Blinov's most memorable, and most expensive birthday present, arrived
in 1980, the year he turned 6 . . . a piano.
loving parents realized it or not, they had just handed little Yuri his
future. The gifted boy only knew that now his deep yearning could become
early on, I felt a very strong passion to compose music," the 25-year-old
Belarussian pianist said. "Sometimes it was a problem because rather
than learning technique and practicing, I was spending hours composing
Blinov now spends every moment preparing for the Cliburn. And while competition
isn't his favorite, he knows time to compose will come later. It's a place
he's deeply grateful to be.
Blinov had reached the top of the piano world in his home country. When
Tamas Ungar approached him after a not-so-great performance in the 2nd
China International Competition in Beijing, he leapt at the chance to
study in America.
despite Blinov's mediocre showing that day, he saw something extraordinary
in the young pianist's performance.
were right. Blinov took home the top prize -- and a brand new Steinway
Grand -- in March in the Music Teachers National Competition. Now Blinov
is in line for the Cliburn.
such a curious thing," Blinov said, a grin forming on his face.
"If several years ago someone had told me I would be studying in America
and win the Steinway, I would just have laughed."
with Ungar has taught the intense young man to inject his own style into
is very demanding, but he is also very human," Blinov said. "He
knows technically I can play anything but my imagination and creativity
is quite considerable. The task is to put everything together.
the man who is helping me do that."