Talent without Borders!

Talent without Borders!

by guest contributor Joe David
Photo credit: Joe David

Once again, Washington International Piano Arts Council (WIPAC) proved that true talent has no borders. In her gracious way, the founder of WIPAC, Chateau Gardecki, greeted those in attendance at the Seventeenth Annual Winners’ Grand Prix Concert with her trademark vivacity, “Welcome to our wonderful world of music, the Language of Peace, where music transcends all languages,” she said. “Regardless of our ages or backgrounds, the sheer intimacy and beauty of each note magically breaks through all linguistic and cultural barriers and conveys emotions that are real to all us.”

Chateau and John Gardecki

In her search for talented musicians, Chateau found that they can be anywhere, in any corner of the world. She and her husband proved this point at a private concert for about 60 select music lovers at the Embassy of Bulgaria when they brought together three non-professional and talented pianists from different parts of the world.

What began with several days of events for three artists at a reception at the Holiday Inn (Rosslyn), ended with a Steeplechase (Middleburg) on Sunday. But the defining moment that had everyone standing and applauding and cheering was the concert at the Embassy of Bulgaria where the three pianists revealed their musical virtuosity to a select group of music lovers with each one of them playing three of their favorite compositions.

The main salon of the Embassy of Bulgaria, an almost perfect room acoustically for musical events, was the setting for the elegant evening of the classics. For about two hours, the three gifted pianists – one was from Japan, the second one from Ireland and the third one from Indonesia – demonstrated that talent knew no borders. For non-professionals climbing the ladder to fame, despite full-time careers in other professions, they still reserved time to develop their musical talent and play compositions from Bach to Liszt with professional ease. To the joy of everyone in the room, each musical selection was presented exactly, profoundly, and enjoyably.

  Mrs. Tihomir Stoytchev, Ambassador Stoytchev and Lela Mol

Mike Davidson, WIPAC president, summed it up beautifully. “It amazes me that these three pianists who have other careers managed to develop their skill to such a high level of perfection. Despite their busy life style, they still were able to reserve time to devout to their love for music.”

H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria, Tihomir Stoytchev, reverberated this sentiment when he spoke about the uniqueness of music, and how it sustained unity and inspired resistance during WWII against the forces of Hitler. “It is with music that we can influence history, and we at the embassy of Bulgaria are proud to be able to make our contribution to this art by opening our doors to WIPAC and to their many music-loving friends.”

Ambassador Tihomir Stoytchev and Drs. Wendy and James Trefil

The three prize-winning talents that provided the music for the evening were:

Deirbhile Brennan, who took a lengthy break from her music to be the mother to four children and to secure her career in government, proved to everyone that she hadn’t lost her skill during her absence by playing Bach’s prelude, English Suite No. 2, with enormous beauty and precision. Since her return to the piano in recent years, she has appeared in several international amateur piano competitions, where she has won first prize at competitions in Ile-de-France, Paris. During her current visit to America, she will be heading next to Boston, then to Paris before returning home to Dublin.

Joy Hagel SIlverman, Hiroaki Taniguchi and Wayne Sharp

Ferby Talan has won prizes in Russia, Boston, and Washington for his musical virtuosity. Since moving to New York City from Jakarta, his quest for self-fulfillment has taken him to the Manhattan School of Music where he has studied with Donn Alexandre-Feder and Zitta Zohar.

Hiroaki Taniguchi was born in Japan and began to study music at the age of 5. After studying law at Kwanseigakuin-University, while working Nishinomiya-city hall, he studied with several prominent pianists, and polished his keyboard dexterity under their guidance. Along the way, he has collected his share of prizes in Paris, Washington, Osaka, and Tokyo.