By Brandon Walker
A Lakehead University student placed first in the Cremona International Competition for Piano, held virtually on July 17 and 18.
Third-year music student Evelyn Davenport spent six weeks preparing for the Cremona Competition, based out of Italy, practicing more than 25 hours per week.
The 18-year-old, who began playing when she was six, performed seven pieces during the competition.
“In the first round I played works by Bach, Debussy, Scarlatti, and Rachmaninov,” Davenport said. “In the second round I played works by Beethoven, Ginastera, and a composition by Aris Carastathis of the Lakehead Music Department.”
Out of those seven pieces, Davenport named her favourite song to perform.
“My favorite to play is Danzas Argentinas by Alberto Ginastera. The work has a lot of energy and is very fun to perform. One of my favorite composers is Alexander Scriabin. I am looking forward to playing more of his works in the future.”
The most stressful part of the competition was not performing live, Davenport said, but having to record her performances.
“Overall, I had a very pleasant experience competing. The recording process was tedious and took multiple days, but it was very fulfilling once completed.”
While performing, Davenport mainly focuses on projecting the music and conveying each piece’s mood.
“It’s important that every artistic decision I make can be clearly heard by the judges, especially through an online format,” she said.
Davenport offered advice for aspiring musicians.
“Consistency is key. There are a lot of unfamiliar and challenging aspects to music playing that take a long time to develop, but it is a very rewarding process,” she said.
As first prize winner, Davenport will be performing at the Winners Concert in Cremona in 2022, as well as performing a piano concerto with the Festival Orchestra next summer.
Professor Evgeny Chugunov, who guided Davenport’s preparation, said she is a performer of many rare qualities, both disciplined and artistic.
“She has worked very hard,” he said. “It is a pleasure to see her recognized.”
Dr. Moira McPherson, Lakehead’s President and Vice-Chancellor, congratulated Davenport on her success.
“Evelyn has practiced and worked hard to perform to a world-class standard, setting a high standard for other students in the program," Dr. McPherson said.
“Our Lakehead University community joins her, her internationally-renowned professors and others who supported her, and the world in applauding and celebrating this exceptional achievement.”