A music teacher from western Iowa is among the 32 pianists chosen to take part in one of the world’s top piano competitions in Salt Lake City, Utah, starting next week. Brian Lee, an assistant music professor at Northwestern College in Orange City, leaves this weekend for the Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition. Lee was chosen from among 520 pianists who auditioned for the competition from 40 countries. The 32 competitors represent 22 nations, including China, Finland, Kazakhstan, Israel, Russia and Sri Lanka. The competition lasts two weeks. Lee says each pianist will play three rounds of music before six finalists are chosen. He’s picked a wide-ranging selection to perform in the 20-, 30- and 45-minute rounds.He’ll be playing Brahms, Liszt, Mozart, Schoenberg, Rachmaninoff and others. The 95-minute performances must all be memorized — no sheet music will be allowed. The 29-year-old Lee is a Canadian citizen who was born in South Korea. He says he’s more excited than nervous about the competition.The top six finalists get cash prizes while the winner gets 35-thousand dollars, concert engagements and a recording contract. The competition runs June 17-30.
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