Teenage Pianist Sues After Competition Official Closes Piano on His Fingers

Classic Arts News   Teenage Pianist Sues After Competition Official Closes Piano on His Fingers
A teenage pianist is suing the Young Pianist Competition of New Jersey, claiming that the competition's founder closed a piano cover on his hands in an incident at Carnegie Hall last month.

Legal papers relating to the suit were posted this week on the web site The Smoking Gun.

According to Bryan O'Lone's suit, the pianist auditioned for YPCNJ earlier this year and won the right to perform at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall on June 12. He arrived at hall prepared to play Chopin's Scherzo No. 2, but discovered that the program listed him as performing Beethoven's Op. 13 Sonata ("Path_tique"). O'Lone mentioned the problem to the competition's executive director, Lana Ivanov, who, he claims, told him that he would have to perform the Beethoven work.

O'Lone then approached J. Anthony Strong, the chairman of the competition. According to O'Lone, Strong said, "One would think that one could play what one wants to when one sits down to the piano." When O'Lone began to play the Chopin work, however, Yalena Ivanov, the founder of YPCNJ and Lana Ivanov's mother, came onto the stage."

Ivanov "physically accosted Bryan," the suit says, "and then closed the piano key cover on his fingers."

O'Lone did eventually play the Scherzo; afterward, he says, Lana Ivanov informed him that he would not receive $350 in prize money that he was entitled to, and that he would not be permitted to travel to a music festival in Italy as planned.

O'Lone and his family are seeking the $350 in prize money as well as a public apology and compensatory and punitive damages.

Yelena Ivanov did not respond to requests from The Smoking Gun for comment.

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