About Piano Cleveland

5 Questions for Alexander Schimpf

October 20th 2013

First in a series of conversations with interesting people connected to the CIPC. Watch this space for more!

1. How did you first learn about the CIPC and what compelled you to apply?

The competition is well known anyway – again and again I had heard about friends and colleagues who took part, and I also heard about the results of the 2007 and 2009 competitions. I was already thinking about quitting the competition business – but I still wanted to take part in one in the United States – and Cleveland was the perfect choice as far as repertoire and timing were concerned.

Alexander Schimpf, Mixon First Prize winner of the 2011 Competition.

2. As you walked onstage at Severance Hall to perform in the final round with The Cleveland Orchestra, what was going through your mind?

I remember being very calm and more thinking about the honor to perform Beethoven’s 4th concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra than being nervous about the participation in a competition final round. And I also thought of my family who was listening online in Europe – around 2 am in the morning!

3. Do you have a special pre-concert routine to calm your nerves?

Not really. It is always different and depends on how I feel on that day and what kind of concert it is. It is extremely important to take time and get to know the piano and the hall – but then, anything can happen. Sometimes I telephone a friend from backstage, or just sit down for ten minutes to concentrate. Right before walking out, it is important to move a little bit (it can also be jumping around backstage…) to be active and not too cold in your arms and fingers.

4. You just visited California for the first time to start your U.S. engagements. What did you like best about it?

I liked so many things in California! The Pacific Ocean was very special – I had never seen it in reality before; and I also liked the character of the people who were very open and easy to talk to. But this is something I found at other places in the USA, too.

5. Looking forward to the next two years, what concert are you most eagerly anticipating, and why?

I am, for example, very much looking forward to going to Las Vegas! I heard so much about the place, and it will be great fun to be a part of the many diverse performances that are offered to visitors there. Another city that I am excited to explore is Boston; and I am especially looking forward to my next concerts in California and Florida, because I really liked both States when I went there for the first time.

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