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An `Idol'-like competition for classical contestants

June 17, 2007|Lynne Heffley

IT'S not "American Idol" bucks, but a quarter of a million in prize money isn't chump change, especially for a classical music competition. The audience gets to vote too.

Today through Saturday at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall, the public is invited at no charge to hear singers and pianists from 14 countries go head to head in the first Jose Iturbi International Music Competition. The contestants will be vying for $250,000 in prize money, including $50,000 for each first-placer and a $10,000 "People's Choice" award for the audience faves, voted on by attendees at the finals on Friday (singers) and Saturday (pianists).

The nonprofit foundation named for the late pianist, conductor and movie personality -- more at www.joseiturbifoundation.org -- plans to make the competition an annual affair.

-- Lynne Heffley

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