In the evening of October 2, there will be a concert inaugurating the 18th Chopin Competition. The winners of previous editions will perform at the National Philharmonic. Auditions for pianists from all over the world will start on Sunday. The struggle was divided into three stages. 87 participants qualified for the main competition, including 16 musicians from Poland. All performances will be broadcast on the internet.
The International Piano Competition Frederic Chopin. Pianists and pianists from all over the world will compete for the title of the best until 23 October. Originally, the event was supposed to take place last year, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The inaugural concert of the event will begin on Saturday at 20.00 at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. Schumann’s Piano Quintet will be played by the 2010 winner Julianna Awdiejewa with the Belcea Quartet, and the Concerto for Four Pianos and Strings by Johann Sebastian Bach will be performed by four competition winners: Julianna Awdiejewa, Dang Thai Son (1st prize, 1980), Kevin Kenner (2nd prize, 1990) and Philippe Giusiano (2nd prize, 1995) and the combined quartets: Belcea and Simply Quartet with the double bass player Krzysztof Firlus. Piano Concerto No. 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven will be played by Seong-Jin Cho with the National Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Andrzej Boreyka.
YES-NO and scoring. Competition’s rules
The competition is divided into three stages. The auditions of the participants of the first stage will be held from 3 to 7 October. The jury will admit no more than 40 pianists to the 2nd stage.
The competition jury consists of Dmitri Alexeev, Sa Chen, Thai Son Dang, Akiko Ebi, Philippe Giusiano, Nelson Goerner, Adam Harasiewicz, Krzysztof Jabłoński, Kevin Kenner, Arthur Moreira-Lima, Janusz Olejniczak, Piotr Paleczny, Ewa Pobłocka, Katarzyna Popowa- Zydroń, John Rink, Wojciech Świtała and Dina Yoffe. Arthur Moreira-Lima replaced Nelson Freire, who would not take part in the jury due to illness. Martha Argerich was also to be judged by the participants of the competition, but due to the long-lasting friendship with Nelson Freire, she decided to be with him in this difficult time. Therefore, she will not play at the inauguration and will not sit on the jury in which she has sat in the two previous editions.
According to the regulations, the competition program covers only works by Fryderyk Chopin. It is possible to perform works presented in the qualifying recordings and in the qualifying rounds, except for those specified in the rules of etudes. However, it is not allowed to perform the same piece at different stages of the competition. The regulations contain a list of songs to choose from.
The evaluation of the contestants’ game in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd stage, according to the regulations, is based on two systems: points and “YES-NO”. The jury members write “YES” or “NO” next to the name of each interviewed candidate – expressing the juror’s opinion on qualifying the candidate for the competition, and a score on a scale of 1–25. The verbal grade “YES” requires in the first stage: a score not lower than 18, the grade “NO” not higher than 18. Jurors do not evaluate their students, and according to the regulations, a student is a person who is currently a juror’s student or was a regular student of the juror. at school or privately for more than one year from the end of the 17th edition, or had private lessons with the juror after December 1, 2018, or has close private relations with the juror. As stated, the term “student” does not include occasional contacts between the participant and the jurors during master classes, also on-line.
87 people compete for the title of the best pianist
87 pianists were qualified to participate in the 18th International Piano Competition, including 16 people representing Poland. Almost 160 musicians participated in the auditions, which took place on July 12-23 in the Chamber Hall of the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. The pianists qualified for the main competition by the Selection Jury included: 22 Chinese, 14 Japanese, 16 Poles, 7 citizens of South Korea, 6 Italians, as well as representatives of Armenia, Taiwan, Canada, Cuba, Latvia, Thailand, USA, Great Britain and Vietnam .
The Poles qualified in the elimination way were Aleksandra H. Dąbek, Joanna Goranko, Mateusz Krzyżowski, Jakub Kuszlik, Julia Łozowska, Tomasz Marut, Zuzanna Pietrzak, Aleksandra Świgut, Marcin Wieczorek, Andrzej Wierciński and Viet Trung Nguyen representing Vietnam and Poland.
The regulations of the Chopin Competition allow the winners of some (strictly defined in it) piano competitions to be admitted to the auditions, excluding the qualifying and elimination stages. There will be five Poles – Piotr Alexewicz, Adam Kałduński, Szymon Nehring, Kamil Pacholec and Piotr Pawlak, as well as two pianists from the United States: Evren Ozel and Avery Gagliano, Japanese Tomoharu Ushida and Yutong Sun from China.
Apart from prestige and fame, the winners of the Chopin Competition will receive awards, funded, among others, by by government representatives. The winner will receive 40 thousand euros, the second place is a prize of 30 thousand euros, the third place – 20 thousand. There is also an award funded by the President of Warsaw in the amount of EUR 7,000.
Special prizes in the amount of EUR 5,000 are also waiting for the participants, e.g. for the best performance of a sonata, mazurkas or a polonaise. The youngest finalist of the Competition will receive approximately EUR 10,000, and the best Polish pianist – EUR 5,000.
Where to watch the broadcast of the Chopin Competition?
The previous, the 17th Chopin Competition, took place in 2015. Seong-Jin Cho was the winner, Charles Richard-Hamelin was second and Kate Liu was third. Further places were taken by Eric Lu, Tony Yike Yang and Dimitry Shishkin.
As reported by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, citing a CBOS poll, 29 percent of Poles followed the course of the competition in the media.
The entire competition will be available on the Chopin Institute channel on YouTube. Additionally, multimedia applications have been prepared: mobile for iOS and Android (free download from www.chopin2020.pl) and the SmartTV application for Samsung TVs. The applications will support streaming of the entire course of the music tournament in 4K quality. The event will also be broadcast by TVP Kultura and Program Two of Polish Radio. As announced by the city council, the festival will also be available on the big screen in the barStudio on Plac Defilad. The course of the musical competition will be shown on the big screen.
Tickets for the 18th Chopin Competition can be purchased online on the website of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute or at the ticket offices on the day of the auditions, but only if there are vacancies.
Chopin in the subway and tram
In addition, on October 14 at night at the Stadion Narodowy metro station one of the participants of the Chopin Competition will play (so far the town hall does not reveal which one). Invitations to this concert will be available on Facebook of the city hall.
On October 17, however, a Chopin tram will travel through Warsaw with live music played by pianists. The route: Metro Wilanowska – Bukowińska – Królikarnia – Malczewskiego – Park Dreszera – Morskie Oko – Dworkowa – Rakowiecka – Pl. Unii Lubelskiej – Pl. Zbawiciela – Pl. Konstytucji – Hoża – Centrum – Świętokrzyska – Królewska Metro – Pl. Bankowy – Metro Ratusz Arsenał – Muranów – Muranowska – Dw. Gdański – Gen. Zajączka – Pl. Inwalidów – Pl. Wilsona – Metro Marymont (and back to Metro Wilanowska).
Main photo source: Darek Golik / NIFC