The Indy 5: American Pianists Association finalists, Part III

Last in this space, I spoke with Sean Chen as he was preparing for his Premiere Series week in Indianapolis as a finalist in this year's American Pianists Association competition. A week of "dazzling" performances (with some cadenza controversy for excitement) now behind him, Sean is presumably back in classes at Yale, while Sara Daneshpour is taking a break from her classes at Juilliard to take her own turn on the Indianapolis stage this week.

Sara is 25, Washington DC-born and raised, and currently based in NY where she is working on her Master’s degree at Juilliard with Yoheved Kaplinsky. Already a presence on the concert circuit since taking a second prize in the 2007 William Kapell International Piano Competition, she comes to Indianapolis with a reputation for poetic, intense playing, as well as a humility and integrity that comes through in both her thoughts and her music.

We took a few moments during the Thanksgiving break for a quick On the Bench questionnaire:

LD: What is your favorite:

  1. Airport? My favorite airport is probably the one in Vancouver...I think it might be the Vancouver international airport. In any case, they have this very interesting setting where you feel you are in the outdoors. There is this amazing waterfall and an area devoted to native American culture and their relationship to nature. I thought that was incredible. The airport did not have the typical antiseptic feel to it. It was very personal. Very beautiful.
  2. Minor key? That's a hard one. I LOVE minor keys. Each minor key has its own color and intangible quality. For me it's like picking your favorite flower, each has a characteristic that is inspiring.
  3. DC landmark? The Lincoln Memorial. I greatly admire President Lincoln and the atmosphere surrounding the memorial is breathtaking and the image of him sitting atop those steps is captivating.
  4. Rainy day music? Satie
  5. Artist (other than musical)? There so many artists that I respect, and so difficult to choose, but in terms of visual artists I love Cezanne, Manet and Jean-Michel Basquiat among many others.
  6. Concert dress? As long as it is comfortable....
  7. Time of day to practice? Early morning
  8. Rock/pop record? I absolutely love "Ten" by Pearl Jam and I've been listening to "The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan" by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble on a loop for the past couple months. Usually when I like an album, i like to  listen to it over and over for many months until i can truly hear all of the nuances and artistry that has gone into the making of the album, which often goes unnoticed with a couple of listens.
  9. Piece of advice from a teacher? "Life is about adjustment"- Leon Fleisher
  10. Post-concert dinner? None!
Sara plays the Saint-Saens 2nd with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra this Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3:30pm. TICKETS