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#1971897 - 10/11/12 03:51 PM Re: Interest for an amateur piano competition in San Diego, CA [Re: fuzzy8balls]
Numerian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1075
We are still discussing in Chicago the idea of a two-tier competition. Most of our entrants would prefer not to prepare a third program when their expectation, or desire, is that they will not advance to the third round. Giving awards out to this subset of participants would recognize their skills and hard work in a way that cannot be recognized in a single tier structure. This has become more necessary as the amateur competitions have been attracting some very gifted pianists with performance backgrounds. These are the pianists who naturally gravitate toward the final round. They also lend credibility to the competition, in the sense that they can reliably be expected to play at a level that is nearly professional. This allowed us, for example, to draw some excitement from a global listening and viewing audience, it allowed us to broadcast the finals nationwide on WFMT, and it allowed us to mount a concerto competition at Orchestra Hall with respectable judges such as Marc-Andre Hamelin (who was very impressed, by the way, with the talented amateurs he heard).

With all that being the case....the bulk of our competitors, and the heart of the competition, are the people who will not be competing in the finals and probably don't even want to. Not only should the competition give them a chance to perform their complete program in a relaxed setting even if they do not advance from the preliminaries, the competition should award the best of these amateurs with every bit as much hoopla as the finalists receive (though perhaps not with as much cash, as this is not much of an incentive in amateur competitions).

The core of a successful competition is the organization behind it. You need more than a year of preparation, you need full time staff for the months leading up to the competition, you need someone media friendly and familiar with recital spaces, getting practice pianos available, arranging for lodging, dealing with judges, etc. Then you need many dedicated volunteers. The budget for these events starts around $15,000, including prize money. It is also essential to supplement your budget with sponsorships, which take months or even a year to line up in advance. Monthly planning meetings a year in advance are important, gradually morphing into weekly sessions as the competition approaches. At the time of the competition, you need as much military precision as possible for the organization so that everything appears seamless and competitors are allowed to concentrate on their practicing and performance, without worrying about problems in the hall or with the piano, for example. Make sure someone is around to take care of families attending, so that they don't feel lost or unwelcome. In a city as wonderful as San Diego, there will be so many vacation opportunities available that you should expect competitors and their families to want some time off from the competition to see the city.

San Diego would be a fantastic draw for the competition circuit and I think what you are trying to do Gorden is wonderful. Any sort of advice or help we can give you from Chicago, please ask - especially since we are probably not going to be seeing you again at our competition! (inside joke - first place winners like Gorden can't compete in the future, but we will be looking for an opportunity to get Gorden a radio recital before the next competition).

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#1981796 - 11/02/12 02:30 PM Re: Interest for an amateur piano competition in San Diego, CA [Re: fuzzy8balls]
sdpianomom Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/02/12
Posts: 1
How about a large-scale piano competition with various divisions, a Junior (ages 18 and under), Senior (ages 18-30) and an Amateur. I think an amateur competition by itself will fail in San Diego, but we definitely lack quality piano competitions in this county and by adding high-level categories to the competition you're more likely to get sponsors to fund this endeavor. Also, it would be nice to have a competition for US citizens/residents only.

I would define "amateur" as anyone age 30+ who does not make a majority of their income performing. So I would allow music teachers and those who have a college degree in music. Judging in the piano world is never transparent. You would typically get 3 qualified judges and let them decide who wins with all judges' decisions being final. Many times pianists are given comment sheets from the judges.

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#1981799 - 11/02/12 02:36 PM Re: Interest for an amateur piano competition in San Diego, CA [Re: sdpianomom]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19226
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: sdpianomom
I think an amateur competition by itself will fail in San Diego, but we definitely lack quality piano competitions in this county and by adding high-level categories to the competition you're more likely to get sponsors to fund this endeavor.
There must be hundreds of piano competitions in the U.S. with many of them having been around for a long time and drawing competitors from around the world. Why do you think they're lacking in quality?


Edited by pianoloverus (11/02/12 06:48 PM)

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#1981915 - 11/02/12 06:15 PM Re: Interest for an amateur piano competition in San Diego, CA [Re: fuzzy8balls]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1474
I do not think the second tier people expect monetary reward.
In a non tiered competition, these people do not get monetary reward anyway, because virtually none of them will place or even get into final. Therefore, the organizer does not need to worry about providing monetary reward. They just would like to be recognized for their hard work and talent among people alike (not to compete against ex-conservatory students or people who had dedicated most of their life to piano and later changed direction). If there are second tier people, very few I think, who, for any reasons, have the desire to compete against the top tier people, they should be allowed and should not be prevented from doing so.


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#1981994 - 11/02/12 10:14 PM Re: Interest for an amateur piano competition in San Diego, CA [Re: sdpianomom]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19648
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: sdpianomom
How about a large-scale piano competition with various divisions, a Junior (ages 18 and under), Senior (ages 18-30) and an Amateur. I think an amateur competition by itself will fail in San Diego....

It's not at all clear why you think that's so. Want to say more about it?

Are you sure you're not saying it mainly because you personally would prefer the other kind?

And let me also say, welcome! smile
That's quite a first post. You seem very knowledgeable and with strong views, and you probably do have some good basis for what you said, but I'm surprised that you would have just said such a thing without saying why. I hope you will.

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#1982078 - 11/03/12 07:46 AM Re: Interest for an amateur piano competition in San Diego, CA [Re: sdpianomom]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1474
Originally Posted By: sdpianomom
How about a large-scale piano competition with various divisions, a Junior (ages 18 and under), Senior (ages 18-30) and an Amateur. I think an amateur competition by itself will fail in San Diego, but we definitely lack quality piano competitions in this county and by adding high-level categories to the competition you're more likely to get sponsors to fund this endeavor. Also, it would be nice to have a competition for US citizens/residents only.

I would define "amateur" as anyone age 30+ who does not make a majority of their income performing. So I would allow music teachers and those who have a college degree in music. Judging in the piano world is never transparent. You would typically get 3 qualified judges and let them decide who wins with all judges' decisions being final. Many times pianists are given comment sheets from the judges.


There are so many piano competitions for 18 and under in California. For 18-30, there are so many competitions too around the world. The one that is lacking is 30 and above for amateur.

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