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2 Contestants Split Fisch Piano Award

February 25, 1986|KENNETH HERMAN

SAN DIEGO — In a surprise decision by the judges, Lisa Spector of Glendale and Bryan Verhoye of San Diego tied for the top prize in the Joseph Fisch Piano Competition held Saturday at San Diego State University. The two young pianists will divide the $2,000 award.

Verhoye, 24, graduated in 1983 from the University of Southern California, where he studied piano with Daniel Pollack and harpsichord with Malcolm Hamilton. For the competition, he played the first movement from Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto.

Spector, 24, a graduate of both USC and the Juilliard School of Music, studied piano with USC's John Perry. She performed the last two movements of Prokofiev's Second Piano Concerto in the competition.

Runner-up in the 15-18 age category was Sean Botkin, a 16-year-old pianist from Federal Way, Wash. Robert Nakea, a 23-year-old student at Brigham Young University, was the runner-up in the 19-26 category. Each was awarded $1,000. Yu-Mei Wei, 16, of Coronado, winner of last year's San Diego Symphony Young Artist Concerto Competition, received a certificate of excellence from the judges.

Judges for the Fisch competition included noted pianists Gregory Allen, who last played with the San Diego Symphony in April; Joanna Hodges, founder of the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, and Conrad Bruderer of the SDSU music faculty. Ten finalists from as far as Washington and New York came to compete; five performed in the competition's public recital Saturday evening in Smith Recital Hall.

At the awards ceremony after the recital, SDSU President Thomas Day saluted San Diego lawyer Joseph Fisch for underwriting the competition.

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