As part of his 30-month-long tour through the United States and Europe, Jose' Feghali will perform at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall Friday night. Feghali, 24, who won the gold medal in this year's Van Cliburn Piano Competition, has been winning competitions since he was 8 years old.
"My mother loves music and always listened to it," says the Brazilian-born pianist. "She encouraged my brother, who was 6 when I was 3, to play piano, and I started playing by ear." He began taking lessons at age 4, performed in his first recital the following year, and in 1969, the 8-year-old Feghali was one of several musicians selected to perform with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. Feghali left Brazil when he was 15 to study with Maria Curcio Diamand in England, and then attended the Royal Academy of Music.
Since the Van Cliburn competition June 2 until next June, Feghali estimates he will give 50 performances in the United States and 15 to 20 more throughout Europe. But he says the hectic pace doesn't wear him out "more than any other kind of job would." At his Washington engagement, the pianist will perform works by Haydn, Villa-Lobos, Chopin and Schumann.