Photo courtesy of Alessandra Fang

Piano junior Alessandra Fang stands to be recognized after performing along with a live orchestra. Fang was chosen to travel to Venezuela in 2014 to showcase her talent.

Throughout years of learning from an art-driven curriculum, Dreyfoos students are taught skills that they can use to thrive in the world of art. Within each major, every student is educated through the same curriculum. However, it is up to the students to apply their knowledge to the real world. Piano junior Alessandra Fang transferred the skills she has acquired at Dreyfoos outside of the classroom by submitting her work to the International Chopin Competition.

Fang passed the preliminary round of the International Chopin Competition after submitting an online video audition. The competition, sponsored by the Embassy of Poland and the Music University of Peru, is held every two years in Lima, Peru, where Fang traveled in November to compete in the semifinal round.

“My father has really supported me in this ordeal,” Fang said. “He told me about [the competition in] mid-August, so he gave me around three months to prepare for this. It happens once every two years. I decided to take this [opportunity] because I was like ‘Wow, this is going to be a really good experience for me.’”

The competition has been predicting the success of young artists since its first edition in January of 1927. It has been guiding musicians toward public recognition as renowned pianists and composers for 90 years. Knowing that the exclusive competition holds an abundance of opportunities, Fang was ecstatic to discover that she would be embarking on this journey.

“After I found out that I got in, it was just a surreal experience for me,” Fang said. “It was almost not real because I had so little time to prepare for it, and it taught me that I can’t doubt myself too much.”

Photo courtesy of Alessandra Fang

Many champions of the competition have gone on to become well-known artists, including Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, and Krystian Zimerman. The judges of the Chopin Competition recognized potential within each of these pianists, eventually leading them on the path to stardom. However, Fang knows that being naturally gifted is not the only factor that goes into a success story; she underwent three months of intensive preparation before submitting her audition.

“I prepared ‘Bach Partita,’ [which is] more technically driven. I [also] played ‘Debussy,’ which is more romantic and [has] more of an expressionistic style,” Fang said. “The most difficult part was trying to get everything done within the deadline, given that I had three months to prepare for this audition; some people have years to prepare for this.”

Going into the high-caliber competition, Fang was aware of the advanced nature of the event. The large-scale Chopin Competition encompasses a wide range of opponents.

“The age limit is from 15 to 30, so I can be competing with anyone from a 15-year-old to a full-time conservatory student practicing more than eight hours a day,” Fang said. “That was the most difficult part for me to grasp because of the caliber of people I would be competing against.”

Fang’s semifinal round took place in Lima, Peru, which is home to many of her family members. Fang’s natural talent, strong work ethic, and dedication towards her major brought her around the world, to a place she calls home.

“I am a resident of Peru, and I was also born there. The food is just amazing,” Fang said. “Also, it’s got a really nice population with nice people. You just get to interact with everybody; it’s a really nice experience.”