We are delighted to announce that the Assembly of the City of Turin has bestowed on the second edition of the Open Piano Competition, the Patronage of the City of Turin ("Patrocinio della Citta' di Torino"). The competition's website and any promotional material produced for the competition in October will bear the City's logo (seen above) in order to recognise the support received. It is quite an honour for the OPC to receive another patronage; it already holds the moral patronage from the Italian Embassy of the Slovak Republic.
The "Spirit of the Open Piano Competition" award is an award given by the directors of the OPC to the pianist whom they felt best represented the ethos of the competition. Vivian came to London for the competition in October with the aim of boosting her solo playing ability again, having spent many years as an accompanist, currently working as the Director of Accompanying Programme at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music, in the USA. She only made it to the semi-finals of the competition, but by that point it was clear to the directors that she was the person to whom the award should be given; her enthusiasm for the opportunity to play solo and compete was really tangible. She says: "Thank you so much for hosting this wonderful competition...I got a renewed sense of creative energy since the competition". This is clear when we read what she has been up to since!
We've compiled some of the best photos from the first Open Piano Competition, taken at Steinway Hall, St. Olave's Church, and Grosvenor Chapel in London.
Click here or go to our new Gallery page at the top right, to have a look!
After a first successful competition in London last October, financed entirely by ourselves, we have launched the Open Piano Competition 2013 as a project on Kickstarter, for a period of 60 days in order to invite backers to help us raise funds for it second edition in Turin, next October. Our goal is to raise £5000 in this period, which will greatly help us in securing some of the vital components we need for the second competition to be an even bigger success.
So, why should you back the Open Piano Competition?
The Open Piano Competition (OPC) is founded on the concept that pianists, both professional and those whose profession is not connected to playing the piano, are able to perform alongside and compete against each other in the same competition, for the same prizes. There's no upper age limit, so if you're thinking of getting back to playing after a long time off and need a goal to aim for, or you are an established pianist already and want another performance and competition opportunity, then this is the competition for you.
Last year we were featured in BBC's In Tune programme with Clara Rodriguez, one of our panel of judges, as part of their piano season, which we felt was a massive achievement given our scant exposure prior to the event itself.
The OPC is clearly onto something. We are new, unique, fresh and fair, and we want to grow. Last year despite our relative anonymity, we gained the support of one of the biggest names in the classical piano world as our jury chairman, Dr. Leslie Howard, and we we attracted 41 pianists from 19 countries around the world, whose age ranged from a young 18 to a ripe 76 years old!
Here are some things our competitors and colleagues said about us:
Valentin Bogolubov, winner of OPC 2012 1st Prize: "the OPC is so unique, so important and such a beautiful initiative that you must continue to give the opportunity to pianists in the world!!"
Marianna Prjevalskaya, OPC Artistic Director: "I am very happy that this competition offers the opportunity to performers who are beyond 30, beyond 40 years old. We have competitors who are 64, and I can see that they are wonderful. I am so happy that they have the opportunity to perform and to compete, and hopefully get the prize."
Clara Rodriguez, OPC 2012 judge: "With music, one should be able to just carry on developing, and it gives freedom to people to be able to present their work at any age, and that's really important. It's a fantastic idea that this piano competition has launched."
Yuki Negishi, OPC 2012 judge: "I'm very excited about this competition because it mixes professionals and amateurs, I think that's a very innovative idea, and I've never heard of it before..and I sense a very friendly atmosphere. Amateurs often have other careers, maybe they aspired to become a concert pianist when they were younger, so they trained hard, or maybe they are be so gifted that they can simply do many things, so why rule them out?!"
Viviana Lasaracina, winner of the OPC 2012's second prize and Prize for the Best Performance of a Classical Work, has been equally busy since the competition ended in October.
Apart from continuing the work involved with her studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Viviana has just won the 2013 New York Carnegie Hall Debut Recital Audition and will perform in New York City in the 2013/2014 concert season!
We thought that it was about time we caught up with the OPC prize winners and found out what has been keeping them busy the last five months.
Dominic Smith, Formula One car engineer and winner of the OPC 2012's third prize tells us what he has been up to since the competition in October:
"...the following week I played Ravel 2 with the Orchestre de la Garde Rebublicaine in Paris...so no time for rest after the competition! Then I played in the church of Santa Maria della Grazie in Milan the following month which was pretty epic. I’ve had a bit of a break learning new rep since then (squeezed in around the work), but I have quite a few concerts lined up again this year, starting next week in the historic racing car museum in Le Mans! Then Versailles next month, Milan in May, Le Pouliguen (west coast of France) in July, Sardinia in August and Luxembourg in November. So I think that will probably do me..."
Dear prospective competitors
We have decided, in consultation with our Artistic Director, to make a slight change to the rules of the competition.
Pianists falling into the amateur category (category 2) will now be allowed to use scores during their performances of modern piano music (20th and 21st Century but excluding works of certain composers including Debussy, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Scriabin).
Repertoire for the OPC can include any contemporary or modern works and for the final round, candidates are given a free choice of repertoire for their programmes. This year and next year, the OPC is offering an additional prize for the best performance of music by a Slovak composer, living or dead, to help encourage interest in the competition from candidates living in the Slovak Republic and abroad, and to promote Slovak music and culture.
Through the promotion of this initiative which aims also to take the OPC to Bratislava in 2014, the OPC has attracted the attention of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Rome. Maria Krasnohorsku, Slovak Ambassador to Italy, has granted the OPC, on behalf of the Embassy, the 'Moral Patronage' of the Slovak Republic, stating: "Considering the objective of the edition of the competition which looks to present works by classical and modern Slovak composers, and also to give visibility to professional and non professional musicians, the Embassy of the Slovak Republic is pleased to confer the Moral Patronage to the initiative."
Following a successful first edition of the Open Piano Competition (OPC) in London last October, we are working hard on the second edition of the event which will be held in Turin in the Piedmont region of northern Italy during the second week of October 2013. Moving the competition to a different city each year is one of the OPC's goals and something we feel will help attract a diversity of competitors. Along with this move to Turin, we have some very exciting news to announce.
Last month we were very fortunate to have the opportunity to present the Open Piano Competition to the members of Soroptimist International d'Italia, Club di Torino (the "Club"). Soroptimist International is an international association made up of women who are highly qualified and successful in their professions, who act through a variety of projects and initiatives for the promotion of human rights, a better condition of the status of women and the acceptance of diversities, world-wide.
Having piqued the Club's interest in the competition during our presentation, we later gave a written proposal to the Club's president, Avvocata Alessandra Fissore, highlighting some areas in which we felt the competition could do with some support. At a recent assembly the Club's committee, it agreed to become the competition's first sponsor.
Following the successful first edition of the Open Piano Competition in London in 2012, the second OPC will travel to Italy and will be held in Turin from 7th to 12th October 2013. Several potential competitors have already registered their interest in taking part and pianists are now encouraged to submit their applications online on the website. The OPC is open to any pianist aged 18+ by the start of the competition next October.