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Posted on Sun, Jun. 06, 2004
 I M A G E S 
Ellen Weiss Dodson of Massachusetts reacts after her difficult finals performance.
Ellen Weiss Dodson of Massachusetts reacts after her difficult finals performance.

High Notes

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Love conquers all

Love won out over competitive pride at the Cliburn Foundation's fourth annual International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs.

Husband-and-wife competitors Greg and Miho Yamada Fisher of Denton didn't suffer any relationship angst after judges picked Miho to play in Friday's semifinal round but didn't advance Greg -- even though he is her teacher. He's the one with the master's degree in music, while Miho Fisher has little formal musical training.

Miho Fisher, an assistant professor of cardiovascular research at the University of North Texas, only recently began taking college-level piano classes at UNT.

The couple, who performed the Mozart concerto for two pianos with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra last year, remain harmonious.

"Greg is my main teacher," Miho Fisher said, pointing out how sometimes it is difficult to live with your teacher.

"I go into the room to practice and close the door. But he jumps in and tells me if he thinks I am practicing the wrong way," she said.

But Greg Fisher, who won a special jury award Friday, is also her biggest fan. After her stirring Debussy performance in the semifinals, Greg Fisher ran up to her in the crowded lobby of Landreth Auditorium, swept her off her feet, lifted her high in the air and kissed her.

"Way to go, baby," he told her, then held her head in his hands and whispered something only the two of them know. Miho Fisher smiled.

"He's the best teacher I've ever had," she said.

BBC tunes in

BBC radio producer Bill Lloyd, 44, flew in from Glasgow, Scotland, last weekend planning to do a radio documentary on fine arts in a frontier cattle town.

And then he arrived in Fort Worth.

It wasn't long before he abandoned his original cliché and concentrated on the fine art being produced at the Amateur Cliburn. Armed with just a tape recorder and a microphone, Lloyd spent most of his week in Fort Worth recording music and conversations with the 72 competitors.

Lloyd will eventually air a two-part documentary on the Amateur Cliburn, focusing mostly on the personalities of the competitors.

"The piano is not what is interesting," Lloyd said. "These are people who are striving to make something of their lives. They are pushing the boundaries of the box."

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