We are very sorry to announce that due to financial reasons, we are forced to postpone the competition that was planned to take place this coming November, in London, to next year.
We hope that with an extra year to push for support and sponsorship, the third edition of the Open Piano Competition can be held in a manner meriting its unique status and international competitors, and its committed judges and staff.
Shared third prize winner, and winner of the best performance of a Romantic work, Engineer and Programme Manager Vincent Letourmy, amazed the judges in the final round of the OPC 2013 in Turin, Italy, with Mussorgsgy's "Pictures at an Exhibition".
We asked Vincent to let us know what he's been up to since performing at the competition last October:
In a brief interview prior to the final round of the inaugural Open Piano Competition in October 2012, Dr. Leslie Howard tells OPC director Marco Nannini what he will be looking for from the finalists' performances.
Filmed at Grosvenor Chapel, London, 8th October 2012.
Marianna Prjevalskaya has won major prizes at numerous international piano competitions including Dudley, Paderewski, Seoul, Jose Iturbi, Takamatsu, Sendai and Jaen International Piano Competitions among others. In 2012 and 2013 respectively, she won the Panama International Piano Competition and First Prize and the Gold Medal at the Cincinatti World Piano Competition.
As the Open Piano Competition's Artistic Director Marianna also has the opportunity to comment from the other side of the stage.
In this short video filmed after the end of the semi-final round of the OPC 2012, in which Marianna also served as an adjudicator, she tells us what she is looking for in a winning performance.
In you are unable to view the video in this screen, please click here to go directly to YouTube.
We received many suggestions and requests from competitors in our first and second competitions regarding the repertoire for the first round of the competition. Many asked why we didn't give more choice with regard to the etude requirement, and pianists in the non-professional category stated that they would prefer to have the choice whether or not to perform an etude, rather than it being an obligation.
For the last two competitions, competitors in both categories were required to play an etude by either Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov or Scriabin, in addition to a fast movement of a Classical sonata and a prelude and fugue by Bach or a sonata by Scarlatti or Soler. Having discussed the above suggestions with Artistic Director Marianna Prjevalskaya and jury member Coady Green, we have agreed to make the following changes:
The choice of etudes for Pianists in Category 1 now includes those by Ligeti, Debussy, Prokofiev, Bartok and Stravinsky. Pianists in Category 2 are however no longer obliged to perform an etude, rather, they are simply asked to perform a piece of their own choice.
We feel that it is very important to listen to and consider suggestions of past competitors as without this feedback we are less able to grow and develop as a competition. We hope this year's competitors will be happy with these changes. To view the new repertoire requirements for Round 1, click HERE.
Marco Nannini (OPC Director) interviews the first Open Piano Competition finalists: Adam Kosmieja; Antoine Joubert; Dominic Smith (winner of 3rd prize); Valentin Bogolubov (winner of first prize); Viviana Lasaracina (winner of 2nd prize); Vivian Fan (winner of "Spirit of the OPC"); and Graham Rix in Grosvenor Chapel, London.
Do we really have to perform from memory?! Interesting article by pianist Susan Tomes (Source: The Guardian, 20.04.07)
Last week I played piano in a little local xmas concert with the score in front of me. I didn't feel secure enough to take it away, having only come back to the piano a few months ago after a rather large gap of 12 years. I've been looking for articles on memorising music, partly to justify my decision to use the music and partly to confirm my own thoughts that playing without the music produces a better performance! I came across this article...
Ella Connolly (OPC Director)
""All in the mind"
Play from memory and you might forget what note comes next. Use the score and you'll perform better. So why the snobbery about sheet music, asks pianist Susan Tomes.
I recently went to a party where our host regaled us with a compilation of concert recordings in which famous pianists had suffered from horrible memory lapses. Everyone fell about with laughter at the sound of celebrities going hideously off the rails, but, as a pianist, I found it an uncomfortable experience. The struggles of Curzon, Richter and Rubinstein with memorisation had become a spectator sport. Playing from memory in public is a fairly recent fashion.
Before the late 19th century, playing without the score was often considered a sign of casualness, even of arrogance. The custom of playing from memory developed along with the growth of a body of classics that everyone agreed were worth preserving exactly as their composers had intended. Teachers encouraged students to memorise them. Many young players memorise easily, but it gets harder as time goes on. As the pianist Charles Rosen put it: "With advancing age, memory becomes doubly uncertain; above all, what begins to fail is confidence in one's memory, the assurance that the next note will follow with no conscious effort".
Clara Schumann felt that playing by heart "gave her wings power to soar", but many musicians find it so stressful that they play less naturally than they would with the score. And the pressures are much worse today than they were in Clara Schumann's day. After a century of recording, the record-buying public has been trained to expect perfection, whereas earlier audiences didn't mind if things went occasionally awry. The burden of memorisation falls particularly on solo instrumentalists. I've always played from memory in solo recitals and concertos, but I play chamber music from the score. Chamber groups are not expected to play from memory; those that do - like the Kolisch Quartet in the 1930s, or the Zehetmair Quartet today - are regarded as spectacular exceptions. Nor are symphony orchestras expected to play from memory. And no one suggests that playing a chamber work or a symphony with music on the stand prevents a performance from being superlative. Conductors sometimes conduct from memory, but they themselves don't have to make a sound, so many mistakes go unnoticed.
Seasons greetings from the Open Piano Competition!
Applications are open for the 2014 competition in London (17-22 November). For more information contact Ella on firstname.lastname@example.org
Entries are now open for the Open Piano Competition 2014.
Dates: 17th - 22nd November, 2014.
Location: London, UK.
Entry fee: £125 (Full time students: £75)
Please get in touch with us at email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org or via our Facebook page if you have any questions. We will be enlarging the repertoire lists for both categories for at least the first round of the competition; please keep an eye out for further details on this.
We look forward to seeing you in London next year!
Left to right in photo: Mattia Ometto (OPC 2013 final round guest judge), Coady Green (OPC 2013 judge), Alessandro Mercando, Tina Zucchellini (OPC 2013 jury chairperson), Sara Costa, Iuliia Tarasevich, Marco Nannini (OPC Director), Mariia Narodytska, Abel Sanchez-Aguilera, Slav Lechowski, Vincent Letourmy, Ella Connolly (OPC Director)
This year's prize winners worked incredibly hard all week to achieve their winning performances last night. We had a very varied programme, ranging from Chopin to Schumann to Gershwin to Boulez, which, for those of you not au fait with his music, can be quite difficult to follow!
A unanimous decision was reached by the judges for the first prize winner, Abel Sanchez-Aguilera from Category 2 (non-professional pianists). Abel stunned the judges right from the first round with his sparkling performance of Scarlatti's sonata in A major. His emotionally charged semi-final performance of Chopin's Ballade no.1 in G minor op.23 brought them close to tears.
Abel plays with the technical brilliance of a full-time professional pianist, yet he is a Doctor of biochemistry and molecular biology, having trained at both Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston. He currently works in Madrid as a research scientist at the National Cardiovascular Research Centre, focussing on leukaemia and blood cell formation.
Also a unanimous decision by the jury was awarding 2nd prize to Iuliia Tarasevich. Iuliia gave us the most varied programme last night, playing Liszt, Taktakishvili, Kallinnikov and Gershwin. Her playing is full of passion, feeling and musicality; she wears her heart on her sleeve when she plays. Iuliia's humility throughout the competition was very endearing. She is a true musician. Our three 3rd place prize winners, Sara Costa, Vincent Letourmy and Mariia Narodytska, all gave us fantastic performances and gave the jury no option but to split the third prize amongst all three. Despite not winning any of the prizes last night, Slav Lechowski and Alessandro Mercando gave very convincing and confident performances throughout the competition. It was a great pleasure to listen to their playing again on the final night.
Thank you everyone and well done again.