TWO talented newcomers have been getting together in Coffs Harbour to their mutual satisfaction this week.
Accomplished young pianist Adam Herd is back for just one week from Finland before travelling to Bowral for the $20,000 Southern Highlands International Piano Competition.
While in his home town, he has been able to practise on a very special piano, the new Bernstein CF168.
The sleek black $20,000 baby grand with its sexy burl poplar lining was designed by well-known American piano designer George Frank Emerson.
Made in China by the Bernstein piano factory, it is the first of its kind to be landed in Australia, and is in residence at Reuben Fox Pianos, where it will be officially presented to the musical public at a function at the Hurley Drive store on October 6.
"It is really responsive and has a really nice sound as well," Mr Herd said of the CF168.
On Thursday Adam will be competing against 23 other international pianists in a competition which will see the entrants eliminated as they progress through four rounds.
The four finalists will play with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra on October 9.
If he is one of them, Adam will be playing Rachmaninov's Piano Concert No 2.
Reuben Fox was five-year-old Adam Herd's first piano teacher 21 years ago, and he takes great satisfaction in watching the career of the young musician, now 26.
Adam is currently studying at the Sibelius Institute in Helsinki in Finland after winning one of three worldwide scholarships to the Institute.
He is already a recorded artist with his debut CD, From Shadows, with pieces from Liadov, Piazzolla, Vine and Rachmaninov, receiving excellent reviews.
The recording deal was part of his prize for winning the biennial Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition in 2009.
Adam, a keen surfer when in Coffs Harbour, said living and working in Helsinki, where temperatures fell to -30°C had given him a new appreciation for saunas as well as an interest in Baltic Sea ice speed skating, but his grasp of Finnish was still at the level of "basic conversational skills".
"You forget what a paradise it was to live here," he said
He will return to Helsinki in October to finish the final year of his course and would then like to spend some time teaching in Finland, which has a very high level of piano tuition and he already has several concerts lined up.