Piano Competitions: Return to the Dark Side

Explosive stuff in the New York Times & Herald Tribune: journalist Michael Johnson, formerly a board member on the London International Piano Competition, reveals some personal accounts of being behind the scenes at piano competitions. Anyone who still thinks that they are a good thing will be hard-pressed to continue now. The following is especially priceless.

‘The much-recorded pianist and prominent musicologist Charles Rosen recalled for me his memory of the Leeds competition at which the Bach specialist Rosalyn Tureck voted against András Schiff in the finals. “She ousted him because he played Bach better than she did,” Mr. Rosen says.’

I’ve been yelling for years about the iniquities of these godforsaken events, but it takes someone like Johnson, who’s been on the inside of them for long enough, to speak out from his own experience (otherwise we are always muzzled by libel lawyers). I don’t think this will go away in a hurry.

 

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