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The Warsaw Voice » Other » October 28, 2009
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Stars Will Open Chopin Competition
October 28, 2009   
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Two of the world's greatest pianists, Argentinean Martha Argerich and Brazilian Nelson Freire, are coming to Warsaw to open next year's International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition, one of the world's oldest and most prestigious musical events. They will perform during a special inaugural concert as part of the Chopin 2010 bicentenary celebrations.

The competition was founded by the outstanding Polish pianist, composer and educator Jerzy Żurawlew, and first held in 1927. The competition is held in the National Philharmonic in Warsaw in late September/early October every five years. Between 1949 and 2005, it was organized by the Frederic Chopin Society in Warsaw. The Frederic Chopin Institute is organizing next year's 16th international competition.

The qualifying committee, which comprises some of Poland's most respected musicians, will get together to select 160 qualifying entries from the many candidates Feb. 11-25, 2010. Candidates will be assessed on the basis on the demo tapes and documentation they submit. The qualifying list will be made public March 1.

The three-stage process of auditioning for finalists begins Oct. 3, 2010. The jury comprises Andrzej Jasiński (chairman), Martha Argerich , Dang Thai Son, Bella Davidovich, Philippe Entremont, Fou Ts'ong, Nelson Freire, Adam Harasiewicz, Kevin Kenner, Michie Koyama, Piotr Paleczny and Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń. Argerich, Son, Davidovich and Harasiewicz are all former first-prize winners.

The final of the competition is planned for Oct. 18-20. The winner will be announced at a press conference Oct. 20. The prize winners, together with those who receive special mention, will give concerts at the National Philharmonic Oct. 21-23.

To win here is to be in hot demand in the most celebrated concert halls. Many of the world's greatest pianists can trace their beginnings to Warsaw. Most competition winners have so far come from the former Soviet Union (5) or Poland (4). In 2005, Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz caused a sensation when he not only beat off a record 257 contenders to win the competition, but took out the polonaise, mazurka, sonata and concerto prizes as well.

Tickets will be available from the National Philharmonic in Warsaw from Jan. 4.

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