The Washington International Piano Arts Competition returned for the 2021 season with great fanfare with a welcoming reception held at the residence of the Ambassador of Bulgaria, His Excellency Tihomir Stoytchev and his wife, Dr. Lubka Stoytcheva. The reception launched the 18th Washington International Piano Artists Competition and the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Washington International Piano Arts Council.
Chateau Gardecki, the founder and Board Chair of WIPAC, was determined to hold the competition despite the challenges presented by the pandemic and brought together 15 artists to compete in the three day competition. She acknowledged the members of the jury, the Co-Chairs of the Competition Committee, John P. Williams and Rosalia Rodriguez-Garcia, and the many contributors who made the event possible, particularly WIPAC’s loyal patroness, Mrs. Lola Reinsch.
WIPAC President, Portia Davidson introduced some of the contestants attending the reception, including Eladio Santiago, a Chopin enthusiast who is of Cuban descent and a longtime USA resident; Simon Finlow, a PhD in music from Kings College, Cambridge, who left the world of music for many years and returned to participate in the Van Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition and WIPAC; Nathan Sisson Coleman, who was obliged to stop playing the piano as a teenager, and was later encouraged to pursue his pianistic talents as physical therapy for a severe back injury; Judy Darst, a piano teacher who has been a WIPAC contestant in previous years; Melinda Morse, who started her musical education playing the trombone, since that was the only instrument available for her to practice on; Professor Yun Liang who was encouraged by other pianists to participate in WIPAC because “they were so warmly received and treated with respect;” and Mark Cannon, a psychiatrist from New York City who pursued his passion for music as he pursued his medical career.
The preliminaries will begin on Thursday morning, and the finals will be held at the beautiful Cosmos Club on Sunday.


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