Sylvan Mayer-Whitla, a 12-year old pianist from the CIT Cork School of Music, won third prize in his age category in the inaugural John Field International Piano Competition, held at the Dundalk An Táin Theatre, Dundalk, Co Louth, last week. His programme included pieces by Scriabin, Field, and Debussy. He was subsequently invited by the Chairman of the Jury, Viktor Ryabchikov, to perform in the final Gala Concert along with other prize winners.
Sylvan has been attending the CIT Cork School of Music since the age of five, and is studying piano with Susan Čáp.
He is currently in sixth class in Beaumont Boys School. Sylvan won several prizes in local and national competitions, including Feis Maitiu, Feis Ceoil and CSM Competitions. He was also awarded a Medal for the most distinguished piano student in the Junior Cycle in the CIT Cork School of Music in 2016.
Sylvan enjoys performing and has participated in many concerts in the CIT Cork School of Music. He also studies percussion with Stephen Kelly and is a member of Junior Cork Youth Orchestra and the Cork School of Music Junior Percussion Ensemble.
Sincere congratulations to his teacher, Susan Čáp.
About the John Field International Piano Competition
The goal of the competition was to focus on the music of John Field and his students, alongside other repertoire. Pianists were required to include one work by John Field in their chosen programme.
An Irishman by birth, John Field studied with Clementi in London and later moved to Russia. He is considered by many to be the founder of the Russian Piano School, which is distinguished by its use of lyricism, melody, expression and virtuosic technique. Students of John Field include many well-known Russian composers and musicians who in turn influenced Balakirev, Tchaikovsky, Rubinstein, Ziloti, Scriabin and Rachmaninov, among others. Outside of Russia, Field most notably made an impact on Chopin, who heard his Nocturnes and famously went on to develop the form.
For the last two hundred years, the respect in which John Field is held in Russia has helped develop a strong link in classical music between Russia and Ireland. The competition is endorsed by Russian pianist Boris Berezovsky and Irish pianist Barry Douglas.