Competition rot reaches New Zealand

The Gisborne Competition was won last week by a talented Australian cellist, Miles Mullin-Chivers, 21.

Although still a student at the Sydney Con, he’s a regular player in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The cloud over his win was the sight of his Sydney teacher, Julian Smiles, sitting on the jury.

So it goes.

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  • I’m not wholly sure I see the problem, provided it is fairly handled. (the potential problem is understood).

    Competitions need a jury which knows its stuff. People who know their stuff are likely to be sought after as teachers and mentors. Competitions may attract hundreds of initial entries (even very minor competitions do; I’ve sifted through enough entries to know). Are we to exclude all pupils, and maybe even ex-pupils of jurors from entering? (unfair). Should we not bother to invite a jury until after the semi-finalists, say, are already known? (impractical).

    Surely the only way is for jurors to be open with one another about potential conflicts of interest, and to approach judging with openness, fairness and integrity. I see no need for bars or bans, which, at worst, may prevent worthy candidates from entering, or lower the experience or expertise of the panel assembled.

  • For the record, Mr Smiles stopped teaching Miles when he graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium in 2017. Please get your information correct before questioning the integrity of Mr Smiles and the GIMC.

  • New Zealand’s classical music industry has for a long time been ruled by a few organisations and very few people who usually decide what’s going on and what not. As an outsider you only have a chance if you play that game, which obviously happened here.
    Of course their competitions are as corrupt as elsewhere. That’s how it goes.

  • I follow the GIMC every year and have always been fairly happy with the judging, but this year has been an exception. It was so clear to see that the other musicians in the final were far better than the winner.

    • It’s strange — often my friends and I have quite different and varied opinions about who played best. Sometimes we even like the winner, regardless of any insinuations about the fix being in.

    • Sorry, but I completely disagree. I was at the Finals as well as Semifinals, and Miles was the clear winner for me. Perhaps the judges heard this as well? Not to say that the other two finalists weren’t also outstanding – they were! But Miles delivered an incredibly creative performance which was worthy of 1st Prize, in my opinion. It makes me sad that “articles” such as this one are trying to take that away from him.

  • Sorry, but I completely disagree. I was at the Finals as well as Semifinals, and Miles was the clear winner for me. Perhaps the judges heard this as well? Not to say that the other two finalists weren’t also outstanding – they were! But Miles delivered an incredibly creative performance which was worthy of 1st Prize, in my opinion. It makes me sad that “articles” such as this one are trying to take that away from him.

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