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#1703728 - 06/28/11 05:43 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 415
Loc: Bend, Or.
I LOVE the "Old people with degrees who aren't very good". Laughed out loud actually. Some people do not take lessons as well, just an occasional coaching or discussion from the local group. That is my case, I prefer to just use my instincts and do it seat of the pants. I cannot drive for hours and spend big bucks. This is not the top priority in my current life. I love meeting so many people and the CHALLENGE. Keeps me off the street!
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#1703816 - 06/28/11 08:48 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: DaleC]
Tim Adrianson Offline
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Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1019
I still like the "two-tier" approach that Berlin provided in 2010 -- but I haven't heard what people thought of that. Personally, I would elect for the less stringent tier in a heartbeat, because I'm not interested in programming big virtuoso works, but rather piano works not heard much (if at all) that IMO deserve a hearing. A second thing I like about Berlin is that they appear to have an extensive program for the "mini-recital" -- a good 20 - 30 minute opportunity for those who don't advance to present their programs. I understand that there is a good public audience for that as well. Colorado Springs has by far done the best job in providing this type of alternative outlet, with their Penrose Library event. This is important because contestants who don't advance want to feel that they can present some or most of the material that they've worked on to an appreciative audience -- or even an alternative set of pieces. For example, I'd use the Berlin event to introduce German audiences to some American repertoire,even if I didn't program it in the lower competitive tier.

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#1703824 - 06/28/11 08:59 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: musica71]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1019
Well said, Judy! The streets of Bend, OR are mean indeed!

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#1703854 - 06/28/11 10:01 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Tim Adrianson]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3839
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Tim Adrianson
[...] Personally, I would elect for the less stringent tier in a heartbeat, because I'm not interested in programming big virtuoso works, but rather piano works not heard much (if at all) that IMO deserve a hearing. [...]


YES! Focusing on artistry (compositional and interpretive) rather than virtuosity! (?)
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I may not be fast,
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#1703884 - 06/28/11 10:49 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: DaleC]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19637
Loc: New York
I'm loving this discussion -- maybe especially this: ha ha

Originally Posted By: DaleC
Originally Posted By: musica71
... maybe we should have a Competition for people that aren't very good....

How about a competition for old people with degrees who aren't very good? smile


(Great job, Judy and Dale!)

I'm even loving the posts that I disagree with, including from Ronald.
Maybe especially Ronald. smile While I don't agree with his view, he does raise good points, and he raises them well.

I'm with this thing that Dale said:

Quote:
....I wouldn't change a thing. If you want a challenge and enjoy the environment and stress of these competitions, go for it. If not, find something else to do with your time and money .... it takes a lot of both.

Ronald said he doesn't get what I have against the 2-tier thing. All I can say is, I did my best to explain it in an earlier post, and I can't do any better than that.

As to why they don't allow people of older ages into the professional competitions, the answer is simple: They're looking for up-and-coming GREAT pianists, and you only find those in the younger age groups. Lots of things are like that. If you were looking for up-and-coming potentially great mathematicians, or chess players.....or, for that matter, baseball players, you wouldn't look at older people either.

If there are to be two tiers, as per some of the jokes on here grin it's hard to know what to use as the dividing criterion. Some people think it should be "age," and at least one competition has considered allowing people over a certain age to have the choice to be considered in a separate category. I'm old enough for that, but I'd never want to opt for it. I think I'd rather die. ha

Ronald thinks it should be according to whether you have a piano degree. That's a reasonable thought (need I say) smile but I don't think that helps anything. Often Ronald qualifies it by saying it should depend on what school the degree is from -- but if you try to follow that through, you have a real total mess, and I can just about guarantee you that it's not going to happen.

Sure, there's a correlation between having a piano degree and doing well in the amateur competitions. But IMO it's not nearly a strong enough correlation for it to be made such a prominent criterion for "categories," or for not admitting people to the competitions. I'm a better pianist and performer than many people with degrees (although less often a better "musician"), as are many of the other non-degree pianists in these competitions, and to the extent that I'm not as good as many of the "degree" people, I say BRAVO -- I love being with them in these events, and wouldn't find the events nearly as interesting or appealing without them. I doubt that I would continue being interested in these events if not for their presence, or if they were in a separate category. And I'll go even further: I think an aspect of interest in these competitions is to see how the non-degree people fare against the degree people.

The different kinds of posts on this thread, and maybe especially the jokes ha show how hard it is to come up with definitive criteria or dividing lines. When it's that hard, I say that less is better than more.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1703892 - 06/28/11 11:01 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 786
Loc: New York, NY
Originally Posted By: Mark_C


Sure, there's a correlation between having a piano degree and doing well in the amateur competitions. But IMO it's not nearly a strong enough correlation for it to be made such a prominent criterion for "categories," or for not admitting people to the competitions. I'm a better pianist and performer than many people with degrees (although less often a better "musician"), as are many of the other non-degree pianists in these competitions, and to the extent that I'm not as good as many of the "degree" people, I say BRAVO -- I love being with them in these events, and wouldn't find the events nearly as interesting or appealing without them. I doubt that I would continue being interested in these events if not for their presence, or if they were in a separate category. And I'll go even further: I think an aspect of interest in these competitions is to see how the non-degree people fare against the degree people.

The different kinds of posts on this thread, and maybe especially the jokes ha show how hard it is to come up with definitive criteria or dividing lines. When it's that hard, I say that less is better than more.


I don't know it's true, but I think for some if not the majority of degree-holders, entering these competitions is an ego-trip. If you stratify it, they would simply stop coming. Obviously I have no data to back it up but it'll be my guess.
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911, 110, 53. Listed in order of time of composition.


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#1703905 - 06/28/11 11:12 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Lingyis]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19637
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Lingyis
I don't know it's true, but I think for some if not the majority of degree-holders, entering these competitions is an ego-trip.....

To some extent, maybe a big extent, it's an ego trip for most of us, degree or no degree.

Quote:
If you stratify it, they would simply stop coming. Obviously I have no data to back it up but it'll be my guess.

They wouldn't stop at all.

Anyway I don't really understand your premise. I guess you think they get a thrill out of beating the non-degree people, which I doubt is true, but even if it is, then what about the anti-thrill that they get from being 'beaten' by fellow degree people? After all, far more people "lose" than "win." If they were ruled by feelings such as what you said, wouldn't that have kept them from ever entering?
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#1703964 - 06/29/11 12:39 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 415
Loc: Bend, Or.
Good Grief! I have NEVER thought I would go to BEAT someone with a degree just because I have a degree. Nor would I be miffed at having a non degree person be above me. Don't we go to hear really great music played and try to improve ourselves (which definitely does happen when you picture yourself on that stage all alone)? My son Seth has no music degree, he studied with very good teachers all along through High School and college. I don't see him all that often now that we are on opposite ends of the country but I was really blown away by his playing in Boston. A degree has nothing to do with it, he is just good! Frankly I would have not wanted to be in the finals in either the Cliburn or Boston. They are just plain at a different level and what a show it was! The semi's would be nice once in a while however.
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#1703977 - 06/29/11 12:57 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1472
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

Ronald thinks it should be according to whether you have a piano degree. That's a reasonable thought (need I say) smile but I don't think that helps anything. Often Ronald qualifies it by saying it should depend on what school the degree is from -- but if you try to follow that through, you have a real total mess, and I can just about guarantee you that it's not going to happen.

Sure, there's a correlation between having a piano degree and doing well in the amateur competitions. But IMO it's not nearly a strong enough correlation for it to be made such a prominent criterion for "categories," or for not admitting people to the competitions. I'm a better pianist and performer than many people with degrees (although less often a better "musician"), as are many of the other non-degree pianists in these competitions, and to the extent that I'm not as good as many of the "degree" people, I say BRAVO -- I love being with them in these events, and wouldn't find the events nearly as interesting or appealing without them. I doubt that I would continue being interested in these events if not for their presence, or if they were in a separate category. And I'll go even further: I think an aspect of interest in these competitions is to see how the non-degree people fare against the degree people.


I agree separating participants based on the music schools is impossible, there will be protests left and right. Not to mention that some people will get offended if his or her music school is classified as amateur music school.

On your second point. I still do not understand what made you think that you are not allowed to compete against the degree people. The degree category is open to anybody. The only change is that non degree people have their own sand box to play. They can compete against other non degree people, they do not need to be bullied by degree people. However, if some of the non degree people who are strong enough and want to compete against the degree people, they are welcome to do so.

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#1703979 - 06/29/11 01:03 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 786
Loc: New York, NY
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Lingyis
I don't know it's true, but I think for some if not the majority of degree-holders, entering these competitions is an ego-trip.....

To some extent, maybe a big extent, it's an ego trip for most of us, degree or no degree.

Quote:
If you stratify it, they would simply stop coming. Obviously I have no data to back it up but it'll be my guess.

They wouldn't stop at all.

Anyway I don't really understand your premise. I guess you think they get a thrill out of beating the non-degree people, which I doubt is true, but even if it is, then what about the anti-thrill that they get from being 'beaten' by fellow degree people? After all, far more people "lose" than "win." If they were ruled by feelings such as what you said, wouldn't that have kept them from ever entering?


Exactly. My point is, and again, it's not like I have data to back me, that if tiered, degree people would have to compete with degree people. If they want to win, wouldn't it be easier to compete outside of your own class?

My feeling in today's amateur competitions is, based on what I've learned on this forum and have read, is that there are more and more degreed people entering whereas there were fewer of them I don't know, 15 years ago? (did those competitions even exist back then?) So I'm just thinking that many of them think they have a chance at winning and entered because of it. Maybe we have already reached an "equilibrium" in terms of degreed vs non-degreed people.

So once you have a tiered system, at least some degreed people might stop showing up. Though on the other hand, I suppose those who do show up will truly do it for the love of their craft.
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Working on:
911, 110, 53. Listed in order of time of composition.


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#1703981 - 06/29/11 01:05 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: musica71]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1472
Originally Posted By: musica71
Good Grief! I have NEVER thought I would go to BEAT someone with a degree just because I have a degree. Nor would I be miffed at having a non degree person be above me. Don't we go to hear really great music played and try to improve ourselves (which definitely does happen when you picture yourself on that stage all alone)? My son Seth has no music degree, he studied with very good teachers all along through High School and college. I don't see him all that often now that we are on opposite ends of the country but I was really blown away by his playing in Boston. A degree has nothing to do with it, he is just good! Frankly I would have not wanted to be in the finals in either the Cliburn or Boston. They are just plain at a different level and what a show it was! The semi's would be nice once in a while however.


Yes, your son is very good, but he does not have enough endurance like most of degree people. He always falls apart in the second round, because he did not have enough training to prepare him to play consistently. If he had gone to a music school, he would have practiced consistently for four years for final exam. In addition, he would have bigger pieces to perform. Don't get me wrong I REALLY like your son's playing. I can feel his music, just if he needs to do piano marathon.....he does not have the endurance.

If you do not want to be in the final with those big guys, can you imagine people like your son who have limited repertoire. You can imagine how embarrassing to play after people who can play Islamey, Island of Joy, etc......That is why I think it is important to have two divisions so that it will prevent embarrassment. Great real amateurs are still allowed to compete against heavy duty Pro Am like Sanchez, Choi, Shih etc if they opt to enter the degree division.....

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#1703983 - 06/29/11 01:05 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: musica71]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 786
Loc: New York, NY
Originally Posted By: musica71
Good Grief! I have NEVER thought I would go to BEAT someone with a degree just because I have a degree. Nor would I be miffed at having a non degree person be above me. Don't we go to hear really great music played and try to improve ourselves (which definitely does happen when you picture yourself on that stage all alone)? My son Seth has no music degree, he studied with very good teachers all along through High School and college. I don't see him all that often now that we are on opposite ends of the country but I was really blown away by his playing in Boston. A degree has nothing to do with it, he is just good! Frankly I would have not wanted to be in the finals in either the Cliburn or Boston. They are just plain at a different level and what a show it was! The semi's would be nice once in a while however.


We need more nice people like you smile

Though I suppose if they didn't want to win they wouldn't have practiced so hard, so maybe the competitive spirit is a good thing after all. Hmm... tough as always.

Maybe they should do it American Idol style, have the audience's votes count! Even more entertainment.
_________________________
Working on:
911, 110, 53. Listed in order of time of composition.


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#1704103 - 06/29/11 08:50 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Lingyis]
DaleC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 41
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Lingyis

I don't know it's true, but I think for some if not the majority of degree-holders, entering these competitions is an ego-trip.


I'd replace "ego-trip" with 1. opportunity to play the rep they love in front of a knowledgeable audience 2. interest in recognition, whether it's a pat on the back from a fellow contestant, or advancement to the next round. I think this is true for all participants, not just people with degrees. Where else do amateurs/semi-professionals get to show their stuff? Who among us have friends who REALLY want to hear the Brahms-Handel Variations or all movements of a late Beethoven sonata? And assuming we pry our friends with food and drinks, how many of them really appreciate what they hear? I've had more in-home recitals than I can count and have a lot of fun doing it .... highly recommended. But ... the experience of Fort Worth (I'm one of the lurkers Mark referred to) trumps my living room, fed my "ego" (I'm one of the folks with a degree, although old and not very good) and inspired me to practice even more. Great experience all around, but not for everyone.

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#1704129 - 06/29/11 09:32 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Lingyis]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1019
A quick history lesson on the Amateur Competition "idea": it was started in Paris, around 1990, by a fellow named Gerard Beckerman. In 1999, Van Cliburn introduced it in the US, and several enterprising individuals liked it so much that they started regional Competitions in 2001-03: to be specific -- Phred Meller in NYC; John Gardecki in Washington DC; Robert Finley in Boston; and Chuck Cabell in Colorado Springs. The latest one has been Chicago in 2010. In Europe, Eberhard Zagrozek started one in Berlin, and there are several other new ones in various European cities. Both MarkC and I have been involved since the "early" days. The number of entries in the Chicago Competition and the quality of the entrants clearly shows that these Competitions are "catching on". The Houston event that RS alludes to I don't know much about; it sounds like a "spin-off from the "big" Cliburn event.

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#1704145 - 06/29/11 09:49 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Lingyis]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19637
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Lingyis
....My feeling in today's amateur competitions is, based on what I've learned on this forum and have read, is that there are more and more degreed people entering....

Oh OK.
Now I see where you were coming from.

It's not true. smile

I mean, in raw numbers it is, because there are more people of all kinds entering now, but I don't think the proportion of them is greater than it was before. I guess you got that from something that was said here a while back, and you assumed it was so.

Dale: Golly, I remember that we met at the competition but (sorry!) I was so preoccupied at the time that I don't remember who you are! May I beg for a little hint.... smile
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1704147 - 06/29/11 09:51 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19637
Loc: New York
Ronald: Your analysis of Seth is completely wrong.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1704151 - 06/29/11 09:56 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: musica71]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1019
Judy, philosophically I'm definitely in your camp -- the "degrees" don't bother me all that much; I just get a rush listening to highly difficult material played so well. Having said that, though, I am concerned that the inclusion of so many "semi-Professionals" into the mix has the indirect effect of limiting the repertoire choices. To be clear to everybody on PW, I speak as one who DID make the Finals three separate times in various regional Competitions, but I did it more on the strength of my original programming than my virtuosic "chops". These days, I no longer feel like I can aspire to the Finals: but, as Judy indicated, I now don't feel like I have any business on that stage: the playing now is at a virtuosic level above which I could EVER aspire. So I continue to seek other "solutions" -- perhaps additional awards, as Lingvis indicated -- or the "two-tier approach" that Berlin is trying.
The best recent personal example was my experience in Boston in 2009: I was very proud to make the SemiFinal round -- and I got to present the complete repertoire I really wanted to present. I've been richly rewarded in these events, frankly; but others haven't been as fortunate.

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#1704153 - 06/29/11 10:02 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1472
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Ronald: Your analysis of Seth is completely wrong.


Elaborate please since you have seen and known him...thanks in advance.

My thought about Seth is that he is very talented and very very musical. That is why I was not surprised when he got into semi in Van Cliburn in 2007. I only see that he did not have power house repertoire for semi, and he is not old enough to get preferential treatment like some other senior citizen participants (you know many of these piano competitions love dramatic life stories). Had he had strong training (piano degree), he would have made it to the final. He definitely has enough talent just not enough practice and training.

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#1704155 - 06/29/11 10:03 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Tim Adrianson]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19637
Loc: New York
Tim: I don't really see why you feel that the high level of contestants affects repertoire choices. I don't think it does.

I think maybe you're basing it on things that have sometimes been said to you -- i.e. that maybe you'd do even better ("competitively") if you played "normal" music, and maybe once or twice it did make you try that. I think those may have been close to the only times that there has been such an effect. I certainly haven't felt or perceived such a thing.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1704156 - 06/29/11 10:04 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19637
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Ronald: Your analysis of Seth is completely wrong.


Elaborate please since you have seen and known him...thanks in advance.

I won't, because I think it's inappropriate and serves no purpose to focus on one person in such a way.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1704161 - 06/29/11 10:12 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1472
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Ronald: Your analysis of Seth is completely wrong.


Elaborate please since you have seen and known him...thanks in advance.

I won't, because I think it's inappropriate and serves no purpose to focus on one person in such a way.


You are going to say positive things about him, aren't you? If you are going to say negative things, I do understand it is not appropriate.

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#1704169 - 06/29/11 10:29 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Tim Adrianson]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1472
Originally Posted By: Tim Adrianson
Judy, philosophically I'm definitely in your camp -- the "degrees" don't bother me all that much; I just get a rush listening to highly difficult material played so well. Having said that, though, I am concerned that the inclusion of so many "semi-Professionals" into the mix has the indirect effect of limiting the repertoire choices. To be clear to everybody on PW, I speak as one who DID make the Finals three separate times in various regional Competitions, but I did it more on the strength of my original programming than my virtuosic "chops". These days, I no longer feel like I can aspire to the Finals: but, as Judy indicated, I now don't feel like I have any business on that stage: the playing now is at a virtuosic level above which I could EVER aspire. So I continue to seek other "solutions" -- perhaps additional awards, as Lingvis indicated -- or the "two-tier approach" that Berlin is trying.
The best recent personal example was my experience in Boston in 2009: I was very proud to make the SemiFinal round -- and I got to present the complete repertoire I really wanted to present. I've been richly rewarded in these events, frankly; but others haven't been as fortunate.


Tim, if you do not have a piano degree and you got into semi, you basically had won the competition thumb As I said many times, it is possible but very very difficult for non degree people. Especially now, when degree people play Chopin 4th Ballad in the prelim, and they play well too.

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#1704174 - 06/29/11 10:37 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Tim Adrianson]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3839
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Tim Adrianson
Judy, philosophically I'm definitely in your camp -- the "degrees" don't bother me all that much; I just get a rush listening to highly difficult material played so well. Having said that, though, I am concerned that the inclusion of so many "semi-Professionals" into the mix has the indirect effect of limiting the repertoire choices. To be clear to everybody on PW, I speak as one who DID make the Finals three separate times in various regional Competitions, but I did it more on the strength of my original programming than my virtuosic "chops". These days, I no longer feel like I can aspire to the Finals: but, as Judy indicated, I now don't feel like I have any business on that stage: the playing now is at a virtuosic level above which I could EVER aspire. So I continue to seek other "solutions" -- perhaps additional awards, as Lingvis indicated -- or the "two-tier approach" that Berlin is trying.
The best recent personal example was my experience in Boston in 2009: I was very proud to make the SemiFinal round -- and I got to present the complete repertoire I really wanted to present. I've been richly rewarded in these events, frankly; but others haven't been as fortunate.


Tim,
I just want to interject that I thought your playing in the Chicago competition last year was extremely thoughtful, patient, lyrical and fully engaging. I was there as an audience member for all of Friday, Saturday and Sunday (sorry, Thursday folks! frown If I'd have know what I was in for, I wouldn't have missed it!) It was my first experience with anything having to do with piano competitions. Since that time, I have wondered if it would ever be possible for a pianist to make it to the finals without playing some kind of big crash piece.
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1704183 - 06/29/11 10:53 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Cinnamonbear]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1472
I think it will be hard to get into final without big crash pieces. It is like man figure skating, no quad, no win.....The industry has moved to different dimension. So many Pro Am enter these so called amateur competitions. As my teacher said it is virtually impossible for a real amateur to be able to play those kind of pieces well, only Pro Am can do this, and most Pro Ams have piano degree(s) or went to conservatory in the past but changed their mind to pursue other things.

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#1704190 - 06/29/11 11:04 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: DaleC]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3839
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: DaleC
[...]Where else do amateurs/semi-professionals get to show their stuff? Who among us have friends who REALLY want to hear the Brahms-Handel Variations or all movements of a late Beethoven sonata? And assuming we pry our friends with food and drinks, how many of them really appreciate what they hear? [...]


Dale, This is the heart of it, for sure! My impression at the Chicago competition (especially with some of the preliminary round performers) was that there were some contestants who were showing off to the detriment of their playing (cf. the thread, "Why do pianists look up?," as in, why do they swoon and then miss the very next phrase when they come around for another doh-see-doh with rapture? I mean, if you're going to have fun riding the merry-go-round while you play piano, you better hang on to the notes!) But the greater majority of contestants were there to share their work, just as you say--to play to a knowledgeable audience and to have their work be recognized and appreciated by people who can recognize and appreciate it at the level with which the work was carefully prepared and offered.

By the way, I understand what you mean about your friends. My wife's comment to me the other day was, "Gurlitt/Schabel, Mozart/Bach... What's the difference? They all wrote music and you play it. Ho-hum." She is one who would definitely need to be pried out of her preference zone to listen to a piano concert. Dale, forgive my joke, but are your friends like my wife so that you need to pry them, or do you perhaps mean that you "ply" them with food and drink? wink (Hee-hee. inb4BruceD!)

Thanks for un-lurking, Dale!
--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1704191 - 06/29/11 11:10 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3839
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
I think it will be hard to get into final without big crash pieces. It is like man figure skating, no quad, no win.....The industry has moved to different dimension. So many Pro Am enter these so called amateur competitions. As my teacher said it is virtually impossible for a real amateur to be able to play those kind of pieces well, only Pro Am can do this, and most Pro Ams have piano degree(s) or went to conservatory in the past but changed their mind to pursue other things.


Exactly the analogy I was thinking of, Ronald! And my point is, could one of these (or other) contestants play a program of NON-crash pieces with such finesse and conviction that he or she could advance to the finals and win? This is a question of "what if"--an exercise in imagination, not an assessment of "what is." Can anyone here imagine it happening? What would it take for that to happen?
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1704213 - 06/29/11 11:31 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Cinnamonbear]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1472
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
I think it will be hard to get into final without big crash pieces. It is like man figure skating, no quad, no win.....The industry has moved to different dimension. So many Pro Am enter these so called amateur competitions. As my teacher said it is virtually impossible for a real amateur to be able to play those kind of pieces well, only Pro Am can do this, and most Pro Ams have piano degree(s) or went to conservatory in the past but changed their mind to pursue other things.


Exactly the analogy I was thinking of, Ronald! And my point is, could one of these (or other) contestants play a program of NON-crash pieces with such finesse and conviction that he or she could advance to the finals and win? This is a question of "what if"--an exercise in imagination, not an assessment of "what is." Can anyone here imagine it happening? What would it take for that to happen?


The non big crash pieces must be played extremely well, and needs some help from a dramatic life story. With these two ingredients, one may make to the semi final, but to advance to final or win is different story. Because there are many people who can play big crash pieces VERY well these days....not like in the early 2000.

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#1704271 - 06/29/11 12:50 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 415
Loc: Bend, Or.
I can tell you that Seth had very little time to practice before Boston this year. He went to a meeting the week before and had only touched a keyboard a couple of times. His work and family are his main priority, that has nothing to do with his "endurance". As for the Cliburn in 2007 he was unbelievably nervous, had not slept, practiced too much (Mark, Robin Green and I know the feeling!) It was also his first outing in years. Believe me he is far better off doing what he is doing (Molecular Biophysicist, Rockefeller) then having been a music major and teaching at a Jr. College. I think the time and energy one has to put into it most certainly has a great deal to do with it. People's lives change, perhaps in the future he can be more dedicated.
_________________________
Musica 71

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#1704280 - 06/29/11 01:00 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
I'm surprised this person is considered an amateur:

Angela Lee Tien

Winchester, Mass.

When Angela Lee Tien performs Tuesday, it will be for the joy of playing the piano. But to find that joy, she had to stop playing for 13 years.

Tien, 40, was 4 when she started piano lessons with her mother, who saw immediately that she had talent and put her on track to become a serious pianist.

At 9, she was performing with the Boston Pops and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. After high school, she earned a degree from Juilliard and a master's from the New England Conservatory. She studied with sought-after teachers. Her friends were musicians. Her free time was spent alone in practice rooms. Music was her whole world.

"It was just momentum," Tien says now. "I didn't really think about what else I would be doing. I just did it."

It wasn't until she'd almost reached the end of her education that Tien began to question whether she wanted to become a professional musician at all.

"I can't say there was ever really a time that I felt like, yes, I want to be doing this for myself," she says. "It was just expected of me."

So, as she finished her master's degree, she began to think about whether she wanted -- and could afford -- to spend the next several years struggling, entering competitions and trying to build a career in the cutthroat performing world. The answer was no. She'd had enough, and she walked away.

"It was a bit of rebellion" against her parents for pushing her so hard, Tien says. "I'm sure they were disappointed."

She, meanwhile, felt liberated. For several years, she didn't touch a piano at all. She married in 2000 and had three sons.

But Tien's break with the piano didn't last forever. In the summer of '09, she and her husband were buying a car and Tien struck up a conversation with the salesman, who had a degree in drama but was working at the dealership to support himself.

"It stirred something in me, reminded me of myself," Tien says.

She suddenly realized: She wanted to play again.

The next day, Tien called the New England Conservatory and enrolled in the school's continuing education program. She has been working with a teacher since then, practicing late at night after her kids go to bed.

Of course she wants to do well at the Cliburn. But ultimately, Tien says, "I want to be able to enjoy being up there, enjoy what I'm doing, enjoy the music I'm going to make."
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1704303 - 06/29/11 01:47 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: liszt85]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1472
Originally Posted By: liszt85
I'm surprised this person is considered an amateur:



Don't be surprised though, because this is the official definition of amateur according to VC Amateur Piano competition organizer:

The Van Cliburn Foundation will host its sixth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs™ May 23–29, 2011 in Fort Worth, TX. Our definition of an "amateur" is one who says he or she is an amateur...

So basically, anybody can join.

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