School of Music to host International Chopin Competition

7 September 2014

The School of Music is getting ready to host 15 of the world’s most talented international pianists at the second Australian International Chopin Piano Competition.

The competition, held from 15 - 21 September at the Larry Sitsky Recital Room and Llewellyn Hall, will involve competitors from nine countries performing a range of Chopin pieces.

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

“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 famous pieces, choosing from his impromptus and scherzos, mazurkas and nocturnes, polonaises and sonatas. For the semi-final, competitors will be required to play an Australian composition.

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 instruments demonstrations celebrating Chopin’s life and work, and a master class with the jury.

A total prize pool of $40,000 is on offer, with a $25,000 first prize awarded by the Pratt Foundation.

The competition is being held in partnership with Friends of Chopin Australia and the Polish Embassy. Tickets for ANU students are free. More information on the 2014 Australian International Chopin Piano Competition is available on the School of Music website.