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China's best young pianists will receive expert instruction from the world's best musicians at a new academy to open Beijing next year.

Master pianists Fou Ts'ong, Menahem Pressler, Dmitri Bashkirov, Claude Frank and John Perry will share their knowledge to the budding Chinese artists.

According to William Grant Nabore, co-founder and director of the International Piano Academy Lake Como, the new Beijing branch of the academy will be a center of excellence.

He said three or four of the seven students selected from other parts of the Asia-Pacific region will be Chinese.

"We chose to open a branch in Beijing because China is the most important nation in the Asia-Pacific region, and is also becoming one of the centers of classic music in the world," Nabore says.

In 2002, Nabore and Argentine pianist Martha Argerich founded the academy, which is located in Dongo, Italy. Every year, the academy selects young pianists from more than 400 applicants across the world, to study at the academy for one to two years.

Tuition and accommodation are free. The teachers come to the academy in turn, each staying for one week, to give lessons to the students. Chinese pianists Sun Meiting and Xie Ya'ou have studied at the academy.

"When I first came to China seven years ago I noticed that the most gifted Chinese pianists were obliged to go abroad if they desired to obtain an international level of performance," Nabore says.

The International Piano Academy Lake Como's branch in Beijing, collaborated with the Central Conservatory of Music, is the only branch of the academy so far. The classes will begin in September 2008. The same teachers who teach in Italy will come to Beijing to teach the seven students selected by the academy.

To launch the project, the International Piano Academy Lake Como, Central Conservatory of Music and China National Symphony Orchestra will jointly hold a Beijing Lake Como International Piano Festival in July next year.

The piano is one of the most popular musical instruments in China. In recent years, two young Chinese pianists - Lang Lang and Li Yundi - have become popular throughout the world and are idolized in China for their musical achievements.

"I have a vision that if the respect and love for music is propagated throughout China where so many new concert halls are being built, then maybe there will come the day when if you want to study and hear the best classical music, you have to go to Beijing, to Shanghai, to China," Nabore says.

Xie Ya'ou is a Chinese pianist who has studied at the International Piano Academy Lake Como. 

(China Daily August 7, 2007)


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