Yu Nitahara
Supported by Club 32 donor Jane McCallum


24 October 1990


Prizes for each of the six Semi Finalists not proceeding to the Finals $1,000 each
Sydney International Piano Competition
Third Prize: International Mozart Competition (Salzburg, Austria)
First Prize, Piano: Morocco Philharmonic Orchestra International Music Competition (Casablanca, Morocco)
First Prize: Swedish International Duo Competition – Violin and Piano (Katrineholm, Sweden)
Prize for the Best Piano Accompanist: Enescu International Competition (Bucharest, Romania)
First Prize: Johann Nepomuk Hummel International Piano Competition (Bratislava, Slovakia)

Yu Nitahara graduated with honours from the Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai) for both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees, having studied piano under Professors Michiko Kasuya-Ohno and Akira Eguchi.

Yu has performed widely throughout his native Japan as well as in other Asian and European countries. He has made appearances in such major festivals as the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in Switzerland, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany and the Zilina Spring Festival in Slovakia. He has performed in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Groβer Saal of the Mozarteum, Salzburg and has appeared as soloist with the Morocco Philhamonic Orchestra, the Slovakia Philhamonic Orchestra, Gstaad Menuhin Festival Orchestra, the Salzburg Orchestra Soloists, Kyusyu Symphony Orchestra and the Geidai Philhamonic Orchestra in Japan. He also enjoys performing as a chamber musician.

Yu received a full scholarship from the Japanese Cultural Affairs and Meiji Yasuda Cultural Foundation to complete his formal studies under Professor Pavel Gililov at University Mozarteum Salzburg, where he now works.


Theme: ‘Music born out of grief‘

-Mozart: Piano Sonata No.8 A minor KV.310
-Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

This program seems there is no common point between these 2 pieces, but both pieces were composed after the loss of important person around composers. Mozart lost his mother and Mussorgsky lost his great friend and painter named Hartmann. It is very interesting for me that they composed these pieces from similar background, but the pieces have completely different characters.
Mozart A minor Sonata is a really tragic, sad, depress and sometimes angry. Even the 2nd movement, F major and con espressione, has agitated and uncontrolled moments in the development. I can say this Sonata has very personal and honest emotions by Mozart everywhere in the piece. Alfred Einstein, musicologist, said in his book, “It is a most personal expression, one may look in vain in all the works of other composers of this period for anything similar”. (Mozart, His Character, His Work). It is clear for me the death of his mother was effected very much for this sonata.
On the other hand, Mussorgsky was depressed very much by the death of Hartmann (we can find it from his letters), but Pictures at an Exhibition is very positive. He got inspired from paintings in Hartmann’s Posthumous Exhibition and he concentrated to express the world of each paintings. I feel somehow he avoided to put his personal emotions.
These ways of composing and dedication are very different. I try to discover these different through my semifinal program.


2021 Competition Performances

Preliminary Round Preliminary Round
Webcast: Online Concert
Thursday 8 July 2021, 7.30pm
Semi Final Round Semi Final Round
Webcast: Online Concert
Wednesday 14 July 2021, 7.30pm

2021 Competition Repertoire

Preliminary Round

V. Les collines dAnacapri
VI. Des pas sur la neige
VII. Ce qua vu le vent dOuest
VIII. La fille aux cheveux de lin 

I. Capriccio. Presto energico
II. Intermezzo. Andante
III. Capriccio. Allegro passionato
IV. Intermezzo. Adagio
V. Intermezzo. Andante con grazia ed intimissimo sentimento
VI. Intermezzo. Andantino teneramente
VII. Capriccio. Allegro agitato


II. Leggiero e legato  

Semi Final Round

I. Allegro maestoso 
II. Andante cantabile con expressione 
III. Presto 

[Promenade I] Allegro giusto, nel modo russico; senza allegrezza, ma poco sostenuto
I. The Gnome
[Promenade II]. Moderato commodo assai e con delicatezza
II. The Old Castle
[Promenade III]. Moderato non tanto, pesamente
III. Tuileries
IV. Cattle
[Promenade IV]. Tranquillo
V. The Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks in their Shells
VI. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuÿle
[Promenade V] Allegro giusto, nel modo russico; poco sostenuto
VII. The Market at Limoges (The Great News)
VIII. Catacombs
IX. The Hut on Hens’ Legs
X. The Great Gate of Kiev

Final Round

Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata in D major BWV 912

I. Prélude. Vif
II. Fugue. Allegro moderato
III. Forlane. Allegretto
IV. Rigaudon. Assez vif
V. Menuet. Allegro moderato
VI. Toccata. Vif

I. Allegro
II. Andantino
III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace – Trio. Un poco più lento
IV. Rondo. Allegretto


IX. Abshied (Farewell)

XII. Minstrels