International Chopin competition comes to ANU

15 September 2014

The ANU School of Music will host 11 of the world’s most talented young pianists at the Australian International Chopin Piano Competition this week.

The competition, held from 15 – 21 September in the Larry Sitsky Recital Room and Llewellyn Hall at ANU, will involve competitors from seven countries performing a range of pieces by Chopin and others.

They will come under the scrutiny of five judges including international juror Professor Wojciech Switala and chairman, Emeritus Professor Larry Sitsky.

“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 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 will be 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 masterclass 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 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.