COVID-19 delayed Chopin piano competition opens in Poland

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A gala concert on Saturday opened the 18th edition of the prestigious Frédéric Chopin international piano competition, postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The contest from October 2 to 23 was scheduled for October 2020, but authorities postponed the popular event expecting social distancing requirements to prohibit the usual crowds of fans from attending auditions at the National Philharmonic Hall of Fame. Warsaw.

The competition in which only Chopin’s works are performed is renowned for launching global careers for its winners and finalists. It includes three stages of solo piano performances, the best of which lead to promotion to a higher stage, and the last stage where the few finalists play one of Chopin’s two concertos with the orchestra.

The winner receives a gold medal and a prize of 40,000 euros ($ 45,000) and prestigious recording and concert contracts. The announcement of the winner is expected on October 20.

Concerts for 87 participants from around the world – from South Korea to the United States – begin Sunday morning with a performance by Xuanyi Mao from China. The 17-member international jury includes former winners and finalists. Absent from the jury this year will be the Brazilian Nelson Freire and the Argentinian Martha Argerich.

Past laureates include Argerich, Garrick Ohlsson from the United States, Pole Krystian Zimerman and Artur Blechacz and Seong-Jin Cho from South Korea.

Saturday’s inaugural concert featured Cho and other previous finalists and winners – Yulianna Avdeeva, Philippe Giusiano, Kevin Kenner and Dang Thai Son – in piano works by Johan Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven and Robert Schumann.

The first edition took place in 1927 and then every five years, but World War II forced a postponement of the 4th edition until 1949.

Chopin, Poland’s best known and most beloved classical composer and pianist, was born in 1810 in Zelazowa Wola near Warsaw to a Polish mother and a French father. He left Poland at the age of 19 to deepen his musical training in Vienna and then in Paris, where he settled, composed, gave concerts and taught the piano. He died in Paris in 1849 and is buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery. His heart is in the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw.

There will be no competition auditions on October 17th, to allow participants and the jury to attend the traditional celebrations for the anniversary of Chopin’s death which include a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Requiem” in Holy Cross Church.

The hearings can be followed live on the YouTube channel of the Chopin Institute and on the Polish State Radio channel.


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