A belated response to criticism from the music competition industry

Dear Mr. Lebrecht,

After reading your blog posted on the ArtsJournal, we would like to share with you the purpose of the World Federation of International Music Competitions (WFIMC).

The Bucharest Conducting Competition is not even a member of either the EMCY or WFIMC.

We know that our associate member organisation EMCY has already replied to you as well and therefore will concentrate on bringing to your attention, a few things about the WFIMC that will hopefully enlighten you about our role in the music scene today. This role does not include that the WFIMC “recompense competitors who have been mistreated by their member organisations”. The WFIMC is an umbrella organisation for international music competitions and recognised as such by the International Music Council under UNESCO. It has neither legal nor financial responsibility for its members. Your characterization of our organisation providing “sedate employment for well-pensioned time servers” hardly is an accurate reflection of the work that our small staff produces for an international organization.
Nor is the WFIMC based on public funding as you suggest; it is run by members’ annual dues, with the explicit goal of setting the highest standards for international music competitions and for maintaining these standards within its membership.

New member competitions must have taken place twice in compliance with our standards and go through a thorough screening process before being admitted.  Existing members are required to document that each and every edition of their competition is being held in accordance with these standards. Fairness of judgement and offering the best possible performance conditions for all competitors are merely two essential requirements for the WFIMC.

Annually at our General Assembly, we offer to our members the opportunity of learning and maintaining industry best practices through seminars and workshops with internal and external speakers. We constantly strive to provide our members with knowledge, inspiration, visibility and most
importantly, the opportunity for individual growth and improvement regardless of discipline.

At the same time we encourage our members to develop their individuality and maintain their own profiles. The WFIMC does not want to mainstream its members but rather encourage them to exist as individual cultural events in their own right, presenting young artists in public competition before distinguished juries, audiences and media to the entire music community.

WFIMC is setting the benchmark for its 124 member competitions as well as the competition industry at large. While we have no authority over the hundreds of non-member competitions worldwide, we can only hope that they adopt similar high standards for their respective competitions or use the WFIMC standards as a guide.

Respectfully,
Glen Kwok                                          Marianne Granvig

President                                            Secretary General
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