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Westfield Competition, Final Round Set

Harpsichordist Sabina Chukurova
The final round is set for today's conclusion to the Westfield Center International Harpsichord Competition. At the end of the semifinal round on Thursday, the jury selected five competitors to play in the final round. There will be two sessions at the Clarice Smith Center today (2 to 5 pm, 7 to 9 pm). Audience members who attend both of them will be able to cast a vote to select the recipient of the $1,000 Audience Prize. The jury will award a First Prize ($7,500), Second Prize ($3,500), and Third Prize ($2,500).

I heard only two harpsichordists play in the competition so far, and only in the semifinal round. Both of them, heard on Thursday morning, have made it to the final round: Julia Ageyeva Hess (8 pm) from Estonia, and Sabina Chukurova (2 pm), born in Tajikistan but living in Berlin -- an excellent musician and a student of Mitzi Meyerson. Between them will be the only remaining American, Stephen Gamboa (3 pm), French harpsichordist Ronan Khalil (4 pm), and the Spaniard Ignacio Prego (7 pm). In the third round, all competitors are expected to play Frescobaldi's “Toccata Undecima” from the second book of toccatas, J. S. Bach's B-flat major partita (No. 1, BWV 825), and a selection of pieces from one of the Ordres in François Couperin's third or fourth book. For the final work, each must play specific works either by C. P. E. Bach or by Joseph Haydn. See the Westfield Competition site for more details. Especially because we cannot be there for the final round, we invite readers who hear the performances to add their comments here.

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