Monday, 17 October 2011


(Click on image to enlarge)

The 3rd Hong Kong International Piano Competition is now underway! The first round began yesterday morning at Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall. The triennial competition organised by the Chopin Society of Hong Kong has attracted 26 pianists from all over the world. It stands out among international concours as having one of the most exacting and demanding repertoire requirements and its distinguished panel of of jurors, which include some of the world's great pianists. Vladimir Ashkenazy is the Chairman of the jury, and its members include Gary Graffman, Peter Frankl, Garrick Ohlsson, Pascal Rogé, Cristina Ortiz amongst others.

The competing pianists were whittled down from a larger field, largely due to a number of eliminations, as this competition is unusual that pianists are not allowed to participate in other competitions three months before and after. Thus it discourages the tendency of many young pianists to become serial competitors (and seasoned gladiators). After all artistry and the bloodfests associated with competitions should not mix, which is the ultimate paradox of all musical competitions. As such, the Chopin Society hopes to fashion this competition along the lines of a music festival, with the jury members also being a part of it. The Joy of Music Festival runs concurrently with the competition, with Gary Graffman, Garrick Ohlsson, Pascal Rogé, Cristina Ortiz, Peter Frankl, Tigran Alikhanov and Ashkenazy himself all performing. Such is the true "joy" of music!

The piano concertos chosen by the pianists for the finals include:

CHOPIN Piano Concerto No.1: 6 pianists

TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No.1: 6 pianists

RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No.3: 4 pianists

RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No.2: 3 pianists

PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No.3: 2 pianists

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No.3: 2 pianists

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No.4: 1 pianist

BRAHMS Piano Concerto No.1: 1 pianist and

PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No.2: 1 pianist

The 1st prize winner of the competition gets to perform a piano concerto with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy (above) on Friday 4 November 2011 at Esplanade Concert Hall. That concert should be well worth waiting for.

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