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Prestigious piano competition strikes a chord

By CHEN NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-23 08:50
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The second Beijing International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition for Young Pianists, running from Oct 19 to Nov 2, is taking place at the opera house of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. The event was co-organized by the Central Conservatory of Music, according to Yu Feng, president of the school.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and Poland, which makes the Beijing competition special, Yu says.

Several award-winning musicians performed at the opening concert, along with the symphony orchestra of the Central Conservatory of Music, under the baton of conductor Chen Lin.

The musicians include Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder, the winner of the second prize at the 2010 competition in Warsaw, and Polish pianist Piotr Paleczny, the winner of the competition's third prize in 1970-who is also one of the judges of this year's competition for young pianists.

The Beijing competition is open to pianists aged between 12 and 26 from all over the world, and will be held in two age groups-junior and senior.

The compositions, rules and judges of the competition are consistent with those used by the parent event in Warsaw.

Winners of each group will be given the opportunity to compete in the first round of the 18th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in October 2020.

Inaugurated in 1927, the competition in Warsaw is held every five years and considered to be one of the oldest and most prestigious music competitions in the world. According to Yu, the competition is well-known in China and has long gained the attention of young piano students, and some of the most established Chinese pianists such as Li Yundi and Chen Sa have launched their careers by participating in it.

Li won both the first prize and the special prize of the Fryderyk Chopin Society in Warsaw for the best performance of a polonaise in 2000, becoming both the first Chinese pianist and the youngest person to win the event. He was also a jury member for the Warsaw competition in 2015, where he was again the youngest participant since the competition's inception.

The Beijing competition has been listed in the protocol of cultural cooperation between China and Poland, which was formally signed under the witness of the two leaders of China and Poland during President Xi Jinping's state visit to Poland in June 2016.

Held every three years in the capital, the Beijing competition is a collaboration between the Central Conservatory of Music and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Poland. The first Beijing International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition for Young Pianists took place in October 2016.

"The organizers of the Beijing competition have been working with us for many years, making it one of the few events in the world that is closely related to the original Warsaw competition," says Artur Szklener, director of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, the organizer of the Warsaw event.

"It (the Warsaw event) is a festival of Fryderyk Chopin's music, especially for the talented young musicians. It's not just about playing Chopin's music, but also reflecting the sensitivity and understanding of his musical language," says Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron, chairwoman of the jury for the parent event in Warsaw, who also serves as juror at the Beijing competition.

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