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Look at all these youngsters in top-tier international competitions... (Read 1619 times)

Offline wnlqxod

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I see all these young artists at top-class international competitions with educations like Juiliard this, Cleveland that, Hochschule fur Music und Theater left, St. Cecile (i.e. Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy) right, Moscow Tchaikovsky top, and St. Petersburg bottom.

I see many with ZOMGWTF resumes (i.e. played for the head of the state, first debut with orchestra at 8, 9, 10, 11, etc. -I am assuming that these kids don't have rich ass parents who bought an orchestra for them-) losng and getting cut left and right.

Now, I recognize that competitions only provide a "snapshot" of how people play, but...
More often than not, they all play very well.
Some play "better" than others, but IMO, they all have some basic know-how of what sounds good and what doesn't -pretty sure they didn't spend the big money at a big school for nothing-.  

What do all these competitions like Leeds, International Tchaikovsky, International Chopin (the quinnianial one in Poland), Van Cliburn, mean, anyway?
What does it mean at the end if you won a prize at a competition anyway?
Maybe this is because I DON'T think competitions are a good form of musical selection.
Well, screw me, my biggest influence on that philosophy, Krystian Zimmerman, had his teacher on the jury when he won in the 1975 International Chopin- I would hope that his teacher was obliged to sit out on the voting like in 2010.

As a side note, who do you think is a promising "next generation" young artist (you can include several)?

Offline iansinclair

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I have seen over the years a similar situation with ballet competitions.  What happens there -- and I've seen many examples -- is that you will see dancers with absolutely gorgeous technique.  Really fantastic.  And it does help them get their first position with a ballet company (a situation most pianists don't run into).  But, all too often, one finds that behind that brilliant technique there is no soul, and by the time they are in their mid twenties -- if not sooner -- they have gone as far as they can go, unless they develope the maturity and the artistry to underpin the technique.  And most of them don't...  the competition in that world, for top flight people, is absolutely brutal and unreal.

Consider: there are less than 10 top tier dance companies in North America.  In each company, there will be no more than two men and two women who are the premier dancers -- and their career may last 10 years.  All the rest are soloists or corps members (and there aren't all that many of those either, come to that!).  That means that of all those competition people over the years, only twenty men and twenty women will ever reach the top -- and they usually aren't competition winners.
Ian

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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As a side note, who do you think is a promising "next generation" young artist (you can include several)?

I wish it would be me, but the chances are overwhelming not.

Anyways...

George Li.  He's a freaking monster!!!. He's won more competitions than I've played pieces!
Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Offline faulty_damper

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I have seen over the years a similar situation with ballet competitions. ... That means that of all those competition people over the years, only twenty men and twenty women will ever reach the top -- and they usually aren't competition winners.

There was a documentary,First Position, about a young artist ballet competition.  These were all young dancers from 9 up to the age of 19.  These people train hours and hours a day, often injuring themselves and screwing up their feet.  Most of them hope for a chance to be hired by a dance company and perhaps even become principle.  But most of them don't have any heart into the music.  They aren't connected with it in any meaningful way.  The "best" dancers were the ones with the best technique with so-so musicality. 



But then I look at social/street dancing and it's amazing how connected the best dancers are to the music.  These are people who've probably never taken a dance class but simply listened to the music and felt it.

You compare dancers to musicians and you see that the competition contestants can't even hold a flame to a chandelier.  They are not rewarded for musical insight; they are rewarded for note perfection.  They have little in the instruction of stage presence and acting and simply go up to play.

They sound good!  But is it the kind of performance that can be listened to repeatedly?  I don't know.  I'm tired of these career competitors and I'm tired of these competitions.  It really seems like a bunch of monkeys doing the same thing ad nauseum.  And then they expect people to buy a ticket to listen.  No thanks.  Come out with a CD and if it's good, I might download it illegally.  And if it's really good, then I might consider buying it for the sound quality.