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Israeli teenage pianist shows key connection with music from young age

CM 01/02/2021


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Youngsters who hit the fast track, in any walk of life, often find the pace too hot to handle. But there seems to be little chance of that happening with Katya Gervits.The 13-year-old is a contestant in the forthcoming Pnina Salzman Young Pianists Competition, which is due to take place, for the eighth time, at the Kfar Saba Conservatory February 8-18.In fact, the teenager is not the only member of her family vying for success on the ivories, with her sister Lisa, just over a year her senior, also in the lineup.The biennial contest offers total cash prizes of NIS 50,000, but, more importantly in professional terms, the winners in the various age categories will also be offered the chance to perform with some of the country’s leading classical ensembles.Tenderness of years notwithstanding, Gervits is something of a seasoned campaigner, having strutted her burgeoning stuff the last time out, in 2018.“I was a bit nervous, but it was also exciting,” she says. “I felt I had to show them who I am.”That is, indeed, a tough ask for an 11-year-old, although she has been at it for a while, and has had plenty of home-based support for her artistic endeavor.

“My mother is still my piano teacher,” she chuckles. “I have been learning with her since the age of four.”While she was gently guided toward music in early infancy, Gervits says she has no problem with the parental intervention. “My mother said I should trying playing the piano, and that it would be good for me, and she was right.”It was only natural for her to try her fledgling luck out on the key.“I think my sister started just before me, I don’t really remember, but of course I always saw my mother playing the piano at home. Anyway, if there’s a piano at home, why not try out on it?” she sagely observes. “Also, I went to a lot of concerts.”That started even before Gervits could consider the logistics of finding her way around the keyboard. It was something of a prenatal overture to her current efforts. “My mother went to concerts when I was still inside her,” she laughs.By all accounts the youngster has made great strides. She placed second in her age category in her inaugural participation in competition, playing a repertoire that took in works by Chopin, Bach and Haydn.“My mother chose the pieces,” she notes.This time round Gervits is being a little more adventurous with her score selection. “This year I’m playing works by Bach, an étude by Chopin and a few works by (65-year-old Russian composer) Leonid Desyatnikov. He has a work with seven parts, and I’m playing four of them.”The 13-year-old says, naturally enough, she wants to play the pieces to the best of her ability, but will also be looking to stir the feelings of her Zoom audience members, and to entertain them in the process. “I connected strongly with the Desyatnikov pieces. There are three funny ones and one very sad one. I would like people who hear the works to feel the emotion. I hope I manage to evoke that.”As Gervits has progressed to a more senior age category of the competition, since her debut showing, she will be up against it, but she seems to be maintaining an even keel in the run-up.“I don’t have any expectations of winning the competition,” she states. “I just hope to do the maximum, and to move everyone, to enjoy myself.”That’s a pretty mature and sensible approach, and, with her natural gifts and familial backdrop, we may get to hear a lot more of the young pianist in years to come.For more information about the Pnina Salzman Young Pianists Competition: https://www.competitionkfarsaba.com
Source: Jerusalem Post

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The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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