Back in 1951, some music competitions were judged blindfold

Back in 1951, some music competitions were judged blindfold


norman lebrecht

July 24, 2018

Don’t ever say it can’t be done.


  • Jonathan Brett says:

    Interesting that any discussion involving corruption and competitions always gets plenty of comment but apparently no one wants to engage with any possibility of reducing possible abuse.

    Of course blind screening is possible – even for conducting competitions, as we proved last year with the
    1st Audite International Conducting Competition the logic of blind screening used almost universally in orchestral auditions is entirely transferable.

    Due to the impossibility of maintaining secrecy over two days, the final was made open and it is arguable that before awarding prizes jurors should be able to see as well as hear to assess the full impact of a given performance. Finally no system can ever be perfect but screening at least up to the final is the most obvious and desirable way to reduce the chance of jury bias.

  • Peter Mack says:

    In the Seattle International Piano Competition (biennial, odd-numbered years) the judges sit behind a screen. They are given specially-prepared brochures containing only the repertoire of the contestants, not their names, genders, ages, or nationalities. There is even a carpet onstage, so they can’t hear the clicking of stiletto heels.

    Students of judges in the competition? Here are the applicable rules:
    “The jurors are not permitted to evaluate a current or former student with whom he or she has worked during the past five years. In such situations, a nonpartisan juror will be selected to substitute in a given category, or vote in the case of a tie.”

    In the past, I’ve been on both the preliminary screening jury, and on the final jury. Anonymity is maintained throughout. It’s a fair competition.