The most up-itself piano competition

The most up-itself piano competition


norman lebrecht

December 20, 2015

From the rules of the Prague Spring Festival Competition 2016 – Piano – In Memory of Rudolf Firkušný:



Candidates who document that they have won the 1st prize in one of the following competitions need not submit a recording:

  • 2015 The International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition
  • 2015 The Leeds International Piano Competition
  • 2015 The Paloma O’Shea Santander International Piano Competition
  • 2015 The International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition Moscow
  • 2014 The Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv
  • 2013 The International Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz
  • 2013 The Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition
  • 2013 The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth
  • 2012 The Hamamatsu International Piano Competition

Well, that will greatly reduce the flood of applications…


  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Why would first-prize winners in those competitions apply?

  • Milka says:

    From the Barenboim 93 year old lunacy to this Prague piano tinklers festival in memory of
    whoever comes to mind does seem to suggest the lunatics are running the asylum .

  • Max Grimm says:

    Why is this competition “up-itself”, Norman?
    A reading of the rules on their website shows that candidates who have won first prize in the listed competitions are waived the obligation of submitting the otherwise required 15min recording.
    The only thing that disqualifies a person from the start is if a candidate has “already won the 1st prize in the Prague Spring International Music Competition in the relevant instrumental field”.

    • Anon. says:

      I believe the assumption is that the first-prize winners of the aforementioned competitions would not need to apply to the Prague Spring Festival Competition, since (hopefully) their careers would be developing nicely.

      • Max Grimm says:

        Ah, I see; the sentence in the starter “Well, that will greatly reduce the flood of applications…” led me to my initial (mis)understanding.
        So this is really a lesson in humility and modesty by one of the most preeminent role-models of humbleness.

        • Alexander says:

          I think you were correct the first time. It isn’t like one of those job advertisements which euphemistically say, “Previous applicants need not apply”. It’s saying, as you said first time, that anybody who wishes to enter round I must first complete a preliminary round by submitted a recording, with the exception of winners of first prizes at the listed competitions, who are able to go directly into round I.

  • Olga says:

    I don’t understand why this competition is thought to be “up-itself”.

  • Alexander says:

    I’m baffled as to why you think that this competition is “up itself”. All that they are saying is that any eligible pianist who has already taken first prize in one of the nine most prestigious piano competitions in the world is entitled to participate in round I of the competition without having to complete the preliminary round. So, for example, Seong-Jin Cho, Anna Tcybuleva, Federico Colli, Sunwook Kim, etc, are entitled to participate in round I without having to submit a recording for the preliminary round. Why is that “up itself”? You could say that it shows a certain degree of humility, to acknowledge that pianists who have already proven themselves in this way are presumed to be of an appropriate standard to participate. Or is it “up itself” because it dares to imagine that a pianist such as, say, Anna Tcybuleva would consider it worthwhile to enter the competition? I suspect that one motivation is to drive up the standard of competition, i.e. to encourage top-class pianists to enter. But I also suspect that it’s just a piece of small print which wasn’t intended to be taken this seriously.

  • Milka says:

    Does anyone take this Prague piano adventure seriously ?
    Is it true the winner gets a week end in Bydgoszcz providing
    they can pronounce it quickly 3 times in a row .

  • Bruce says:

    Those specifications offer a waiver to only 9 pianists, none of whom probably need this competition to help their career.