Nearly 160 pianists take part in the qualifying rounds of the 18th edition of the iconic International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition.
For many of the entrants, participation in one of the oldest and most prestigious music competitions in the world is a fulfilment of their greatest artistic dreams.
“In sports terms, it could be compared to the world championship,” Łukasz Byrdy, participant of the qualifiers to the 18th Chopin Competition said.
The sole thought of the competition’s grandeur weighs heavily on the pianists’ shoulders.
“A person is virtually not able to get used to such emotions. It’s always unimaginable stress, a lot of extreme emotions,” confessed Mr Byrdy.
“As soon as I entered the stage, I quickly found myself there, my place and I can say that when I was playing I felt really good,” said Leonora Armellini from Italy, another entrant.
For a pianist, the preparations for the competition take a lifetime. As Aleksander Laskowski put it: “a whole life of preparation, exercises, but this is the moment when their love for Fryderyk Chopin is fulfilled.”
The inaugural concert of the Chopin Competition will take place on October 2.
The Chopin Competition is one of the most prestigious classical music competitions worldwide with its history tracing back nearly 100 years. Pianists first came together to compete for the prize in 1927. The competition would continue in 1932 and 1937 up until the short, albeit exhaustingly grim interval of WWII. The first post-war competition was organised in 1949, then in 1950 and henceforth every five years.
The competition rules envisage a multistage selection. Each stage requires from participants the performance of Fryderyk Chopin’s pieces found in specified collections. Moreover, selected pieces are obligatory for all entrants to perform.
In the finale, the pianists, along with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, perform one out of Chopin’s two grand piano concerts – e-minor or f-minor.
The delivery is assessed by a jury composed of outstanding artists and educators selected by the director of the competition. The qualifications can be followed on the YouTube channel of the Chopin Institute.