For a young pianist, winning a medal at the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, held every four years, is something that can define the rest of your career.
Beatrice Rana, born in Italy, started experiencing that firsthand in 2013 when she won a silver medal at the competition. Last December she made her debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Now she’s playing at Fresno State as part of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series, which has a knack for presenting up-and-coming pianists with very promising futures.
We caught up with the young Rana, who was just 20 when she won the Cliburn medal, for a few thoughts about her Fresno appearance.
Question: Have you ever been to Fresno before?
Answer: Even though I have never been to Fresno, I am very excited to come there especially since part of my grandmother’s family has grown up in the city. And that will be my only stop to California for this tour.
Take us back to your performance at the 2013 Van Cliburn competition. Were you nervous?
My dominant memory is a general sense of excitement throughout the whole competition: first of all because I was competing in one of the most known piano competitions in the world, but also because I got to play with some of the finest musicians in a huge concert hall as Bass Hall. Of course I couldn’t expect anything because competitions are unpredictable but, as the competition proceeded, I felt more and more confident on stage and had positive feeling about it.
How has your life changed since the Van Cliburn?
The Cliburn is a life-changing experience. Doors of concert halls opened to me right after the award ceremony, a CD was released, artists management companies took me in their roaster. But mostly, since then I have been allowed to do what I have been practicing for years: playing concerts and sharing music with as many persons as possible. And this is the most rewarding opportunity for a young musician like me.
Tell us a little about your program in Fresno.
The program will start Bach’s Partita No. 1 and continue with Chopin’s Sonata No. 2. Both are in B-flat. Bach uses this key in a joyful and enthusiastic approach to life, while Chopin paints it with the dark colors of death. After the intermission there is more Chopin composed during the same time as the sonata, and therefore very similar psychologically speaking and yet very diverse. The program ends with “La Valse” by Ravel, which I love very much because of its decadent and explosive character.
You have the one of the most beautiful websites I’ve ever seen for a solo professional musician. And you’re active on social media — I’ve enjoyed checking out your Facebook page. How important is a strong online presence these days for a musician?
Musicians are not different from the rest of the world, and I enjoy very much staying on social media. Moreover, social medias allow me to keep contact with all the persons that I meet during my trips: this way, saying goodbye is a bit easier.