The French pianist Pascal Rogé accused the Italians on the Monza jury of rigging the results. Now the outcome is known, here is a response from one of the Italian jurors, Roberto Prosseda:
I read the statement that Pascal Rogé published on Slipped Disc about the Monza International Piano Competition and the various comments. Since I was sitting on the same jury, and my name has been tarnished by his declarations, I am here giving my point of view on what happened. Being one of only two (not three as he writes) Italian jurors, I am, of course, deeply offended by the equating “Italians” with “Mafia”, as Mr. Rogé presents it in his statement and I am quite surprised that many comments on Slipped Disc are supporting this idea, without knowing what is going on, without knowing Mr. Rogé’s marks or other jurors’ marks, and without having heard the competitors.
I did not have the pleasure to talk with Mr. Rogé at all during the whole competition. The rules of the Monza Competition, which every juror had to accept, including Mr. Rogé, do not allow jurors to share thoughts about the competitors during the competition, to avoid any influence on the freedom and independence of judgement of each member of the jury, and to keep a serene atmosphere for the competitors. So, the declarations that Mr. Rogé wrote about his judgement of the competitors before the end of the competition were against the rules that he had to follow and were a bad influence on the three finalists who read them before their final stage.
Since Mr. Rogé did not know my judgements, I am surprised that he could write anything regarding them and particularly something so outrageous, alluding to possible connections between the two Italian jurors (me and Mr. Risaliti) and the Mafia. Talking about “mafia” and “dishonesty” just basing this accusation on personal tastes and suppositions, without knowing “who is doing what”, is not something that I can approve of, and does not give much strength to Mr. Rogé’s reliability.
On the fact, written in a comment that I read in Slipped Disc, that Mr. Rogé is “not only the sole trustworthy judge on that jury, but probably the only true and qualified professional musician (one who is still actively and constantly concertizing)”, well, it is enough to google the jurors’s names (including Mr. Rogé) to check the real situation.
As in any piano competition, the final result is an average of each juror’s marks. So it is absolutely normal that the results do not correspond to the point of view of a single jury member. In the case of Monza competition, the three finalists were not exactly the ones that I would have liked, as it will be possible to see soon from the jurors’ marks that will be published on the website of the competition: http://www.concorsosalagallo.
It is quite astonishing to notice that the marks of Mr. Rogé himself for the six semifinalists contradict his own statement. He included among his top three favorites the Japanese girl, Atsuko Kitoshima, that he himself in his slipped disc statement described with this words (which I strongly disapprove): “[she] played today the most boring, tedious and dull Schubert B-flat Sonata I have ever heard in my life, not to mention some poor Debussy Preludes without any french touch”.
Why did Mr. Rogé want this competitor among the three finalists, if he did not like her? Maybe the answer itself is in Mr. Rogé statement. Also, according with the evaluation rule that Mr. Rogé approved, the highest and lowest marks for each competitor are excluded from the average calculation, and Mr. Rogé very often voted the highest or the lowest mark, self-excluding himself from the judgement 38 times out of 47, and making his highest marks (10/10) for his two favorites competitors being excluded from the average calculation.
More in general, having accepted to sit on a jury, any juror also accepts the democratic system of making the mathematical average of the marks, and I cannot think that everybody who has different points of view is a “mafioso” or is acting in a dishonest way. The fact that the marks of each juror will be published is a sign of transparency and honesty, which still very few piano competitions apply.
I believe that in a civil society every citizen should accept the rules of the system where he agrees to take part. If an artist does not accept the system of a piano competition, he should not sit on its jury. Now, I see that Mr. Rogé is very busy in judging in piano competitions around the world and will be the President of the next Geneva Piano Competition, so he is probably not against this system, that he well knows.
We can discuss about the utility of piano competitions, we can agree that sometimes the best artists are not the ones who get the first prize, but, on the other side, a piano competition is still a good opportunity for young and still unknown artists to be known by a wider audience and by international musicians. While I do no expect any excuse from Mr. Rogé in my regards, I wish, at least, that Mr. Rogé will want to help his favourite competitors to start the career that they deserve.