Kenny Broberg’s back for more
by Angus McPherson, Limelight Magazine
For American pianist Kenny Broberg, the final round of the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition – which saw him perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 25 and Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No 2 with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra – feels like a long time ago. “So much has happened in my life since then,” he tells Limelight. “I’m playing a lot more now and I’ve matured a lot as a musician in that time.”
Since placing fourth in the competition in Sydney, Broberg has gone on to win the Silver Medal at the Van Cliburn Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2017 and Third Prize in the 2019 International Tchaikovsky Competition, held in Moscow in June. He’s returning to Australia not to compete, however, but to tour concerts across New South Wales and Victoria. So how different are the demands of touring compared with those of international competitions?
“I try to approach everything all the same,” he says. “That’s easier said than done.”
Ultimately, for the pianist, it’s all performance. “You’re playing music for people,” he says. “Competitions are a little bit more stressful – and sometimes that can be a good thing – but you know sometimes I feel more freer in a normal concert situation. And I feel like I can open myself up better.”
Treating both scenarios the same is also a way to deal with the high pressure of elite competitions. “It’s important for me to remember that regardless of whether I’m playing in front of 150 people or whether I’m playing in front of 10 million people over the Internet, I’m still the same person, and I’m still the same musician,” Broberg says. “When I sit down at the piano it’s exactly the same, it’s the same thing I do every day. And for me that’s a comforting thought.”
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