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#1699276 - 06/21/11 11:27 AM Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs
jazzyprof Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2648
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Sam S. posted this on the Adult Beginners Forum.

June 23 - 26

Competition website

Live webcast

I recognize a couple of PW members...musica71 and LisztAddict. No Mark_C though. cry Any other members in there?
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"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

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#1699290 - 06/21/11 11:48 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6084
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Can't wait to start watching! smile

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#1699308 - 06/21/11 12:13 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
Skorpius Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/08
Posts: 751
who are they? like what are their names
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Working On-

Deux Arabesques, Debussy


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Danse Russe from Petroushka, Stravinsky
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#1699316 - 06/21/11 12:26 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Skorpius]
jazzyprof Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2648
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Originally Posted By: Skorpius
who are they? like what are their names

musica71=Judy Darst
LisztAddict=Thang Dinh
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"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

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#1699553 - 06/21/11 08:20 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Jazzy: Thanks for the tears! ha

I'm not doing any more this year, only wanted to do the Cliburn and that's it. I decided to put it all on that. smile

But I'm planning to go up to Boston to see as much of the competition as possible -- probably Fri. & Sat. (second half of 1st round, and semi-finals).

I've looked at the list of competitors, and this field is no easier than the Cliburn. I said before the Cliburn that it looked like they could easily double-fill their finals -- same with this one, and also the semi-finals.

In fact, it might be even harder to make the semi-finals in this one, because although maybe overall the field isn't quite as strong, there are fewer semi-final slots. In the Cliburn it was 25; here, it's 12-14. And there are plenty of real good candidates.

Looking down the list, and considering just the people that I know (about 60%), I see at least 18 solid semi-finalists -- among which I include both of our people, as well as Judy's son Seth -- and there's only going to be room for about half of them. (That's enough to make us glad we're not in it!) ha

It's a tough field. As with other recent competitions, just making the 2nd round will be a great achievement, and making the finals will be awesome.

P.S. While we only have two active members in the competition, based on my experience at the Cliburn we can pretty safely say we've got at least a few lurkers among the rest of the candidates.
(Feel free to say who you are, y'all hear?)
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1699574 - 06/21/11 08:45 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6084
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Mark, what's with the Dawg Pound and something about bandwidth?

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#1699587 - 06/21/11 09:03 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Orange Soda King]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Did I skrew up the page?
If so, sorry!!
(Let me know if I did, and I'll delete the thing.)

I don't see that there's anything about "bandwidth" but I guess there might be.....

P.S. I figured I better just replace that 'thing' right away, even before hearing anything more about it, so I did -- but I'm interested to know if there was a problem.
(And of course if there still is.)


Edited by Mark_C (06/21/11 09:10 PM)
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1702113 - 06/26/11 12:17 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3991
Loc: Rockford, IL
Do we have any reports from any participants or spectators, yet? I saw the list of finalists, posted on the official website and wondered if our friends who are there have said anything about how it went for them? There's nothing posted in ABF that I could see, either.

Just wondering!
_________________________
I may not be fast,
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#1702122 - 06/26/11 12:39 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3991
Loc: Rockford, IL
BTW, MarkC, I noticed that Daniel Chow listed the Bach/Busoni-Chaconne in D min as his preliminary round piece. Is this what he played? He's in the finals! wink
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1702131 - 06/26/11 12:56 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
LisztAddict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 2896
Loc: Florida
Daniel Chow's performance of the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No 12 was really awesome!

I expect to see some ties, either two 1st prizes or two 2nd prizes. I think this final round is going to be a step or two above the recent IPCOA.

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#1702165 - 06/26/11 02:32 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
probably very unfair for me to say they don't sound very good after listening to yeol eum son...

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#1702168 - 06/26/11 02:44 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
BTW, MarkC, I noticed that Daniel Chow listed the Bach/Busoni-Chaconne in D min as his preliminary round piece. Is this what he played? He's in the finals! wink

Yeah, that would go against my "rule-of-thumb" about that piece in competitions, wouldn't it..... smile

I don't know for sure if he did play it but I assume he did. And indeed he's someone who has the tools and the style to make it work: great palette of dynamics, including on the soft end; and great control.

I consider him the clear favorite to win, without any tie.

BTW: I always root for ties, because I like giving the full honor to whoever deserves it, and there's almost always more than 1 who does. But the competitions seem to like avoiding that if they can. If they can make some reasonably clear choice, they do.
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#1702173 - 06/26/11 03:08 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Do we have any reports from any participants or spectators, yet?.....

From what I heard of the 1st round performances (about a third of the people), plus the 'talk' that I heard about the ones I didn't hear (plus what the players said themselves), I had the impression that the judges did just about as perfect a job as possible in picking the semi-finalists.

I can't say the same about picking the finalists. I mean, I agree with them on 4 out of the 6, presumably the top 4 -- which actually ain't too bad, since I suppose the main thing is to wind up with the right winners, and I think they will. But, for what it's worth, I thought one of the finalist choices, was.....how to put it gently.....a bad pick smile and one of the others, while not unreasonable, was quite puzzling. For the most part I don't want to 'name names,' but I will say who I thought should have made it but didn't.

I thought 5 of the semi-finalists were clear picks for the finals, but one of those didn't make it -- Michael Serio. I realized that he was controversial and maybe wouldn't be OK to the judges -- and he wasn't. Since it was stated that there would be "5 or 6" finalists, I thought that maybe they'd only take 5, since I felt that after the top 5, there was a tight cluster of a few other people -- and how much sense would it make to take just 1 of them, when the first 5 were clearly ahead anyway? FWIW my favorite among those others was Max Sung, although I couldn't be objective because I had a reason to be biased for him. Anyway, assuming the judges were right, I was pretty far off. I thought two of the finalists weren't even among the "2nd tier" of semi-finalists, or at best were at the bottom of that.

I realized that Michael Serio was a hard candidate to judge. The word I kept thinking as I heard him play, both for better and for worse, was outrageous. He has clear deficiencies. There's a certain crudeness, and many different kinds of imprecision. But to me he was the most interesting and individual of the players (which, in a field that includes Esfir Ross, is saying quite a bit) ha ....and according to what idea you have of Beethoven -- I mean Beethoven the person -- you could imagine that Beethoven might have played like that. Ridiculous, I know. smile But that's the feeling I had -- or, at least, that the impression created by his playing was along the lines of the impression that I imagine Beethoven's playing might have had in his time. (Michael played the 1st movement of the Waldstein.) And, BTW, for those of you who didn't hear him play, in the Scarlatti sonata that he started the round with, he added all kinds of ornaments and riffs, way beyond what we usually ever hear. I loved it -- although I have to admit that it made me laugh a few times.

I thought it was likely the judges would want him in the finals, even though that would mean they'd be overlooking deficiencies and "sins" that judges would rarely overlook -- and they didn't.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1702202 - 06/26/11 04:41 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3991
Loc: Rockford, IL
Are you still in Boston, Mark? Are you going to get to listen to the final round?

I am curious about the judging, also (as usual...). Do you think there was any of the kind of thing going on here that you described earlier this year about the Paris competition, where judges may give a "pass" of sorts to someone who has good enough chops to pull off a piece they want to hear in a successive round?

Thanks for your report, Mark! I wish I could have been there to hear everyone play!

--Andy
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I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1702268 - 06/26/11 08:43 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Did either of our members get into the semi-finals? I know Mark thought they deserved too, but I'm curious if they actually did. Congratulations are in order regardless for getting through to this apparently highly difficult amateur competition.
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Next in line:
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Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
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#1702298 - 06/26/11 10:08 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Cinnamon: No, had to leave late last night (with regrets).
About the judging: While I thought a couple of the results were odd, I didn't suspect any lack of integrity, although at least one audience member did (because of the seeming strangeness of choices).
In 'defense' of those choices: While a couple of the inclusions seemed strange, nobody who was a clear-cut pick for the finals failed to make it (as per what I said up there).

Liszt85: No, neither of our people made the semi-finals but Judy's son did.

This was a very tough field. Many people who played very well in the 1st round didn't advance.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1702337 - 06/26/11 11:26 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3991
Loc: Rockford, IL
Thanks, Mark!

Now, I'm not trying to stir up controversy where there is none, and what you say about the calibre of contestants makes me feel for the judges and the difficult job they have to do, and the white hot spotlight that is put on them in a competition, which puts as much pressure on them as it puts on the competitors (or it should)-- and I was thinking of your description (and some others that I heard) about the number of excellent performances, and it gave me the "all things being equal" picture, and made me wonder, again, what tips the judges' scale at any given moment for any given competitor. And I was remembering what you wrote about the French style of judging, where they were really looking for a varied finalist program by competitors who could obviously play what they said they could play, and since the judges wanted to hear such and such a piece, played by such and such a competitor in a future round, that helped usher the competitor through to the finals.

That idea intrigued me so much when you described it this spring, I had to wonder about it, here. I recognized many names on the Boston program from my visit to the Chicago competition last summer, and they were all very accomplished pianists, and some were very excellent musicians!

I find the whole concept of piano competitions to be rather awkward for so many reasons. Congratulations to all of the participants! I am sure there was much beautiful music to be celebrated by those performers who shared the stage. (I am still trying to make sense of the posted videos on the Boston competition web site...)

--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1702366 - 06/26/11 12:36 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
i think amateur competitions should switch a system of say "Gold Award", "Silver Award" where there can be multiple winners for each award.

e.g., for a given year, there can be 2 Gold awards handed out, 5 Silver awards, and 10 bronze awards.

so 17 medals out of a field of 54 or something. that's certainly still discriminating enough!

plus a few more special prizes. increasing the application fee a bit is probably okay--the travel costs far exceed it anyway.

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#1702502 - 06/26/11 05:03 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
In case anyone's interested: A few of the competition regulars are on the "chat," including Chris Shih.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1702555 - 06/26/11 07:19 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
....the main thing is to wind up with the right winners, and I think they will....

And indeed they did. thumb

We could argue about what the exact order of the top people should have been, and I think any order could have been considered reasonable, but I think there's little doubt that the judges got it basically right: they had the right top 3. There was an interesting debate on the "live chat," about how the distinctions among the top 3 in this event depended so much on whatever our own subjective priorities and preferences are: how much do you value lyricism, "interesting-ness" and depth, as opposed to things like execution and excitement? (We might say "technique" but I'm avoiding the word because I don't know exactly what it means ha and interestingly, I think the word was never used by anyone in that chat.)

BTW: The 'lyrical/interesting/deep' guy won.
P.S. His "technique" is real good too anyway. smile
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#1702559 - 06/26/11 07:37 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Tim Adrianson Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1123
It was a great experience to view these six finalists on LiveStream -- what a fantastic set of pianists! I was very happy that Abel won -- IMO, he's one of the most fantastic musician/pianists I've ever encountered, and I daresay that most of the folks in the BPA would say the same. The person dearest to my own heart (and, for that matter, pianistic approach) was Ali Mushtaq. I've never heard him before, but was greatly impressed with his choice of repertoire, his overall "panache", and his pianistic technique. But -- EVERYBODY was tremendous, in their various ways. I'll look forward to seeing the semi-final rounds this week -- a few people I know were in it, as well as a few others that I've never heard but have done very well in other competitions.

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#1702563 - 06/26/11 07:48 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6470
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Mark_C


Liszt85: No, neither of our people made the semi-finals but Judy's son did.

This was a very tough field. Many people who played very well in the 1st round didn't advance.


Judy is very proud of her son and I'm certain she's thrilled he made it to the semi-finals !!! thumb
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#1702713 - 06/27/11 01:40 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Tim Adrianson]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3991
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Tim Adrianson
It was a great experience to view these six finalists on LiveStream -- what a fantastic set of pianists! I was very happy that Abel won -- IMO, he's one of the most fantastic musician/pianists I've ever encountered, and I daresay that most of the folks in the BPA would say the same. The person dearest to my own heart (and, for that matter, pianistic approach) was Ali Mushtaq. I've never heard him before, but was greatly impressed with his choice of repertoire, his overall "panache", and his pianistic technique. But -- EVERYBODY was tremendous, in their various ways. I'll look forward to seeing the semi-final rounds this week -- a few people I know were in it, as well as a few others that I've never heard but have done very well in other competitions.


Me too, Tim! I really enjoy watching Abel--no theatrics, no wasted energy. His concertration is palpable. The guy sits down at the piano and gets to work, and the most amazing things come from the piano through him. (Yes. I'm a fan.) grin
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1702716 - 06/27/11 01:44 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Me too, Tim! I really enjoy watching Abel--no theatrics, no wasted energy. His concertration is palpable. The guy sits down at the piano and gets to work, and the most amazing things come from the piano through him. (Yes. I'm a fan.) grin

Did you think he should have gotten 1st in Chicago? (Just wondering -- I have no opinion on it because I didn't see/hear any of the top people there.)
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1702744 - 06/27/11 03:36 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
P.S. Another thing, perhaps of some general interest.....

One of the semi-finalists got stopped in the middle of her round (she had a couple of pieces left), because she had already exceeded the time limit (and also, as they said, because they were running late -- but I'm sure they wouldn't have done it just for that).

She pleaded, "Just more piece!" -- and, to my surprise, there was a lot of murmured support from the audience -- but the 'staff' stood firm, rightly so. IMO the audience members who wanted her to be allowed to play more just weren't thinking.

What's wrong with letting someone go over the time limit? A few things.

Most importantly, it's unfair to the other players. The more you play, the more you can show. You can do bigger pieces, or just more pieces.

It shows a lack of respect and/or lack of seriousness about the rules. I would go so far as to say it insults the competition but maybe that's a bit strong. smile

Plus.....this is kind of subtle but if you put your shoes in the mind of an audience member (so to speak) ha ....

It confuses the audience, especially if the repertoire is unfamiliar (which hers happened to be). For example, if the time limit for the round is 15 minutes, which it was, and the person has 4 pieces, which she did, you assume each piece is pretty short, or anyway that the whole thing won't be more than about 15 minutes, and you sort of 'program' your mind accordingly. The second piece was a theme and variations, and you know how those can be ha -- you might not necessarily know when the piece is over. After a while, I assumed she was already into her 3rd piece, maybe even her 4th, because she had already been playing so long. But no, it was still that same piece.

It's not nice to scramble the brains of the audience. smile
She didn't think about that, just as she hadn't thought about other aspects of it either. The staff did the right thing by making an issue of it, especially since her full program would have hugely exceeded the limit.

Although.....in a fit of ironic inconsistency, they gave her the award for "Creative Programming." ha
When someone plans a program that ignores the time limit, and when you call her on it, it doesn't make a lot of sense to give her an honor for her programming.

BTW, in the Cliburn amateur semi-finals, one of the top candidates exceeded the limit by 3 full minutes. They didn't stop him, but they didn't advance him either. I wonder if this was a factor -- he had been considered one of the 'favorites,' and still was after his semi-final playing. (His program included three pieces, two of them quite short. All he would have needed to do was omit one of them.)
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1702760 - 06/27/11 05:08 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3991
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Me too, Tim! I really enjoy watching Abel--no theatrics, no wasted energy. His concertration is palpable. The guy sits down at the piano and gets to work, and the most amazing things come from the piano through him. (Yes. I'm a fan.) grin

Did you think he should have gotten 1st in Chicago? (Just wondering -- I have no opinion on it because I didn't see/hear any of the top people there.)


Hmmm. That's a tough one, Mark! There were so many excellent performances, and, if you remember that particular discussion thread, the judging was kind of goofy. He certainly could have been awarded 1st. I remember his performances pretty well. I was most taken by the Scarlatti that he played. It was phenomenal.
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1702825 - 06/27/11 08:21 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Tim Adrianson Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1123
Agree with CB -- he certainly COULD have gotten first, although I thought it was doubtful with his choice of the Boulez Sonata (that's too cerebral) in the final round. I heard Victoria Bragin all three rounds, and thought she deserved her 1st place award: all her performances were technically and musically very satisfying, and she played in a number of differing styles (Beethoven 31/3; Bartok Improvisations; Debussy Feux d'Artifice; Chopin Sonata No 3). By contrast, the Paganini Variations were IMO an especially good final round choice, and particularly for him: it gave him a chance to showcase his amazing clarity and lyricism in a work that sorely needs those specific attributes to come off successfully.

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#1702842 - 06/27/11 08:40 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Tim Adrianson Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1123
Mark, I agree with you: I can't sympathize much with competitors whose program runs 3 - 4 minutes over the allotted time frame. It isn't that hard to determine approximate program length, and not to do so at best exhibits a competitor's cluelessness, and at worst his/her contempt for guidelines -- and, after all, there is a very common-sense, understandable reason for having this guideline; it's not like it's an arbitrary conceit on the part of the organizers. It is, of course, an embarrassment to be asked to stop -- but, then, don't put yourself in a position where that could happen.

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#1703052 - 06/27/11 03:14 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Tim Adrianson]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Thanks, Tim.
And BTW, she would have gone over the time limit even more than what you said. A lot more.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1703293 - 06/27/11 11:03 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 424
Loc: Bend, Or.
I just got home today after getting up at 4.00 A.M eastern time. To me the finals were more exciting than the Cliburn Amateur. Daniel Chow was amazing....but then as others played it seemed they were as well. WHO can win this thing?? The final judging suited me just fine, Abel brought down the house! We also heard that he had only worked on the Paganini Variations (both books) for 3 months?? Is that possible? If it is true he is REALLY a genius! My son did make the semi's which was a real accomplishment as he had been at a meeting in Vermont since Sunday and was unable to practice except for a couple of times on a keyboard. It was a learning experience for me. I was able to talk to all 5 judges and got some conflicting opinions...but know that I must take more of a risk in the preliminary and play at least something that is more difficult. Quit babying myself. I did not much care for the piano, very dead treble and large bass, just not singing. One really had to work to bring out the top. It rained and was cool the whole time, very humid of course. I do wish perhaps the competitors could donate a few bucks and have a refreshment table in the C. Lounge. There was nothing, no water, not a cracker or a grape anywhere to be seen. After the Cliburn where they practically have a banquet 24-7 it was noticeable.
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#1703354 - 06/28/11 01:35 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Mark_C Offline
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P.S. To Andy (CinnamonBear): About the judging in the Paris competition (which you used as a comparison): I guess that the way you described it reflects what you took from our earlier discussion, but I better point out that what you said in those two posts wasn't really how I described it. (Also you make it sound kind of bad. I don't view it as bad, and I certainly didn't mean to convey an impression that it is.) I don't think it's worth my trying here to repeat or clarify what I did say, but for anyone who's interested, here's a link.
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#1703368 - 06/28/11 02:04 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
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If I may ask something...

Those people performing on the 'amateur' piano competitions are VERY good in my opinion. I mean they can play some monstrous works, with amazing skills and our own Mark and Ken and others prove that (had absolutely no time to watch the recent competitions, so I'm referring to the Chilburn one... :-/ Sorry about that, this is why I was semi-lost as well).

My question is twofold:

1. What defines an 'amateur' from a 'professional'? It can't be just skills. I know it's been answered somewhere before, but I can't really find it in the hundred pages. Is it the 'make a living out of it'? Is it the 'what credentials you hold'? Is it something else? I mean could I take part in the amateur competitions and fail rightfully so? grin

2. For those who enter such competitions. I guess that part of the reason is the sheer fun on entering a competition. I actually love that thrilling sensation. It's also an opportunity to show off. But if someone is attempting to enter the 'pro' world of piano music, are you sure that this is the right way to go about it? By labeling yourself as an 'amateur'?

Sorry if these questions have been answered before, I haven't been online constantly over the past couple of weeks and I'm still fairly busy, so apologies in advance (and as always for my constant tpyos! grin)

EDIT: So, ok... there are two questions and not one twofold question... Big deal! :P (thank God I'm not an English teacher bouahahahaha)


Edited by Nikolas (06/28/11 02:07 AM)
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#1703370 - 06/28/11 02:12 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Nikolas]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nikolas
If I may ask something...

1. What defines an 'amateur' from a 'professional'?....

How about we let RonaldSteinway tackle this..... ha
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#1703371 - 06/28/11 02:14 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
liszt85 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
If I may ask something...

1. What defines an 'amateur' from a 'professional'?....

How about we let RonaldSteinway tackle this..... ha


Is he still around? Haven't heard from him in a long time..
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#1703379 - 06/28/11 02:28 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Nikolas Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
If I may ask something...

1. What defines an 'amateur' from a 'professional'?....

How about we let RonaldSteinway tackle this..... ha
Isn't he more interested about what talent is, and so on? :P hehe...
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#1703394 - 06/28/11 04:06 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Cinnamonbear Offline
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Musica71, thanks so much for that report!

MarkC, Sorry! I didn't mean to misconstrue what you said. I don't think the Paris judging idea is bad, per se, as long as everyone understands that that is how it is done. I found your description of the way things work in that other thread to be very interesting and thought provoking. I enjoyed considering the cultural differences that would generate that kind of judging model. I suppose I was trying to fit a round peg into a square hole by wondering if anything of that sort ever comes into play in competitions over here.
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#1703444 - 06/28/11 07:37 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: liszt85]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Originally Posted By: liszt85
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
If I may ask something...

1. What defines an 'amateur' from a 'professional'?....

How about we let RonaldSteinway tackle this..... ha


Is he still around? Haven't heard from him in a long time..


You bet, I am still around! ha

This is my definition of amateur vs professional. Not making money from playing piano is not the only criteria. To me, we have to use one more criterion which is schooling. Why? Because schooling defines the intention (the real substantive test) of a person. If a person went to get a piano performance degree, one makes a clear statement that he/she has/had the intention to make money from piano related matters.Virtually nobody goes to pursue a degree just for fun. Getting into music school requires years of preparation, it is not just one or two years. Even more for big schools, Juilliard etc, it requires big investment too. You can see here, that the intent is so obvious. Does this mean that people who have piano degree play better than non piano degree people? Of course not, but very high percentage of these people do play better than non piano degree people, as we can see in most amateur piano competitions. I look at the list of Boston Amateur, the 5 of the 6 finalists got accepted to conservatories, some finished and some went half way. I did not watch the competition so I did not know how they play.

Daniel Chow = Master Degree
Carl = Two years in NEC
Ali = one year in Oberlin
Fischer = some kind of German conservatory
Lee = did not go to piano school (this is ok to be an amateur)
Abel = has degree


People like you, Mark Cannon (MC) are real amateurs. You play because you love to play piano. By the way, it was a big accomplishment for MC (a non degree person) to break the first round of Van Cliburn...Congrat.

Nikolas, you should compete in the amateur competitions too. Don't think that you can win easily. You will be competing against people at your level, they just do not make money from playing piano like you.

So far only Houston Chopin Society Competition that I view as a real amateur piano competition. We need more like this.....

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#1703504 - 06/28/11 09:52 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
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Ron, you touch on a point that has been an area of concern since the regional Amateur competitions began to take hold -- the presence of "semi-Professionals" with previous advanced training in Piano performance procuring the bulk of the semi-Final and all of the Final slots, at the expense of the rest of the contestants. There are a lot of these people around, and new ones show up at each Competition. The overall negative effect is to weight virtuosic choices inordinately over pianistic literature of more moderate demand.
Berlin is the one Competition I've seen that addresses this
to some extent: they have two tiers at which one can enter, one more modest than the other in terms of technical mastery. This presupposes that you have enough interested parties in each tier to make that work. Berlin did in 2010, and to me it looks like the Cliburn and Boston now have a large enough pool of interested parties in both "categories" to aspire to this approach. I'm very leery of limiting entries based on "too much" education: seems overly negative to me, and frankly I appreciate the excellence of the "semi-Professionals".

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#1703522 - 06/28/11 10:21 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Tim Adrianson]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Originally Posted By: Tim Adrianson
I'm very leery of limiting entries based on "too much" education: seems overly negative to me, and frankly I appreciate the excellence of the "semi-Professionals".


Tim,

Why is it overly negative? I think it is a more objective criterion. If we use making a living from piano as the criterion, it will allow some people to take advantage of this status, for example a rich wife who went to Juilliard, she does not make money from piano playing, but she has a lot of time to practice, take lesson from top notch concert pianis, play with chamber music orchestra etc. By using schooling as one of the criteria, it will eliminate this type of contestant from competing in the non degree category.

I totally agree with you regarding the two categories approach in an amateur piano competition. People with degree and people without degree. The non degree people can join the degree category if they want to, but not the other way around. I think this will solve the problem.


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#1703525 - 06/28/11 10:29 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Tim Adrianson]
Mark_C Offline
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Each different organization addresses it their own way, with somewhat differing definitions, and to me, it's all mostly fine, and if I don't like how an organization defines it, I just don't go there. The main thing that IMO throws it off is if they don't make the bottom age requirement high enough; just about anything else I can take (within reason), but not that.

The Cliburn, at its first amateur competition, said you needed to be at least 30. They seemed immediately to realize that 30 was too young, and so they made it 35 the next year, and ever since. But oddly, most of the competitions that have followed in their footsteps have let you be even younger than 30, sometimes as young as 21. To me, that's ridiculous. How can someone be an "amateur" musician when they're too young to have established anything as a career? Plus, many of those very young contestants are people who are fresh out of a conservatory or piano-major program. The problem isn't that these young people dominate the later rounds and the prizes; they don't. It's that their presence, in subtle ways, changes the atmosphere for everybody. The emphasis tilts from "let's see what everybody can do" to "how 'correctly' do they play," and what you get (IMO) is something of a schoolchild environment. (I'm not talking now about age, I'm talking about emphasis.)

About the "separate categories" thing: I would hate for there to be more competitions that do that, and I don't think I'd ever go to one. I pray that the Cliburn, at least, never does it.
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#1703536 - 06/28/11 10:49 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C

About the "separate categories" thing: I would hate for there to be more competitions that do that, and I don't think I'd ever go to one. I pray that the Cliburn, at least, never does it.


If we did not win in open amateur (semi-professional) competitions, we can say that there are so many degree people (semi-professionals). But if there are two categories, we cannot use that excuse anymore...... ha

The only way is to still join the degree category.....

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#1703542 - 06/28/11 10:58 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
.....The only way is to still join the degree category.....

A couple of problems:

-- What if they just "put" you in categories? One competition seemed to be planning on doing that (before they fortunately scrapped the whole idea).

And more importantly, regardless of that:
-- Having separate categories dilutes the event.

Each organization and each event should just keep deciding what their definition of amateur is, and have a single focused competition with that definition.

And besides, why just 2 categories?
If you want to start breaking it down, there are at least 3.

How do I know?
Because arguably I'm not clearly in either of the two categories y'all seem to be talking about. I'm in between.

And if 3, why not 4? smile
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#1703555 - 06/28/11 11:36 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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It can be broken down to any numbers of categories (like little kid piano competitions).

1. Degree --> Bachelor and drop out or Master or DMA
2. Non degree --> 0 to 5 years experience, 5 to 10 years, 15 to eternity etc

Kidding aside, in practicality, due to time and fund constraints, I think two categories is reasonable. They cannot put a person like you who do not a degree in music to be in the degree category, but you can request to be moved from non degree to degree category if you want to.


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#1703558 - 06/28/11 11:47 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
musica71 Offline
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Regarding Abel in Boston last year, Tim Adrianson hit the nail on the head...his repertoire in the final round was insane (to me anyway). He is superb!
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#1703561 - 06/28/11 11:51 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
.....I think two categories is reasonable. They cannot put a person like you who do not a degree in music to be in the degree category, but you can request to be moved from non degree to degree category if you want to.

If there were a "non-degree" category and some of the contestants were people like me, I guarantee you it wouldn't be long before there would be complaints about that!

Many people would feel competitors who don't have a piano degree but who have studied seriously most of their lives and have done a lot of serious public performing aren't "real" amateurs either and have an unfair advantage over people who fit the more usual concept.
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#1703562 - 06/28/11 11:53 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: musica71]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Originally Posted By: musica71
Regarding Abel in Boston last year, Tim Adrianson hit the nail on the head...his repertoire in the final round was insane (to me anyway). He is superb!


He has an amazing brain.....the others are also very very smart people.

Too bad, I did not watch the competition. Did they save the performances somewhere?

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#1703564 - 06/28/11 11:55 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Offline
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(BTW I think she meant Chicago)
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#1703571 - 06/28/11 12:17 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
.....I think two categories is reasonable. They cannot put a person like you who do not a degree in music to be in the degree category, but you can request to be moved from non degree to degree category if you want to.

If there were a "non-degree" category and some of the contestants were people like me, I guarantee you it wouldn't be long before there would be complaints about that!

Many people would feel competitors who don't have a piano degree but who have studied seriously most of their lives and have done a lot of serious public performing aren't "real" amateurs either and have an unfair advantage over people who fit the more usual concept.


People cannot complain regarding the length of the study.
I am not sure how old you are, of course, you must have learned for awhile. But the quality of your piano study cannot be objectively measured.

We can ignore public performances, because very few people who have this experience, may be only you, Ricker Choi, and Chris. On the other hand, piano degree people have many public performances experiences.

Again, degree people have much more solid background than MOST of non degree people. Therefore, they should be in different category. In very few occasion do non degree people can beat degree people as had been proved from many amateur competitions. Christopher Shih can be one of the very very few non degree person who won amateur piano competitions. Is it a surprise, NO....he is good in anything....so he is not a typical person that we can use as a sample for our discussion.

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#1703598 - 06/28/11 01:05 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
....We can ignore public performances, because very few people who have this experience, may be only you, Ricker Choi, and Chris....

Well you sure chucked that off pretty easily. ha

No, you can't ignore that, if you want to be serious about suggesting new approaches for the competitions, among other reasons because there are more people of this type than you think.

And you also disposed pretty offhandedly with the issue of how seriously people have studied music and piano. If you're going to ignore whatever you feel like, then sure, things become very simple. smile
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#1703658 - 06/28/11 03:27 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
....We can ignore public performances, because very few people who have this experience, may be only you, Ricker Choi, and Chris....

Well you sure chucked that off pretty easily. ha

No, you can't ignore that, if you want to be serious about suggesting new approaches for the competitions, among other reasons because there are more people of this type than you think.

And you also disposed pretty offhandedly with the issue of how seriously people have studied music and piano. If you're going to ignore whatever you feel like, then sure, things become very simple. smile


We can use you as a sample to build the model for a real amateur competition. You are basically close to the top tier of real amateur. People like Ricker or Chris are not common, therefore, we can ignore these two for building the competition rules. Even a real amateur like you is not common, very few who can reach your playing level. We should not worry about people who do not represent the population like you, Ricker, or Chris, especially the last two. If you think every single possible permutations, you will never come up with rules. More over if we still allow the real amateur compete in the degree class, it will be more exciting for those amateurs who are able to compete against semi-professional. Therefore, people like you who are on the top of non degree category can join the degree category if you want more challenge. Or if you want to win, you can just stay with other real amateurs.

I really do not see what makes you object to this proposed format. It allows you to choose which category you want to compete. But it will prevent people with Doctorate degree from Moscow Conservatory to compete against somebody who just took lesson once a week between the age of 8 to 15, or even worse people who started late in their life. In addition, it is not fun to watch a fluctuation of quality in a competition. Mr. X graduated from Juilliard plays like a concert pianist, and then the next Mr. Y who took piano lesson once a week when he grew up plays at 10 levels below Mr. X's playing. Unless, people enjoy seeing somebody getting embarrassed caused by this kind of thing. I do not think it is a fair game.

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#1703664 - 06/28/11 03:51 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
musica71 Offline
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Regarding Abel in the previous post..yes I did mean in Chicago, that weird contemporary thing which of course he played perfectly I'm sure, but I don't know the piece (nor do I wish to). Now regarding this discussion of Competitions and rules, maybe we should have a Competition for people that aren't very good (just kidding) and call it the Losers Competition, the Lower Level Competition or the Bring your Earplugs Competition. ? ? Maybe it should be like some little kids summer camp game where everyone gets a gold sticker. A Competition is a COMPETITION and there are many good pianists regardless of degree or not. Just buck up and do it! After you have done this a few years you recognize names. If you don't want to compete against a really outstanding Pro-Am then don't enter, or withdraw. Isn't every Competition a learning experience anyway, no matter if you advance or bomb out or whatever??
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#1703668 - 06/28/11 04:02 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: musica71]
Cinnamonbear Offline
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Originally Posted By: musica71
Regarding Abel in the previous post..yes I did mean in Chicago, that weird contemporary thing which of course he played perfectly I'm sure, but I don't know the piece (nor do I wish to). Now regarding this discussion of Competitions and rules, maybe we should have a Competition for people that aren't very good (just kidding) and call it the Losers Competition, the Lower Level Competition or the Bring your Earplugs Competition. ? ? Maybe it should be like some little kids summer camp game where everyone gets a gold sticker. A Competition is a COMPETITION and there are many good pianists regardless of degree or not. Just buck up and do it! After you have done this a few years you recognize names. If you don't want to compete against a really outstanding Pro-Am then don't enter, or withdraw. Isn't every Competition a learning experience anyway, no matter if you advance or bomb out or whatever??


Steel sharpens steel! You rock, musica71! (You just gained another fan--for sheer attitude! grin )
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#1703669 - 06/28/11 04:05 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Lingyis Offline
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Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
....We can ignore public performances, because very few people who have this experience, may be only you, Ricker Choi, and Chris....

Well you sure chucked that off pretty easily. ha

No, you can't ignore that, if you want to be serious about suggesting new approaches for the competitions, among other reasons because there are more people of this type than you think.

And you also disposed pretty offhandedly with the issue of how seriously people have studied music and piano. If you're going to ignore whatever you feel like, then sure, things become very simple. smile


We can use you as a sample to build the model for a real amateur competition. You are basically close to the top tier of real amateur. People like Ricker or Chris are not common, therefore, we can ignore these two for building the competition rules. Even a real amateur like you is not common, very few who can reach your playing level. We should not worry about people who do not represent the population like you, Ricker, or Chris, especially the last two. If you think every single possible permutations, you will never come up with rules. More over if we still allow the real amateur compete in the degree class, it will be more exciting for those amateurs who are able to compete against semi-professional. Therefore, people like you who are on the top of non degree category can join the degree category if you want more challenge. Or if you want to win, you can just stay with other real amateurs.

I really do not see what makes you object to this proposed format. It allows you to choose which category you want to compete. But it will prevent people with Doctorate degree from Moscow Conservatory to compete against somebody who just took lesson once a week between the age of 8 to 15, or even worse people who started late in their life. In addition, it is not fun to watch a fluctuation of quality in a competition. Mr. X graduated from Juilliard plays like a concert pianist, and then the next Mr. Y who took piano lesson once a week when he grew up plays at 10 levels below Mr. X's playing. Unless, people enjoy seeing somebody getting embarrassed caused by this kind of thing. I do not think it is a fair game.


wow... i think people forget the spirit of an AMATEUR competition is to give people chances to perform. stratification has its own set of issues as well (such as need for further stratification, a more need for "vetting", audience attendance, perceived complexity, higher costs, etc). i think while of course everybody wants to do well, i think it's a bad thing if everybody is in it to win it.

if the purpose of stratification is so that some people in their "weight class" can win, then a much more simple solution is simply create more prizes, like a number of special prices like "Best Pianist without Music Degree" or something. os like the Gold/Silver/Bronze award system i mentioned earlier. that way it "keeps everybody happy".

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#1703671 - 06/28/11 04:06 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: musica71]
DaleC Offline
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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

Kidding aside ..... it's wonderful to be in such distinguished company, meaning the company of so-called semi-professionals. 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.

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#1703673 - 06/28/11 04:10 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: musica71]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Originally Posted By: musica71
Regarding Abel in the previous post..yes I did mean in Chicago, that weird contemporary thing which of course he played perfectly I'm sure, but I don't know the piece (nor do I wish to). Now regarding this discussion of Competitions and rules, maybe we should have a Competition for people that aren't very good (just kidding) and call it the Losers Competition, the Lower Level Competition or the Bring your Earplugs Competition. ? ? Maybe it should be like some little kids summer camp game where everyone gets a gold sticker. A Competition is a COMPETITION and there are many good pianists regardless of degree or not. Just buck up and do it! After you have done this a few years you recognize names. If you don't want to compete against a really outstanding Pro-Am then don't enter, or withdraw. Isn't every Competition a learning experience anyway, no matter if you advance or bomb out or whatever??


Why don't they just open the professional piano competitions for all ages then. Why do we have amateur piano competitions then? Why not just a piano competition. Because to make the activity fun when you compete against people from the same level. Yet, if these real amateurs wants to compete against Pro Am, they should be allowed.

By the way, do you know that many of the top tier amateur pianists (Pro Am as you say) actually do not like to listen or see many of these not so good pianists compete in amateur competitions. Of course, they will not tell in front of our faces. ha

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#1703679 - 06/28/11 04:15 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: DaleC]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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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

Kidding aside ..... it's wonderful to be in such distinguished company, meaning the company of so-called semi-professionals. 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.


Bjorn Borg plays for fun these days, he does not compete in amateur tennis competitions.

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#1703682 - 06/28/11 04:18 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Lingyis]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Originally Posted By: Lingyis

if the purpose of stratification is so that some people in their "weight class" can win, then a much more simple solution is simply create more prizes, like a number of special prices like "Best Pianist without Music Degree" or something. os like the Gold/Silver/Bronze award system i mentioned earlier. that way it "keeps everybody happy".



I think it is an excellent idea....no special arrangement is needed.

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#1703692 - 06/28/11 04:33 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
liszt85 Offline
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How about Professional, Semi-Professional and Amateur categories? So the people who attended a top conservatory (whether that person finished or not) should automatically be assigned to the semi-professional category. People who attended lower ranked (since there is no other way to assign people to categories) universities for music may choose either the semi-professional or the amateur categories (I agree that this is extremely crude but this is just off the top of my head, better ideas might come up later). The trouble with having people compete in amateur competitions, who went to NEC, Oberlin, Julliard, Curtis, etc but didn't finish, is the issue of unfairness. Like RS said, they went to these places fully intending to be serious pianists. They were good enough already (at the age of 18-20 or whatever) to get into Curtis. They probably had the best teachers and facilities up until then (which is why they were good enough to get into these conservatories in the first place). So what really is the purpose of an amateur competition? It is for people who do not make a living out of playing the piano alright but that's just what the current rules state.. what really is the objective behind all this? I believe it is basically meant to encourage people who are full time professionals in other fields but find the time somehow to study the piano. They manage to squeeze in an hour or so everyday out of their busy lives to spend time on the piano. These Curtis folks who are now professionals in other fields have had most of their technique and essentials nailed by the time they were 20. Even if they spent just 10 minutes per day on the piano since then, it would still be an unfair competition if their competitors are people who never had the chance to study piano full time and are still figuring out their technique, etc under not the very best teachers money can buy (again this is statistically speaking.. I'm sure there are people, including people like Mark, who have excellent teachers but I'm assuming that many don't).
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#1703712 - 06/28/11 05:24 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: liszt85]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Originally Posted By: liszt85
How about Professional, Semi-Professional and Amateur categories? So the people who attended a top conservatory (whether that person finished or not) should automatically be assigned to the semi-professional category. People who attended lower ranked (since there is no other way to assign people to categories) universities for music may choose either the semi-professional or the amateur categories (I agree that this is extremely crude but this is just off the top of my head, better ideas might come up later). The trouble with having people compete in amateur competitions, who went to NEC, Oberlin, Julliard, Curtis, etc but didn't finish, is the issue of unfairness. Like RS said, they went to these places fully intending to be serious pianists. They were good enough already (at the age of 18-20 or whatever) to get into Curtis. They probably had the best teachers and facilities up until then (which is why they were good enough to get into these conservatories in the first place). So what really is the purpose of an amateur competition? It is for people who do not make a living out of playing the piano alright but that's just what the current rules state.. what really is the objective behind all this? I believe it is basically meant to encourage people who are full time professionals in other fields but find the time somehow to study the piano. They manage to squeeze in an hour or so everyday out of their busy lives to spend time on the piano. These Curtis folks who are now professionals in other fields have had most of their technique and essentials nailed by the time they were 20. Even if they spent just 10 minutes per day on the piano since then, it would still be an unfair competition if their competitors are people who never had the chance to study piano full time and are still figuring out their technique, etc under not the very best teachers money can buy (again this is statistically speaking.. I'm sure there are people, including people like Mark, who have excellent teachers but I'm assuming that many don't).


+1. There are people like Mark, and others, but not many, so it is ignorable.

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#1703716 - 06/28/11 05:27 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
DaleC Offline
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Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
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

Kidding aside ..... it's wonderful to be in such distinguished company, meaning the company of so-called semi-professionals. 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.


Bjorn Borg plays for fun these days, he does not compete in amateur tennis competitions.


Do you know of any well-known, former professional/concertizing pianists who are past their prime and compete in amateur competitions?

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#1703728 - 06/28/11 05:43 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
musica71 Offline
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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 Online   content
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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 Online   content
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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
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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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#1703884 - 06/28/11 10:49 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: DaleC]
Mark_C Offline
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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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#1703892 - 06/28/11 11:01 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Lingyis Offline
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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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#1703905 - 06/28/11 11:12 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Lingyis]
Mark_C Offline
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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
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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
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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
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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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#1703981 - 06/29/11 01:05 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: musica71]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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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
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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.

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#1704103 - 06/29/11 08:50 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Lingyis]
DaleC Offline
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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 Online   content
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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 Offline
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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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#1704147 - 06/29/11 09:51 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Offline
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Ronald: Your analysis of Seth is completely wrong.
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#1704151 - 06/29/11 09:56 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: musica71]
Tim Adrianson Online   content
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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
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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 Offline
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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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#1704156 - 06/29/11 10:04 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Offline
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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.
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#1704161 - 06/29/11 10:12 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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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
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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
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Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3991
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
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Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1510
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
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Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3991
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: 3991
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: 1510
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: 424
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
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Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1510
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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#1704311 - 06/29/11 01:57 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
Tim Adrianson Online   content
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Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1123
Mark, I think you're correct in stating that limited repertoire has not in fact been a problem in these Competitions to date. I guess I'm more antsy about the threat of this happening more in future Competitions. I tend to agree with RonaldS that to advance to a Final round now, one must program a "big Crash" piece to prove one's mettle, and this of course has to programmed in a Preliminary or SemiFinal round -- thus indirectly limiting the literature choices. And the judges in general haven't helped -- as you indicated, and I agree, programming Scarlatti, Bach, and Schubert is just the kiss of death for potential advancement. So I continue to plump for some enrichment of "non-virtuosic" incentives.

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#1704360 - 06/29/11 03:22 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: RonaldSteinway]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
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.


What I meant was, I'm surprised that they came up with a definition that allows people like these to participate in amateur competitions. The term "amateur" is a redefined term when it comes to piano competitions. It isn't used in the usual sense of the word.
_________________________
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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#1704388 - 06/29/11 04:01 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: liszt85]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
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.


What I meant was, I'm surprised that they came up with a definition that allows people like these to participate in amateur competitions. The term "amateur" is a redefined term when it comes to piano competitions. It isn't used in the usual sense of the word.


Well, for many dozens of years, the Olympics are reserved for "amateurs", not professionals.

Which obviously translates into many medals for countries like Soviet Union and East Germany.

Even today, many athletes are technically "amateurs", not professionals.

And surely, they are world-class.

So no, I don't think it's reserved for just piano.

You can be an amateur and still be the best in the world at something.

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#1704437 - 06/29/11 05:14 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Cinnamonbear]
DaleC Offline
Full Member

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


Good catch!! Definitely "ply". "Pry" conjures up all sorts of awkward images. smile

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#1704447 - 06/29/11 05:35 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
DaleC Offline
Full Member

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


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


We met in the aisle of the auditorium, I think just before they announced the finalists. I introduced myself to you and your wife. I mentioned your thread re. two wonderful measures in the 4th Ballade and our brief exchange here on PW. Does that help? There was a lot going on that evening, so no worries that you don't remember. I also think I remember you from a Leschetizky student-artist recital at Klavierhaus in NYC in Feb 2008 (or 2007). Did you play Scriabin in that event?

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#1704521 - 06/29/11 07:41 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: DaleC]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Yes, I did play the Scriabin at that thing (it was Jan. '08). And actually I did remember all that you just added about when and how we met at the Cliburn -- I remembered it vividly. But I was begging for an extra hint, however tiny it might be....I think that's all that it would take. smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1704577 - 06/29/11 09:24 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
DaleC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 41
Loc: US
Apologies .... I thought you didn't remember the conversation. I'm Martha.

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#1704581 - 06/29/11 09:29 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: DaleC]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
THANK YOU!!!! thumb

I absolutely did remember having met you (I mean the actual person that you are) but, what threw me off from realizing that you were "Dale" is that I wrongly assumed Dale must be a male! (You don't have to tell me that Dale is also a woman's name, nor that user names don't necessarily have anything to do with who the person is.)

BTW: You extremely underrated your playing in the earlier post! You are terrific.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1704610 - 06/29/11 10:14 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Mark_C]
DaleC Offline
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Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 41
Loc: US
You're kind. Thanks.

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#1704611 - 06/29/11 10:14 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: Tim Adrianson]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Tim Adrianson
....I tend to agree with RonaldS that to advance to a Final round now, one must program a "big Crash" piece to prove one's mettle....

I don't agree at all.

I can see how the impression came about: those are the pieces that are played by MOST of the people who do advance furthest. But IMO it's not because you have to; it's that the more subtle pieces require more subtle ability -- which is rarer. For example, Clark Griffith has advanced very nicely in two Cliburn competitions without "big crash" pieces.

A few years ago, there was a somewhat-well-known instance (I'm going to try to avoid saying who) where someone who played a Mozart sonata in the semi-final of one of the "major" amateur competitions bitched about how maybe it was a mistake to play the piece because you can't make it with that -- obviously thinking/assuming that there was nothing wrong with the performance and that in fact it was excellent. IMO (and in the view of at least some others who were there) the person was very mistaken -- but often such stories get around whether they're true or not. If the performance of the Mozart sonata had been excellent, the person would have had as good a chance as anyone to advance further.

Maybe another way of putting this is that stuff like Mozart is just HARDER. This is often said, and is perhaps viewed by many as being silly. But IMO it's completely true. The music requires a finer and more subtle ability, and it exposes flaws more starkly.

Oh.....in case you're wondering, what about non-"big-crash" pieces by Romantic or modern composers? Maybe I don't know exactly what y'all mean by "big-crash".....I assume you mean pieces that are technically impressive. So, what about Romantic pieces that aren't technically impressive (like, for example, Schumann's Arabesque)? For the most part, those just don't give as much opportunity to show what one can do -- and that would be the problem with them.

But a non "big crash" piece by Mozart?? Play it, nail it, and I can just about promise that you'll do great in these competitions. (Chris Shih did -- Mozart's Sonata in D, K. 311, was what got him into the finals in his first amateur competition.)

P.S. I also ought to mention.....people who play big-crash pieces with nothing but "big-crash" don't fare well in the competitions, except in events that have a weak field, which is becoming rarer and rarer.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1704647 - 06/29/11 11:33 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 424
Loc: Bend, Or.
We can also point out Jane Gibson King at the Cliburn. What lovely playing of non-show off pieces!
_________________________
Musica 71

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#1704651 - 06/29/11 11:45 PM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Among the pieces that I am learning currently, the Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No 2 is what I have most difficulty with. That melody line is just so beautiful and I cannot play it as beautifully as I hear it in my head. Its just so very hard to me. The faster pieces on my current list seem so much easier to play (and match with what I hear in my head). So somehow I think Mark is right about this..I don't know how judges view this issue as ultimately it is up to them. I would also judge someone more critically if they were playing a Bach Prelude and Fugue than if they were playing a Chopin Nocturne or a Prelude (say one of the more difficult ones). I don't know why, but there's something about Bach that immediately makes you feel right (if its played right) and turns you right off (if its not played right). A Chopin Prelude on the other hand seems like it could be played in so many ways that could all be pleasing in their own ways..

Similarly a Mozart Sonata seems to have a more restricted number of "right" ways to play it.. I can't explain it though and I don't know if this is perceived by other people as well.

So I imagine an equivalent amount of technique is involved in playing a Bach Prelude and Fugue and a Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody. Technique for me encompasses musicality too. I'm not saying you need to be less musical to be able to play a Hungarian Rhapsody well but that you need a very large amount of it to be able to play a Bach Prelude and Fugue and impress people with it. That is actually probably why people don't do very well with these choices in competitions. It might not be due to a bias on the part of the judges. They simply might not be good enough to pull off a Bach or a Mozart to advance to the next stage. They might stand a better chance if they played some Chopin instead (not that Chopin's easy :D).
_________________________
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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#1704665 - 06/30/11 12:02 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: jazzyprof]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
Everybody should play to their strengths; but if the discussion is all about "big crash" pieces and "musically interesting" pieces, why not play a "big crash + musically interesting" piece? It's not like they're mutually exclusive.

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#1704670 - 06/30/11 12:08 AM Re: Boston International Piano Competition for Amateurs [Re: liszt85]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Among the pieces that I am learning currently, the Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No 2 is what I have most difficulty with. That melody line is just so beautiful and I cannot play it as beautifully as I hear it in my head. Its just so very hard to me. The faster pieces on my current list seem so much easier to play (and match with what I hear in my head)....I don't know how judges view this issue as ultimately it is up to them. I would also judge someone more critically if they were playing a Bach Prelude and Fugue than if they were playing a Chopin Nocturne or a Prelude (say one of the more difficult ones). I don't know why, but there's something about Bach that immediately makes you feel right (if its played right) and turns you right off (if its not played right). A Chopin Prelude on the other hand seems like it could be played in so many ways that could all be pleasing in their own ways..

Similarly a Mozart Sonata seems to have a more restricted number of "right" ways to play it.. I can't explain it though and I don't know if this is perceived by other people as well.

So I imagine an equivalent amount of technique is involved in playing a Bach Prelude and Fugue and a Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody. Technique for me encompasses musicality too. I'm not saying you need to be less musical to be able to play a Hungarian Rhapsody well but that you need a very large amount of it to be able to play a Bach Prelude and Fugue and impress people with it. That is actually probably why people don't do very well with these choices in competitions. It might not be due to a bias on the part of the judges. They simply might not be good enough to pull off a Bach or a Mozart to advance to the next stage. They might stand a better chance if they played some Chopin instead (not that Chopin's easy :D).

^^ nailed it ^^
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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