Protesting pianist: Why I refused to play at Paderewski farcemain
The Russian pianist Sergey Belyavsky has gone public on the reasons for his refusal to play a prizewinners recital at the dodgy Paderewski Competition in Poland this weekend.
Here’s Sergey’s account:
I feel that I should explain some things about what happened recently at the Paderewski Piano Competition. My experience at the competition was so positive leading up to the final days, when the focus was no longer on music. It’s not a secret that I have a long history of participating in competitions. Some of them were less fortunate for me, some of them more, but thanks to technology, a lot of this history is still available in archives.
About this specific competition, the reason for my decision to refuse the Honorary Mention and not to play in the Laureate’s concert had to do with the way the voting system was built in the finals. Several jury members came to me after the announcement of the results and told me that the voting began with me being tied for first place, so the jury decided to revote. As a result of that revote, I had a minority of the votes for the 1st prize. The next step was for them to have new, separate votes for the 2nd and 3rd prizes. According to what I heard from them in private conversations, some of them suddenly “changed their minds” and did not vote for me for the 2nd or 3rd places. Because the voting was kept in secret for the jury members as well, nobody knows exactly what happened. This revote resulted in me going from a tie for first place to not receiving one of the top 3 prizes.
This whole situation put me in the wrong mood for performing in an event, which is directly related to the results of the competition. Not only to the music itself. And it is not a normal concert situation. So, I would like to apologize again to the public who came wanting to enjoy the celebration of music.
The decision not to accept the Honorary Mention was driven by my belief in integrity, and I had no intention of starting a conflict. This was a very unique moment of my life. I was very touched by the Special Prizes I received, and I would like to thank all the people who have continuously supported me. Cheers to the audiences (both who followed the live stream and in the hall), cheers to my colleagues for spending their lifetimes for serving the music, and CHEERS to music itself!
Solo semifinal round
Orchestra semifinal round