Of 41 piano finalists in Geneva, 27 are from Asia

At the Geneva Piano Competition, candidates are picked on the basis of recordings and videos – and presumably the ability to pay fares and accommodation.

The geographic distribution is skewed to the East.

There are no finalists from the US, Australasia or South America.

Lineup here.

 

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  • I don’t think anyone will be remotely surprised. Pianists at any level from the moderate amateur upwards are overwhelmingly from East Asia.

    • I’m trying to think of young people I know who would put in the work to become pianists at this level (or even at social accompaniment level). Not along list.

      We are fast approaching the time when there will be no western doctors, dentists, engineers, let alone musicians — and nobody will have a frame of reference beyond whatever “retro” thing is still on Netflix or Amazon. Say what you will about the screen generation: they are fast losing the capacity to DO things.

      In the east there is still a culture of achievement, because in so many cases survival depends upon achievement. It, too, may evaporate as life online seduces more and more away from effort, but it has not caught up yet.

    • I’m trying to think of young people I know who would put in the work to become pianists at this level (or even at social accompaniment level). Not along list.

      We are fast approaching the time when there will be no western doctors, dentists, engineers, let alone musicians — and nobody will have a frame of reference beyond whatever “retro” thing is still on Netflix or Amazon. Say what you will about the screen generation: they are fast losing the capacity to DO things.

      In the east there is still a culture of achievement, because in so many cases survival depends upon achievement. It, too, may evaporate as life online seduces more and more away from effort, but it has not caught up yet.

    • It is beyond abhorrent in how an art form is being used as a sport to enhance some sort of life style.
      Whether from the East or West the word philistine
      comes to mind .

  • As the semi-finals are on Nov. 4-5, I must wonder how you know, “There are no finalists from the US, UK, Australasia or South America”. I must also assume that the link is, perhaps, to the semi-finalists, of whom there seems to be quite a singular number, and, e.g., one from the UK. Or mayhap these are all the chosen entrants, in which case one must ask if there were any applicants from the US, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific islands, arguably New Guinea, and South America. Confusing post, oui? I think I’ll just keep an eye on the Competition’s website. Easier, and without any dodgy insinuations about entrants’ ability to pay.

  • This comes as no surprise to anyone following other recent international piano competitions.

    I found it more interesting to look at the Geneva 2018 clarinet competition and count the number of contestants who are (or were) students of Romain Guyot, who is also on the jury.

  • My $0.02 is that younger Asian musicians seem to focus almost exclusively on technical brilliance, something that will help them dominate the competition circuit.

    However, I found non-Asian musicians tend to have more depth and imagination in their interpretation.

    I don’t meant to stereotype. Just my personal listening impression/preference that may not apply to 99.99999% of the population.

    • This is not so much a criticism of Asians as an inevitable consequence of a very large population and the fact that learning the piano has become hugely popular in Asia. You will always find many, many players with technical brilliance that serves them well in competitions for every one with the poetry and musical insight that enables them to reach the top. Furthermore, technical brilliance can be attained by dedication, the genuine musical spark which sets a player apart cannot, so a rigorous regime will always produce any number of technicians.
      What we are currently seeing with Asian pianists is the same phenomenon that we’ve always seen, but just writ much larger. And somewhere amongst the crowd of brilliant technicians from Asia there may well be the one player who really does have the complete package.

    • Is that why non-Asians with so much depth and imagination don’t do well at competitions because all western juries only count technical brilliance when they judge?

      • It’s hard not to be impressed at least somewhat by someone who has splashy technique. That other stuff has a more subtle appeal, and maybe is not to everyone’s taste. It’s relatively straightforward – this performer hit all the notes and played 9% faster than ever seen before, that’s easy to mechanically assess. This performer played that cadenza in a more interesting fashion than ever before, that’s harder to get general agreement, no?

        And as someone else mentioned, the technical stuff rewards sheer persistence, the poetry less so. Shelves can be filled with books detailing practice techniques to master thorny passages, many of them useful if dutifully applied, but how many such books are there to put a musical spark in a pile of soggy music?

  • Hmmm… Population of Asia is about 0.6 of that of the world. From that statistic you would expect about 26 finalists to be Asian, so the result looks about right.

  • Those are the competitors, not the finalists. Not sure the assumption that competitors don’t get travel support is warranted, either.

  • I think the biggest winner is the company that managed to sell so much hair gel. Nice to see France doing well; they are very much a ‘soloist’ country.

  • Tiffany poon is doing amazing things. She is not only a wonderful artist she is inspiring my pupils with all her interactive postings. She plays live on Facebook and is so kind answering all kinds of questions. Good luck to them all

  • not surprised to see the usual racist reactions here, like the reflexive ‘asians have no passion,’ which comes from the same crowd saying ‘jews control banks and media’ and ‘blacks have low iqs’.

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