Prizes, Pictures and Periodontistry: Part Seven Cliburn Amateur

Ever dreamed of hearing a periodontist play a piano concerto?

Me neither. Yesterday afternoon I got my chance to hear one and you know what? He was pretty good!

Thomas Yu, a periodontist from Calgary, played the final movement of the Saint-Saens Egyptian Piano concerto with a passion not usually heard in the playing of periodontists. 

Thomas Yu modeling the cowboy hat he received as winner of the Press Jury Award.

Thomas Yu modeling the cowboy hat he received as winner of the Press Jury Award.

I freely admit he's the only periodontist I've ever heard play the piano, so maybe they're all knock-em-dead brilliant pianists. Ask yours to play for you at your next visit. I suspect, however, that Wu is one-of-a-kind. 

The finals of the Cliburn Amateur Piano Competition were a fitting finale to a week of exceptional playing by remarkably accomplished performers. All are successful in their "real lives" but they also play the piano at a professional level. The doctors, Wu and Slavin, (Periodontist and retired Opthamologist, respectively) placed First and Second while the Aymonod, a strategy consultant placed third.

Listening to the competitors speaking, they all talked about how much music meant to them. Many of them had taken time away from the piano. My student, Janet, hadn't played for twenty-five years before returning a few years ago. Here's a picture from her final performance. 

Janet Sommerfeld playing Rhapsody in Blue in Tokyo at the age of 20.

Now accomplished in wildly diverse careers, they just wanted to make music again. 

I've talked to many people who studied when they were young want to continue studying and especially performing throughout their lives. I find it sad that many of the music teachers organizations focus so completely on the education of the young without supporting the transition from young student to adults who continue to play throughout their lives. This has been a focus of much of my teaching and I've loved helping these students continue to grow throughout their adult lives.

I had a chance to take a few pictures of the competitors at the finals. Such interesting and unlikely combinations. 

The women's bathroom stalls at Bass Hall in Fort Worth are surprisingly free from musical graffiti.

The women's bathroom stalls at Bass Hall in Fort Worth are surprisingly free from musical graffiti.

Deirbhile Brennan, an accountant for a pub in Ireland, and Keiko Kircher, originally from Japan who is now a college physics instructor in Illinois.

Gregory Knight, a software Engineer from North Carolina, and Janet Sommerfeld. 

Matthias Fischer, a physician from Germany, chats with Jasmin Tiodang, a stay-at-home mother from Indonesia.

Keiko Sato, an International Civil Servant from Japan who resides in France, and Janet Sommerfeld, a freeland writer/producer from Los Angeles. (And also my student.)

Keiko Sato, an International Civil Servant from Japan who resides in France, and Janet Sommerfeld, a freeland writer/producer from Los Angeles. (And also my student.)

Eberhard Zagrosek, a retired physicist from Germany, Gordon Cheng, a systems analyst from California, Janet Sommerfeld a freelance writer/producer from California and Jorge Zamora, a Sales Director from Mexico sitting together at the final concert.

Eberhard Zagrosek, a retired physicist from Germany, Gordon Cheng, a systems analyst from California, Janet Sommerfeld a freelance writer/producer from California and Jorge Zamora, a Sales Director from Mexico sitting together at the final concert.

Every note that was played at the competition is available to watch on YouTube. I'll leave you with the finals notes we heard at the competition. There wasn't much doubt what would happen after this thrilling performance. Enjoy.

P.S. It happens every four years. Is it time to start practicing?