Judges fix the finals of the Bartók competition

Judges fix the finals of the Bartók competition


norman lebrecht

September 14, 2017

Our observer at the Bartók violin competition, held at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, was encouraged to see several unfancied outsiders get through to the semi-finals.

That was before the judges woke up. In the final, all the contestants are students, or past students, of members of the jury.

Gabor Hamoki, Hungary, attended Liszt Academy and studied with a juror, Barnabas Kelemen

Yoerae Kim – South Korea, has studied at the Liszt Academy for 8 years

Chisa Kitagawa, Japan, student of juror Takashi Shimizu

Agnes Langer, Hungary, local favourite

Cosima Soulez Lariviere, Netherlands/France, student of juror Krzysztof Wegrzyn

Una Stanic, Serbia, had masterclasses with Krzysztof Wegrzyn

Ririko Takagi, Japan,  student of juror Takashi Shimizu

The finals are tonight.

The outcome: Teacher’s pet wins all.

What was it Béla Bartók once said? ‘Competitions are for horses, not artists’.


  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Nothing wrong. If you cannot protect your artistic nipotini, why bother to be a member of the jury?

  • Laurie says:

    It’s so discouraging. When will competitions simply ban students of jurors from competing? Or at least force all scoring to be made public? The current system really needs to change.

    Bartok must be turning over in his grave.

  • Max Grimm says:

    On the upside, Norman can’t accuse this competition of having “collapsed in indecision”…..

  • THE TRUTH says:

    Una Stanic was not a fixed finalist. Because of her astonishing performance in the semi-final, they had to extend the number of finalists from 6 (possibly a pre-arranged group) to 7.

  • Patrick Brislan says:

    The Bartok violin competition is just one of the bit players in the International Music Competition Industry (IMCI) which now comprises some 25 violin competitions among a total of perhaps 120 for all disciplines world-wide. Some industry members are even in the World Federation of Music Competitions, a reminder of the equivalent IOC for athletes – and in more ways than one.

    The odium at this competition surrounding the selection of jurists – whose students comprise the finalists – is paralleled in other juries who are suspected of eliminating from the first rounds those competitors whose perceived talent is superior to that of the jurists themselves. (This allows progression to the next rounds for the candidate already selected to win.)

    The corruptibility of IMCI jurists is widely lamented and is seemingly ineradicable, but there is a solution!
    It can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/author/patrickbrislan
    (Go to “S is for Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia”)

  • SP says:

    The Truth, there may be some validity to what you say in that Una appears to be less connected than the other 6 (ie. her teacher was not a juror nor was she a hometown favorite or attendee of the Liszt Academy). She may have played very well and been connected just enough to squeeze into the Finals. But she was eliminated last night, likely the plan all along. And those with more serious connections continue through.

  • A says:

    2012 Szigeti competition (at Liszt Academy) was also fixed, I remember, finalists were all students of Judges. Best players were in second round.

  • Paul Mauffray says:

    Just to be clear, this is yet another and completely different competition, unrelated to the Bela Bartok International Opera Conducting Competition.

  • Stephen says:

    All competitions are either rigged, stupid or frivolous. There is zero correlation with competition winning and future success as a concert soloist. Zero. Period. End of story.

  • Greg Lener says:

    Students of the judges should be banned from competitions. It is disgrace.