All this and sports stress, too?

Posted Sunday, May. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Alessandro Deljavan emerged from the backstage area clutching his hands tightly in a towel after his performance Saturday night.

“I am so tired,” he said, wiping his forehead and slumping into a chair in a practice room after greeting his host family and friends (including two dogs who accompanied them backstage). Who wouldn’t be pooped, after the feat of athleticism he’d just performed in the way of all 12 of Chopin’s Etudes, Op. 25?

“I didn’t sleep last night,” he said. But not just because of his impending first performance in his second trip back to the Cliburn competition. “They fired the coach of my football team.”

Deljavan, 26, who hails from Pescara, Italy, is an avid soccer fan and player.

Before his performance, Deljavan’s teacher, William Grant Nabore, said in the four years that have passed since his semifinalist finish in the 2009 Cliburn, he has become a much better pianist and a great teacher. His new CD, recordings of the works of French composer Charles-Valentin Alkan, has earned rave reviews, Nabore said.

When asked what the 26-year-old Alessandro Deljavan Cliburn competitor would have told the 22-year-old Alessandro Deljavan Cliburn competitor, the pianist said he would have programmed his semifinal round differently. He feels more in control of his playing four years later, he added.

The Bass Hall audience welcomed him back enthusiastically, with cheers coming up from the seats both as he walked on and off the stage.

Deljavan was already looking ahead to his phase 2 recital on Wednesday. But tonight was going to be for “a little drink,” he said, “and sleep.”

— Stephanie Allmon

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