COVID-19 delayed Chopin piano competition opens in Poland

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A gala concert opens the 18th edition of the prestigious Frédéric Chopin international piano competition which has been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic

The contest from October 2 to 23 was scheduled for October 2020, but authorities postponed the popular event expecting social distancing requirements to prohibit the usual crowds of fans from attending auditions at the National Philharmonic Hall of Fame. Warsaw.

The competition in which only Chopin’s works are performed is renowned for launching global careers for its winners and finalists. The winner receives a gold medal and a prize of 40,000 euros ($ 45,000) and prestigious recording and concert contracts. The announcement of the winner is expected on October 20.

Concerts for 87 participants from around the world – from South Korea to the United States – begin Sunday morning with a performance by Xuanyi Mao from China.

Former laureates include Argentina’s Martha Argerich, American Garrick Ohlsson, Polish Krystian Zimerman and Artur Blechacz and South Korean Seong-Jin Cho.

Saturday’s inaugural concert features Cho and other past finalists – Yulianna Avdeeva, Philippe Giusiano, Kevin Kenner and Dang Thai Son – in piano works by Johan Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven and Robert Schumann.

The first edition took place in 1927 and then every five years, but World War II forced a postponement of the 4th edition until 1949.

Chopin, Poland’s best known and most beloved classical composer and pianist, was born in 1810 in Zelazowa Wola near Warsaw to a Polish mother and a French father. He left Poland at the age of 19 to deepen his musical training in Vienna and then in Paris, where he settled, composed, gave concerts and taught the piano. He died in Paris in 1849 and is buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery. His heart is in the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw.

There will be no competition auditions on October 17, to allow participants and the jury to attend the traditional celebrations for the anniversary of Chopin’s death.

The auditions can be followed live on the YouTube channel of the Chopin Institute and on the Polish State Radio channel.


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