NKU graduate heads overseas

A CD recording, engagements with orchestras around the world and solo piano performances are all part of Anna Polusmiak’s plans for the next year.

Polusmiak, who graduated from Northern Kentucky University in May with a bachelor of arts in music, took first prize in the artist’s division of the Louisiana International Piano Competition.

She was awarded $5,000 and a trip to Russian to perform with the St. Petersburg Orchestra in the Shostakovich Philharmonic Great Hall in St. Petersburg June 17, 2006. Before that, Polusmiak will be in Moscow recording a solo CD with Classical Records.

A native of Ukraine, the 22-year-old has been to Russia many times, but never St. Petersburg. She said visiting St. Petersburg is what she looks forward to the most about her trip. “It’s the cultural center of Russia,” she said. “The most important history took place there and it’s where many great artists and composers came from.” Two of her favorite composers are Beethoven and Rachmanirnov. “I like old-style composers,” she said.

Polusmiak prefers to have plenty of time to perfect the performance of a piece. She learns many complex pieces and keeps them in her repertoire, or memory so that she take them out and polish them before she performs at a concert.

The 28 students who performed in the Louisiana International Competition from Oct. 11 to 16 came from 15 different countries and were selected based on recorded auditions.

Before the competition, Polusmiak learned musical pieces for three separate rounds. The piece for the first round took about 30 minutes to perform, the semi-final piece 45 minutes and the final concerto piece was also 30 minutes in length, Polusmiak said.

Her family moved to this area in 1998 when her father Sergei Polusmiak, a distinguished Ukrainian pianist, began a job at NKU. He is an Artist in Residence and he instructs piano students. He was Anna’s primary professor until she graduated.

Polusmiak typically practices five to six hours a day at home or at NKU’s music department. She began studying piano when she was five. Initially she had other tutors, but her father became her teacher when she was in fourth grade.

In the spring she will be performing in her hometown in Ukraine. Besides playing in the Great Hall at St. Petersburg in June. She will be giving a solo recital at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. She will also perform with the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra.

Some of her U.S. performances will take place in Louisiana and Florida. Polusmiak has previously played with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at Riverbend and will be performing with them again in Music Hall at the end of April.