Thoughts on attending the Duquesne Young Artist Performance Awards Winners Showcase

It turns out that a ten-year-old boy I currently give private chess lessons to is also passionate about music, and his piano teacher had him submit a recording for the annual Duquesne Young Artist Performance Awards competition, and his entry happened to be one of the around thirty chosen, ranging from ages 7-16, so he gave a performance at the Winners Showcase at the PNC Recital Hall of the Mary Papper School of Music of Duquesne University.

I’d seen him perform informally before, but was curious to see him on stage, and also to see other kids and where they were in their musical development and personal style, so I told his parents that I was going to attend to watch.

I’d never been to an event like this before, a gathering of kids who had proven at least some level of ability by winning an award. I’m a latecomer to classical music, not having had much to do with it until I went to college. My younger sister did take up violin in junior high school and I went one or two of her performances with my parents, but to be frank, I was not very interested in or understanding of classical music then, so I remember almost nothing of what happened and must have snored through; all I really remember is “Please let this be over”.

The young performers collectively actually played a decent variety of music of different eras and styles. The selections were mostly quite short, as they had to be of course because there were about thirty performers to go through in the space of less than two hours. One came up after another, with no break. It was pretty intense, actually.

I enjoyed getting a taste of what all these different kids had to offer musically, and I hope it was a positive experience for all of them. There was a lot of nervousness on display, but also some really touching resolve and mature calmness as well. I was happy to see my chess student get up there and play that grand piano with flair.


Afterwards, cookies at a reception. I was hungry. I could not resist.

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