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A Ukrainian pianist finds new relevance in his repertoire

Illia Ovcharenko.JPG
Jean-Marie Cote
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Illia Ovcharenko performing in the semifinals of the 2022 Hilton Head International Piano Competition

Illia Ovcharenko had already chosen the music he would perform for the 2022 Hilton Head International Piano Competition when his home country was invaded in February. By the time of the competition in mid-March, some of the works he selected were resonating on a deeper level.

In this Sonatas & Soundscapes interview that aired Monday, March 21st, host Bradley Fuller speaks with Ukrainian pianist Illia Ovcharenko. Illia, who won second prize in the 2022 Hilton Head International Piano Competition less than two weeks before his 21st birthday, shares about the unique challenge of performing abroad while concerned about family back home. He also explains the new meaning he finds in two of the works he prepared for the competition: Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-flat Major, Op. 81a "Les Adieux," and Franz Liszt's Litanei S.562/1 (after Franz Schubert).

Illia Ovcharenko (center) with Van (left) and Lauren Schwiebert (right), his host family while on Hilton Head.
Jean-Marie Cote
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Illia Ovcharenko (center), with Van (left) and Lauren Schwiebert (right), his Hilton Head host family

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Originally from Greenwood, SC, Bradley Fuller has maintained a deep interest in classical music since the age of six. With piano lessons throughout grade school and involvement in marching and concert bands on the saxophone, Bradley further developed musical abilities as well as an appreciation for the importance of arts education.