edward Newman - clearly the audience favorite - was awarded two prizes; the $1,000 Maryland Arts Council Prize, and the $200 Gisriel Prize for the best performance of the competition's required piece, the Third Sonata by American composer Robert Muczynski.
The second runner-up, 27-year-old Liliane Questel of Haiti, won the $500 Baldwin Prize. Still another award, the $500 Irwin Freundlich Prize, designated for the outstanding semifinalist, was split between Charles Abramovic and Robert Chumbley.
The three finalists were chosen from among 15 contestants through solo performances earlier this past week. For the finals, all three played concertos of their choice - the Prokofiev Thrid in the case of Questel and Newman, the Rachmaninoff First for Chung - accompanied by the Baltimore Symphony conducted by Sergiu Comissiona. Judges for the event were Dean Elder, Thomas Flagg, Malcolm Frager, Fernando Laires and Claudette Sorel.
Earlier on Saturday, the concluding day of the concurrent International Piano Festival, an announcement came from Gregor Benko, president of the International Piano Archives, that henceforth the IPA's vast collection of historic piano recordings and other documents would be housed at the University of Maryland. Benko spoke about the collection, and illustrated with some IPA treasures, including an 1889 recording of composer Johavnes Brahms speaking a greeting in English to Thomas Edison and playing 16 bars (unfortunately barely audible) of his Hungarian Dance No. 1.
On Friday night Rosalyn Tureck wound up a week of festival concerts with a performance of Bach's "Goldberg" variations that was on the deliberate side, but was nonetheless a model of clarity and stylistic elegance.