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Beijing Chopin piano competition set for October

By CHEN NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2019-06-11 08:57
Vietnamese-Canadian classical pianist Dang Thai Son (third from left) speaks at a news conference about the second Beijing International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition for Young Pianists on Wednesday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The second Beijing International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition for Young Pianists will take place from Oct 19 to Nov 2 at the opera house of the Central Conservatory of Music in the city.

The event was announced by Yu Feng, president of the Central Conservatory of Music, the co-organizer of the music event.

The Beijing competition is open to pianists aged from 12 to 26 from all over the world, and will be held in two age groups-junior and senior. The tracks, rules and judges of the Beijing competition are consistent with those used by the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.

Besides Chopin's music, original Chinese compositions-created exclusively for the competition by renowned Chinese composers-will be added to the repertoires.

"The organizers of the Beijing competition have been working with us for many years, making it one of the few events in the world that is closely related to the original Warsaw competition," says Artur Szklener, director of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, the organizer of the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.

Inaugurated in 1927, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious music competitions in the world and is held every five years in Warsaw.

According to Yu, the competition is well-known in China, since some of the most well-known Chinese pianists started their career by participating in the competition, including pianists Li Yundi and Chen Sa.

In October 2000, Li won not only first prize, but also the special prize of the Fryderyk Chopin Society in Warsaw for the best performance of a polonaise. He was the youngest winner of the competition, and the first Chinese pianist to win the title. In 2015, he was chosen to be a jury member for that year's competition, becoming the youngest judge in the competition's history.

"It's a festival for Fryderyk Chopin's music, especially for the talented young musicians. It's not just about playing Chopin's music, but also reflecting the sensitivity and understanding of music language," says Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron, chairwoman of the jury for the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, who will also be a member of the jury for the Beijing competition. "As a common language for all humans, music records universal emotions from the simplest to the most sophisticated. It's a challenge for young pianists."

She notes that the Beijing competition will also be the preparation for the competition in Warsaw in 2020. Winners in each group of the Beijing competition will enter the first round of next year's event in Warsaw.

"It's not about winning or losing. It's about meeting new friends and sharing Chopin's music. It will be an unforgettable experience for young pianists," says Vietnamese-Canadian classical pianist, Dang Thai Son, who was the gold medalist of the competition in Warsaw in 1980. He was in Beijing on Wednesday to perform Chopin's works, including Bolero Op 19 in C Major, Ballade No 1 in G Minor, Op 23 and Barcarole in F Sharp Major, Op 60, during the opening concert of the third piano festival of the Central Conservatory of Music, held in Beijing from Wednesday to Sunday.

Dang will also be among the jury at the Beijing competition.

Yu also adds that the year of 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and Poland, which makes the Beijing competition special.

The Beijing competition is held every three years in the capital and is a collaboration of the Central Conservatory of Music and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Poland.

The Beijing competition has been listed in the protocol of cultural cooperation between China and Poland. The protocol was formally signed under the witness of the two leaders of China and Poland during President Xi Jinping's state visit to Poland in June 2016.

The first Beijing International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition for Young Pianists took place in October that year.

Yu says during the upcoming competition, a research center on Chopin and his musical works will be launched at the Central Conservatory of Music, which celebrates the composer's great legacy.

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