Read the feature on our NEW Adult Amateur Piano Competition!

01 February 2012
imports_PIA_0-0kyx65zt-100000_83003.jpg Read the feature on our NEW Adult Amateur Piano Competition!
<em>Pianist</em>, Yamaha and Chetham&rsquo;s School of Music are presenting a new amateur competition in 2012. Inge Kjemtrup explains the purpose, the rules, and the exciting prizes ...
For some people, the news that Pianist is once again presenting an amateur competition will send them straight to their piano to choose the pieces they’re going to play for their entry. But others – who may not be aware that Pianist (along with Yamaha) was behind two highly successful competitions in 2005 and 2007 – may be wondering just what the fuss is all about. Well, it’s simple, really. Like past Pianist-Yamaha competitions and like many other amateur competitions around the world, this new competition aims to provide an opportunity for amateur pianists to challenge themselves and to show off the results of their hard work before the public.
Pianistis being joined by not one but two significant players in the keyboard firmament to present this competition. Yamaha, the major acoustic and digital piano manufacturer, will be playing a vital role as a partner, provider of the piano for the finals, and the presenter of a winner’s recital in London. Chetham’s International Summer School & Festival for Pianists, one of the best-known courses for adult amateur pianists, is the other partner and will be providing the location for the semi-final stage, along with many other resources.
But before we trace the path from application to finals, let’s look at what inspired this latest competition. Over to Pianist Editor Erica Worth: ‘We had a lot of feedback after the 2007 competition from people wanting another one.’ The response she received from readers also showed a pent-up demand, she explains. ‘Talking to Erica, we thought wouldn’t be wonderful idea to resurrect and reinvent Yamaha competition?’ says Murray McLachlan, Head of Keyboard at Chetham’s School of Music and, along with his wife Kathryn Page, the organiser of the adult summer school. He adds, ‘Amateurs don’t have lots of goals and aims in their piano classes – there are only so many exams and diplomas they can take! – so we though a positive and friendly competition for adult amateurs would give them something to aim for. The last two competitions made a big buzz and people liked them.’ For Yamaha’s part, as Leanne Barrell, Marketing & Promotion Manager says, this competition idea meshes nicely with the company’s ethos of having ‘music making available to as many people as possible.’
The buzz will assuredly be there in this third competition, but other aspects will be distinctly different. As in previous years, competition entrants will start by sending in a sample of their playing on CD. And once again, a panel of experts, including Worth, will listen to every selection. This is where things get a little different, however. Firstly, everyone who submits a recording, whether they continue on to the semi-finals or not, will receive written feedback. Then, in August, the semi-finalists will head for Chetham’s Summer School, where they will have free places for the duration of the competition. Chet’s will be the perfect place to polish musical selections for the semi-finals on 21 August. By the end of that day, a maximum of eight pianists will be chosen as finalists. The finals will take place the following evening, Wednesday 22 August, at the nearby Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), with competitors playing on a new Yamaha CFX Concert Grand piano.
Chetham’s is the perfect place for the semi-finals, McLachlan explains. ‘Chet’s had the infrastructure laid out, we already do concerto competition for young players, and we have ready-made audience of 250 people attending the summer school.’ The choice of the nearby RNCM concert hall makes sense as well. ‘It is arguably the best place to do a piano recital in the UK,’ says McLachlan, whose busy performing career suggests he is familiar with a lot of halls.
As part of the prize, the winner will return to the RNCM in August 2013 to perform with the Manchester Camerata. He or she will also gives a lunchtime recital at the Yamaha Artist Services Recital Room in London (courtesy of Yamaha) and receive a free place (and give an evening recital) at the 2013 Chetham’s Summer School. Plus, the winner will be interviewed for Pianist – and the winning performance will be included on a Pianist cover CD. Heady stuff indeed.
This isn’t a case of winner takes it all, however. During the competition, semi-finalists will enjoy a free place at Chetham’s Summer School. And anyone who sends in a recording will be given written feedback, which is valuable for any pianist looking to improve their playing. [Cont...]

The full article appears inside issue 64. Find out how to enter right now by reading more right here on the Pianist site!

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