Young and talented pianists from all over the world will celebrate the joy of playing piano and have a chance to be mentored by professionals Friday during an international piano competition.

The OHIO International Piano Duet & Duo Competition will promote the four-hand and two-piano literature and the happiness derived from its performance. Additionally, the competition will feature a performance and a class by the internationally acclaimed piano artists Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung. 

The competition will start at 9 a.m. and feature 30 minutes of performance by 11 teams of two pianists each, which is divided into two divisions. Five teams will compete in the Young Artist Division and six teams in the Senior Division. Six of the finalists competing are from Ohio University

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for our students, also for the entire community, to engage and learn from the guest artists and international competition finalists,” said Christopher Fisher, who is a professor of piano and chair of keyboard studies.

Fisher is excited about the event because pianists from North America, South America, Asia and Europe will be represented in the international piano competition. 

“It’s extraordinary that we have people coming from all over the world to right here in Athens, Ohio, on Saturday,” Fisher said. “It’s really a wonderful thing.” 

At the end of the performances, an award ceremony will take place at 4:30 p.m. where the jury, which constitutes of Bax, Chung, Christopher Fisher, Katherine Fisher and Stephanie Wu, will hand out prizes of $1,000 for first prize and $500 for second prize, in each division. 

After the award ceremony, a master class will be taught by Bax and Chung, who are married. At 8 p.m. they will have two performance concerts.

Bax, who will be visiting OU for the first time, said he is excited to see new young talent and teach the finalists the master class as well. He said that in the master class, instead of teaching generic skills, he will teach specific skills that will help the finalists improve their piano skills. 

Although Bax is on the jury, he said he is not going to be a harsh judge, as he was in the same shoes not too long ago. 

“If one thing, we’re going to be very sympathetic to what they’re going through,” Bax said. “I think we should create an environment of positive attitude.”

Bax wants the finalists to use their skills to be of service to music and not the other way around. They should not only use music to showcase their skills. 

Felipe Nieto, an associate at American Marketing Group, a booking agency in New York City, helped bring Bax for the competition. Nieto worked with Bax and Chung to get them to OU a year in advance. 

“We’re very happy that he goes to these different universities and gets to do performances,” Nieto said. “We really encourage his career.”