The ANU School of Music welcomed 11 of the world’s most talented young international pianists at the second Australian International Chopin Piano Competition this week.
The competition, held from 15 – 21 September in the Larry Sitsky Recital Room and Llewellyn Hall, has featured competitors from seven countries performing a range of pieces by Chopin and others.
They have come under the scrutiny of five judges including international juror Professor Wojciech Switala and chairman, Emeritus Professor Larry Sitsky. The competitors for Sunday’s final will be announced later this evening at the conclusion of today’s semifinals. For Chopin enthusiasts unable to be in Canberra a live stream of the semifinals and final is available to view online at the following website: http://control.5stream.com/events/?id=776
“The idea of the Australian International Chopin Piano Competition is to try and capture the spirit of romantic playing, that is very free, individual playing,” Professor Sitsky says.
“It differs from most competitions in that regard. A lot of piano competitions these days are almost like Olympic sports – fast and loud and usually the fastest and loudest gets the prize.
“But we’ll be after expressive, individual playing and so we’re rewarding originality.”
The competitors will have the chance to play some of Chopin’s most famous pieces, choosing from his impromptus and scherzos, mazurkas and nocturnes, polonaises and sonatas.
During the semi-final, competitors have been required to play an Australian composition while the final will see three competitors each playing one of Chopin’s two piano concertos with special guests the Enigma String Quartet.
“Apart from accurate playing, we’ll be voting for the person who plays most expressively, who shapes their phrase most eloquently,” Professor Sitsky says.
“It’ll be expression with a capital E that we’re after.”
In addition to the performances by competitors, the competition will feature lectures and historical instrument demonstrations celebrating Chopin’s life and work, and an open master class with the jury.
A total prize pool of $40,000 is on offer, with the first prize of $25,000 awarded by the Pratt Foundation.
The first, second and third prize-winners, with the Enigma String Quartet, will also perform a concert in Sydney on Monday 22 September at Verbrugghen Hall (Sydney Conservatorium of Music), at 7pm.
The competition is being held in partnership with Friends of Chopin Australia and the Polish Embassy. More information on the competition and competitors is available at 2014 Australian International Chopin Piano Competition on the ANU School of Music website.
In the media:
Talented young pianists compete for ANU Chopin title
ABC News – 18 September