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A 'thrilling' finale is assured in Worthing

A RUSSIAN man and two women, Latvian and Chinese, are the chosen finalists for this Sunday's climax to the first Sussex International Piano Competition.

Muscovite, Sergei Chernov, will join Arta Arnicane, from Riga, and Jessica Wei Zhu, in giving a decisive concerto performance with conductor John Gibbons and the Worthing Symphony Orchestra at The Assembly Hall (2.45pm).

A thrilling finale to this inaugural competition is assured.

Arnicane will go first with Bartok's third concerto, then Chernov with Rakhmaninov's third, and Wei Zhu will give Liszt's first.

For Worthing, these will be rare hearings of these amazing pieces and they will be in electrifying hands.

From a starting field of 37 artistes selected from a worldwide entry of more than 100 for the London solo recital quarter-finals at The Royal Academy of Music, six came through to give a second recital, of 45 minutes, in Worthing yesterday afternoon and evening.

The also outstanding, but unchosen, semi-finalists were

Ilona Timchenko (Russia), Hee-Sung Jang (Korea) and Yelena Beriyeva (Georgia).

There were nine Russians, seven from Far Eastern nations, five Europeans, four Americans, three Antipodeans, three Baltics, two Britons, two Israelis, an Indian and a Canadian.

Competition sponsors Blthner provided the showpiece piano, although the quarter-finals featured a Steinway, creating an extra challenge.

Arnicane, 27, was masterly in Beethoven, Ligeti and Franck; Wei Zhu, 23, was sunny and strong in a fantasy selection of Beethoven, Ravel, Liszt and Corigliano (USA); and lastly Chernov, 27, unrelentingly formidable in a tours de force of Bartok, Scriabin, Purcell and Schumann.

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