It’s a very specific—and very happy—memory for 22-year-old Chilean pianist Gustavo Miranda-Bernales.
“I remember one day I was at my grandmother’s house,” he tells us. “I must have been about three years old. I saw this old piano sitting in the corner of the room. I came up and played from the middle C up to the G with my right hand. Then I played from the B below the middle C down to the E with my left hand. And finally, I played them both together and I fell in love with the piano ever since then.
“The fact that I could play many voices at the same time meant a lot to me. I can still recall the sound of it, and I realize what drew my interest to music is that I can make counterpoint.”
Born in Santiago, Miranda-Bernales began his piano studies at age nine with pianist and teacher Miguel Angel Jiménez at the Universidad Católica de Chile. In 2002, 2003 and 2005, the very young pianist won first prize at the Claudio Arrau International Piano Competition held in Chile. In 2008 he moved to New York to attend The Juilliard School, where is he now pursuing his master’s degree. In 2011, he took first prize in the Juilliard Concerto Competition, and was the featured soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra for the New York debut of rising German conductor David Afkham.
Miranda-Bernales has been to Texas once before, and says “I would love to eat a Texan barbecue again. I got to try it once when I was here last time and it was unforgettable.”
Asked about favorite composers, he names several—and all are included in his repertoire of pieces for the Cliburn.
“I particularly enjoy playing the music of Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms,” he says. “Through these composers’ works I find emotions that relate strongly to my own personality. And Schumann somehow is able to capture many extreme moods with the biggest intensity within one piece. Besides these, I enjoy composers who explore areas out of the traditional principles of tonality, such as Scriabin and Fauré.”
El Mercurio, Santiago’s major newspaper, once summed up Miranda-Bernales in two words: “Chico talentoso”—a talented kid.
So he is. So are they all.
Gustavo Miranda-Bernales' Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Repertoire:
Preliminary Recital, Phase I
SCHUBERT Four Impromptus, D. 935, op. 142
CHOPIN Barcarolle in F-sharp Major, op. 60
Preliminary Recital, Phase II
CHOPIN Mazurka in G Major, op. 50, no. 1
FAURÉ Valse caprice No. 2 in D-flat Major, op. 38
SCHUMANN Fantasie in C Major, op. 17
SCRIABIN Sonata No. 3 in F-sharp Minor, op. 23
BRAHMS Sonata No. 1 in C Major, op. 1
DVOŘÁK Piano Quintet in A Major, op. 81
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, op. 19
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, op. 83
◊ To see a slideshow of all of the competitors, with bios and links to our profiles of them, click here.