Sydney International Piano Competition

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Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia
Awarded for Exceptional piano performance
Country  Australia
Presented by Australian Broadcasting Corporation
First awarded 1977
Last awarded 2012
Official website http://www.sipca.com.au/

The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia is a music competition, presented by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in association with the University of Sydney and broadcast live throughout Australia. It is held every four years, over a three-week period in July-August,[1] and is internationally recognised as one of the world's great piano competitions.[2] It was established in July 1977 by Claire Dan, with co-founders Rex Hobcroft and Robert Tobias,[3] and was admitted as a member of the Federation of International Music Competitions in 1978.[4][5] The Artistic Director since its inception has been Warren Thomson, who has also served as Chairman of the jury since 1992.

Structure[edit]

A total of 36 pianists are selected to participate in the competition. Worldwide auditions are held to select the 36 entrants, who must be aged between 17 and 30.[1][6]

Traditionally, the previous winner presents a Gala Opening Recital.

The competition proper consists of five stages. All 36 competitors appear in the first two stages, which each involve a 20-minute solo recital. Competitors must include an Australian work chosen from a group of pieces set by the organizers. Miriam Hyde's Valley of Rocks was one of the pieces set for the 1988 competition; it was chosen by 23 of the contestants, and it went on to become her best-known work.

After this the best 20 are chosen to proceed to the third stage, a 40-minute recital. Twelve pianists are selected to proceed to the fourth stage, a 50-minute recital and participation in a chamber work. Six competitors are selected for the final stage, in which they play two piano concertos with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.[7][8]

The first four stages take place at the Seymour Centre, University of Sydney,[9][10][11] and the fifth stage is held at Sydney Opera House.[12][13] The winner receives a prize of $25,000, with smaller prizes awarded for other placings.[14] All stages are broadcast live on radio throughout Australia and to the world online, by ABC Classic FM.

In the competition's thirty-year history, no Australian pianist has won first prize.

Criticisms[edit]

Despite its generally recognised prestige, the competition has been strongly criticised by some established Australian pianists. The pianist and composer Larry Sitsky said: "The title Sydney International Piano Competition sounds grand and definitive. But behind the facade is a rather shabby private party in progress".[15] The Liszt specialist and composer Leslie Howard said: "I was asked to be on the international advisory panel for this years ago ... and since then have never heard from any of them. ... No-one, of course, will ever hear from any of the prize-winners. They all seem to have had rather too close connections with members of the jury, which in any case is composed mostly of lacklustre teachers ... who have never been professional concert pianists in their lives and wouldn't recognise good and original artistry if it jumped up and bit them".[15] Michael Kieran Harvey has asked: "What does the complete lack of success past SIPCA winners have had at making a career say about the cloth-eared selectors who travel around the world at great expense auditioning young hopefuls? Why, if SIPCA is such an internationally significant competition, are second-rate teachers no-one's ever heard of, to say nothing of completely unqualified non-musicians, sitting in judgment at this supposedly premier music event?"[16] Despite his criticism, Harvey agreed to become the commentator for the ABC's radio broadcast of the 2000 competition, "in an attempt to provide some objective analysis".[16]

Critics have also pointed to the dominance of Warren Thomson, who single-handedly chooses the repertoire and all the jurors, many of whom are associated with the Australian Institute of Music (AIM), of which he is Artistic Director, Professional Development Programs.[15] With assistance from others, he also auditions all the entrants, and chooses the 36 competitors. Alexei Yemtsov, a competitor at the 2000 competition, lived in Thomson's home and Thomson became his official guardian. That year, the minimum age was lowered from 18 to 17, although Thomson denied it had anything to do with Yemtsov's being only 17 at the time.[15] The pianist Simon Tedeschi has said he "has no intention of ever collaborating with Thomson and SIPCA ... The school of pianism with which he associates himself is not to my taste ... The trained-seal mentality makes for poor musicianship, and, ultimately, unhappy lives".[15] Margaret Hair, AIM's former head of keyboard studies, said: "There's a feeling among teachers that with Warren [Thomson] in charge, Australian students have little chance of making the final cut. The most tragic outcome of his effect on the piano scene in this country is a sense of hopelessness that most students now feel".[15]

Critics have also pointed to the fact that in some cases competitors are the students of members of the jury. For example, Mikhail Yanovitsky and Dmitry Grigortsevich, finalists in the 1996 competition, were students of Mikhail Voskresenky and Lev Vlassenko respectively, both of whom were jurors.

On the other hand, the list of musicians and others who have been involved with the competition as either patrons or jurors includes such names as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Lazar Berman, Sir Bernard Heinze, Eileen Joyce, Eugene List, Sir Charles Mackerras, Denis Matthews, Hephzibah Menuhin, John O'Conor, Harold C. Schonberg, Sir Georg Solti and Gordon Watson.[16]

Prize winners and jurors[edit]

Number Year Prize Winners Country Jurors (incomplete) Music Patron
I 1977 Irina Plotnikova  USSR Rex Hobcroft (Chairman)[16]
Sergei Dorensky
Sir Bernard Heinze
Ludwig Hoffman
Lucrecia Kasilag
Eugene List
André-F. Marescotti
Denis Matthews
Hephzibah Menuhin[17]
Jan Weber
Wiktor Weinbaum
Roger Woodward[18]
Svetlana Navasardyan  USSR
André Laplante  Canada
Marioara Trifan  United States
Philip Fowke  United Kingdom
Manana Doidjashvili  USSR
Daniel Blumenthal  United States
Dennis Lee  Malaysia
Diana Kacso  Brazil
Gary Steigerwalt  United States
Jenő Jandó  Hungary
Paweł Chęciński  Poland
Piers Lane  Australia
II 1981 Chia Chou  Canada Rex Hobcroft (Chairman)
Claude Frank
Eileen Joyce
André-F. Marescotti
Li Mingqiang
Cécile Ousset
Frederick Page
Abbey Simon
Gordon Watson
Wiktor Weinbaum
Roger Woodward[19]
Sir Bernard Heinze[18]
Endre Hegedűs  Hungary
Catherine Vickers  Canada
Daniel Blumenthal  United States
David Owen Norris  United Kingdom
Liora Ziv-Li  Israel
Marc Raubenheimer  South Africa
Patrick O'Byrne  New Zealand
Martin Roscoe  United Kingdom
Alec Chien  Hong Kong
Edward Newman  United States
Yves Rault  France
III 1985 Du Ning-Wu  China Rex Hobcroft (Chairman)[16]
Eileen Joyce (Deputy Chairman)[19]
Marcello Abbado
Nicole Henriot
André Laplante
Li Min-duo
Jurgen Meyer-Josten
Elizabeth Powell
Harold C. Schonberg
Peter Solymos
Gordon Watson
Kasulo Yasukawa
Eileen Joyce[19]
Bernd Glemser Germany W. Germany
Thomas Duis Germany W. Germany
Eduardus Halim  Indonesia
Arnan Weisel  Israel
Ueli Wiget   Switzerland
Istvan Gulyas  Hungary
Rita Kinka  Yugoslavia
David Selig  Australia
Michael Gurt  United States
Luigi Ceci  Italy
Phillip Shovk  Australia
IV 1988 Alexander Korsantia  USSR Rex Hobcroft (Chairman)[16]
Joan Chissell
Nicole Henriot
Li Mingqiang
Albrecht Roeseler
Harold C. Schonberg
Warren Thomson
Kazuyuki Tohyama
Ana Maria Trenchi de Botazzi
Arie Vardi
Lev Vlassenko
Eileen Joyce[18]
Riccardo Zadra  Italy
Eduardus Halim  Indonesia
David Buechner  United States
Sergei Erohin  USSR
Phillip Shovk  Australia
Gilead Mishory  Israel
Anton Batagov  USSR
Matthias Fletzberger  Austria
Victor Sangiorgio  Australia
Asaf Zohar  Israel
Adrienne Krausz  Hungary
V 1992 Xiang-Dong Kong  China Warren Thomson (Chairman)[16]
Joan Chissell
Anthony Fogg
Edward Gordon
William Littler
Li Mingqiang
Hiroko Nakamura
John O'Conor
Elizabeth Powell
Albrecht Roeseler
Joaquín Soriano
Maurice Till
Arie Vardi
Lev Vlassenko
Sir Charles Mackerras[18]
Olivier Cazal  France
Duncan Gifford  Australia
Hiroshi Arimori  Japan
Anna Malikova  Russia
Vitaly Samoshko  Ukraine
Daniel Gortler  Israel
Matthias Kirschnereit  Germany
Michele Bolla  Italy
Ivor Janssen  Netherlands
Young-Ah Kim  South Korea
Helen Sim  United States
VI 1996 Sergey Tarasov  Russia Warren Thomson (Chairman)
Aquiles Delle Vigne
Dean Elder
Ernest Fleischmann
Alexander Jenner
György Nador
Hiroko Nakamura
John Painter
John Roos
Pnina Salzman
Edvard Tchivzhel
Mikhail Voskresensky
Sir Georg Solti[18]
Yuki Takao  Japan
Roberto Cominati  Italy
Christiano Burato  Italy
Mikhail Yanovitsky  Russia
Dimitry Grigortsevich  Russia
Konstantin Masliouk  Russia
Ingo Dannhorn  Germany
David Louie  Canada
Edward Park  Australia
Gabor Rozsa  Hungary
Anne Louise-Turgeon  Canada
VII 2000 Marina Kolomiitseva  Russia Warren Thomson (Chairman)
Lazar Berman
Timothy Calnin[16][20]
Aquiles Delle Vigne
Franz Muller-Heuser
Irina Plotnikova
Pnina Salzman
Phillip Shovk
Edvard Tchivzhel
Frank Wibaut
Sir Charles Mackerras[18]
Ayako Uehara  Japan
Evgeny Ukhanov  Ukraine
Aleksey Volodin  Russia
Vera Kamaneva  Russia
Henry Wong Doe  New Zealand
VIII 2004 John Chen  New Zealand Warren Thomson (Chairman)
Nancy Bricard
Aquiles Delle Vigne
Alexander Jenner
Xiang-Dong Kong
Piers Lane
William Lyne
John O'Conor
Arie Vardi
Sir Charles Mackerras[18]
Rem Urasin  Russia
Daniel Hill  Australia
Ayano Shimada  Japan
Alexander Lubiantsev  Russia
Chu-Fang Huang  China
IX 2008 Konstantin Shamray  Russia Warren Thomson (Chairman)
Michael Brimer
Manana Doidjashvili
Aquiles Delle Vigne
Norma Fisher
Alexander Jenner
Choong-Mo Kang
Ian Munro
Arie Vardi
Zhou Guangren[21]
Vladimir Ashkenazy[21]
Tatiana Kolesova  Russia
Ran Dank  Israel
Takashi Sato  Japan
Tomoki Kitamura  Japan
Eric Zuber  United States
X 2012 Avan Yu[22]  Canada Warren Thomson (Chairman)
Michael Brimer
Choong-Mo Kang
Manana Doidjashvili
Aquiles Delle Vigne
Norma Fisher
Heinz Medjimorec
Ian Munro
Phillip Shovk
Arie Vardi[3]
Vladimir Ashkenazy
Nikolay Khozyainov  Russia
Dmitry Onishchenko  Ukraine
Mikhail Berestnev  Russia
Hao Zhu  China
Tanya Gabrielian  USA

References[edit]

General
  • 1977 Prize-Winners. The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved on 2008-04-26
  • 1981 Prize-Winners. The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved on 2008-04-26
  • 1985 Prize-Winners. The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved on 2008-04-26
  • 1988 Prize-Winners. The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved on 2008-04-26.
  • 1992 Prize-Winners. The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved on 2008-04-26
  • 1996 Prize-Winners. The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved on 2008-04-26
  • 2000 Prize-Winners. The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved on 2008-04-26
  • 2004 Prize-Winners. The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved on 2008-04-26
  • Competitors Chosen for 2008 Competition. The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved on 2008-04-29
Specific
  1. ^ a b "Sydney International Piano Competition 2004". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 April 2008. 
  2. ^ "The Sydney Piano Competition Winner". riverside Parramatta.com. Retrieved 4 April 2008. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b SIPCA 2012
  4. ^ "About the Competition". The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved 25 April 2008. 
  5. ^ "Website Detail". Acn.net.au. Retrieved 26 April 2008. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Competitors Chosen for 2008 Competition". The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved 29 April 2008. 
  7. ^ "Opening Recital — The Sydney International Piano Competition". Sydney International Piano Competition. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2008. 
  8. ^ "International Piano Opening". Seymour Box Office. Retrieved 4 May 2008. 
  9. ^ "International Piano Stage 3". Seymour Box Office. Retrieved 4 May 2008. 
  10. ^ "International Piano Semi Final". Seymour Box Office. Retrieved 4 May 2008. 
  11. ^ "Sydney International Piano Competition". The University of Sydney. Retrieved 4 May 2008. [dead link]
  12. ^ "What's new?". The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved 25 April 2008. 
  13. ^ "14. Competition Stages". The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved 26 April 2008. 
  14. ^ "3. Prizes and Special Prizes". The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved 26 April 2008. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f Kelly Burke: "Musicians lift lid on 'piano Olympics'", The Age 3 July 2000
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h Kelly Burke, "Tinkle, tinkle, little stars", Sydney Morning Herald, 1 July 2000
  17. ^ "Hephzibah Menuhin 1920-1981". Live Performance Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 20 October 2009. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g "SIPCA Newsletter September 2003". The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. Retrieved 20 October 2009. 
  19. ^ a b c "Eileen Joyce (1908–1991) Timeline" (PDF). University of Western Australia. Retrieved 20 October 2009. 
  20. ^ John Painter and Viktor Makarov were originally chosen as jurors, but Painter withdrew due to illness, and Makarov was removed by Warren Thomson to allay concerns over the method of selection of judges. Phillip Shovk and Timothy Calnin were chosen in their places.
  21. ^ a b "2008 SIPCA website". The Sydney International Piano Competition. Retrieved 20 October 2009. 
  22. ^ SIPCA 2012 winners

External links[edit]