Entering the Pejanovic home in Bloomingdale you are greeted with music playing from the Ritmuller baby grand piano sitting the family room. At the piano, tickling the ivory keys is 11-year-old Marko Pejanovic. He is playing the first movement from a Mozart sonata. It was playing that composition along with Chopin’s Nocturnes that won Pejanovic a spot at the Gina Bachauer Jr. International Piano Competition to be held in Utah in June.
The competition has been known to foster excellent performances and help develop opportunities for pianists.
Last December Pejanovic flew to New York City with his father, Miso, to audition for the worldwide competition. He won a spot among 35 other finalists, one of only three Canadians at the contest. More than 300 pianists were heard in live auditions in Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Moscow, Hamburg, Venice, New York City and Salt Lake City. Pejanovic had 15 minutes to impress the judges with his preparation and dedication to the music.
“There were quite a lot of children at the audition and it was quite nerve-wracking in the morning,” said Marko. “But I am use to playing in front of larger groups and in competitions so I just channeled that into my music and did the best I could.”
He started taking piano lessons at the age of eight and has progressed quite quickly in the world of music, joining the Young Artist Performance Academy at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto last summer. He travels to Toronto twice a week for theory and private lessons and practices close to three hours a day. The home-schooled student will be quite busy over the next few months leading up to the competition.
“He has a lot on his plate this year and we spoke with some families with students at the Royal Conservatory and discovered a lot of them were home schooled and we decided to teach Marko at home, giving him more chances to practice and play for pleasure,” said Bo Pejanovic, Marko’s mother.
Last month he won a concerto competition for junior piano players at the Royal Conservatory and will be playing on Apr. 28 at the conservatory with a chamber orchestra. It will be the first time he has played with a full orchestra.
At the end of February he will be participating in the Kiwanis competition in Toronto.
“The good thing about the Kiwanis competitions is that they have judicators that write things down on paper that they think you can improve on and the tell you what you need to do to be better instead of just getting a score and not knowing how to improve,” said Marko.
Following the Toronto competition he will be participating in the Kitchener Kiwanis Music Festival in April and then he is off to the Canadian Music Competition in Toronto in May.
“I am very busy but I enjoy playing the piano. It is my passion.”