Micah McLaurin, a 17-year-old pianist from Charleston, was one of three who advanced to the final round of the Cooper International Competition, currently under way at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio.
The four-round competition culminates this evening in Cleveland’s Severance Hall with performances by the three finalists — Xiaoyu Liu, 15, of Montreal; Leonardo Colafelice, 16, of Altamura, Italy; and McLaurin — who will be accompanied by the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jahja Ling.
McLaurin will play Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2.
The 7 p.m. performance will be broadcast live online at www.wclv.com.
The first prize of $10,000 includes engagements with professional orchestras in Beijing and Shanghai, China. Second prize of $6,000 and third prize of $3,000 also will be awarded tonight.
Two weeks ago, McLaurin was soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Montevideo, Uruguay, where he performed the Chopin concerto.
The newspaper El Pais wrote, “The concert continued with the Chopin Concerto No. 2, where the pianist, just 17 years old, showed that the maturation of an artist does not always come with age: sometimes, as on this occasion, it manifests early.
“From the start, McLaurin’s masculine, sure and engaging approach made a strong impact. Every movement was a miracle of majestic interpretation. It seemed that this concerto was written especially for him.”
McLaurin studies with Enrique Graf, artist in residence at the College of Charleston, thanks to a full scholarship from the Charleston Academy of Music. He will enroll at the college this fall as an incoming Artist Certificate student.
Next week he will embark on another trip, this time to the Oxford Piano Festival in England, to which he was invited. Later this summer he will participate in the Leeds International Competition.
In January he will perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.