Cliburn confidential: Gustavo Miranda-Bernales

Posted Wednesday, May. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition • May 24-June 9 • Bass Hall • www.cliburn.org

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Cliburn confidential

20 of 30

A series of conversations with the Cliburn competitors

Gustavo Miranda-Bernales

Nationality: Chilean

Born: Santiago, Chile

Lives: New York

Age: 22

What he loves most about his home country: “In Chile, I enjoy spending time with my family, including my younger brother, parents, grandparents,” he says via email. “We are very close to each other and they are my greatest supporters. The food they make for me is also amazing!”

Currently in his CD player or iPod? “I don’t have one, but through the convenient library or online media access, I often listen to vocal music and the pianists from the beginning of the 20th century such as Friedman [and] Rosenthal,” he says.

If his musical world was narrowed down to only one composer he could play, it would be? “I enjoy particularly playing the music of Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms,” he says. “Through these composers’ works I find emotions that relate strongly to my own personality. I also enjoy playing the music of Schumann. Somehow he is able to capture many extreme moods with the biggest intensity within one piece. Besides, I like playing works by the composers that explore areas out of the traditional principles of tonality, such as Scriabin and Faure, or some of the contemporary composers.”

Contemporary pianist he admires the most: “By living in New York, I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to hear many of the great contemporary pianists,” he says. “I have a great admiration for Murray Perahia, whom I had a chance to meet during his master-classes at The Juilliard School in fall 2012. The atmosphere that he is able to produce in every one of his concerts is a unique experience. Krystian Zimerman is another pianist that I have a lot of respect for. In addition, I appreciate the art of Richard Goode and Radu Lupu.”

Early musical memories: “I always liked to sing as a child. I remember one day I was at my grandmother’s house — I must have been around 3 years old — I saw this old piano sitting in the corner of the room. I came up and played from the middle C up to the G with my right hand, then I played from the B below the middle C down to the E with my left hand. And finally, I played them both together, and I fell in love with the piano ever since,” he says. “The fact that I could play many voices at the same time meant a lot to me. I still can recall the sound of it and I realized what drew my interest to music is that I am able to make counterpoint.”

Favorite foods: “I like many different kinds of food, and I get to try a big variety of food in New York,” he says. “However, I particularly like steak, and Asian food as well.”

The first really Texan thing he plans on doing upon arriving in Fort Worth? “I would love to eat Texan barbecue again. I got to try it once when I was here last time and it was unforgettable,” he says.

If he could travel back in time, which famous composer would he like to spend some time with, and what would he ask? “I would probably love to be in a concert by Beethoven, when he was still performing,” he says. “I am really curious about his piano playing, although I am not sure if he would like me to visit him or would bother to answer my questions. He took awhile to publish his 2nd piano concerto [which was written before his 1st piano concerto] because he did not want people to copy his style.”

Personal inspiration: “Music-making for me comes from one’s heart, from one’s deep conception of how one wants to present a piece, a section, and a phrase,” he says. “The most important thing in music-making for me is honesty. I need to really mean this phrase that I am playing.”

— Andrew Marton, Special to the Star-Telegram

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