Beatrice Rana with conductor Leonard Slatkin at 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (Photo credit: Musical America)
Beatrice Rana is one of five artists featured in Musical America’s 2017 Guide to Top Competitions! Read about her reflections on the Cliburn Piano Competition experience here.
Winner, Montreal International Piano Competition, 2011
Silver Medalist, Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, 2013
Thanks largely to her Cliburn win, Beatrice Rana is a busy international soloist, currently gracing major stages in London, Paris, Berlin, and her home base of Rome.
“Life changing” is how she describes the impact of winning the Silver Medal that came with a $20,000 award. “After the announcement of the prizes, the next day I got an email from the Cliburn with a list of the engagements I had for the following year. There were many recitals, and soon I was receiving invitations from great orchestras to play concertos. I felt that I had reached another dimension of my life.”
It was a dimension that was a long time coming. “My first competition was when I was five years old,” she recalls. “My parents are both pianists and they thought it was a nice opportunity to play for a couple of minutes in front of an audience.” She went on to enter and win competitions around the world, although competing was never the point.
“I don’t do competitions for the sake of it,” Rana says. “Competitions bring concerts. That’s what I want to do—be a concert pianist.”
Being a Cliburn medalist assured her of that: a three-year management contract was part of placing second in the prestigious quadrennial prize. “I remember when they announced the six finalists, they immediately asked for our passports because they were already going to apply for working visas in the U.S. That’s amazing, no? You really feel that they are working for you, not just for the competition.”
The Cliburn was not all smooth sailing, however: During her performance of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in the finals, a piano string broke in the third movement. Potential disaster loomed. “What can you do?” she says, recalling a silent prayer that it wouldn’t impact her performance. “You just have to keep going and try to do your best. Life onstage is not relaxing. Somehow you have to deal with it.”
The Cliburn was Rana’s swan song to competitions, since she now has a career. This season she’s on an international recital tour with Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and her debut CD—Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s First with Antonio Pappano and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia—was named recording of the month by BBC Magazine.
Rana doesn’t miss the pressure of competitions. “A couple of months ago I had a nightmare that I was playing the Cliburn again,” she says. “I woke up and thought, thank God it was a dream.”