Chopin Competition is swamped

Chopin Competition is swamped


norman lebrecht

January 06, 2020

More than 500 pianists have applied to be considered for the Chopin Competition in Warsaw this October.

About 190 are from Japan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Some 35 are from South Korea. That’s almost half the entrants from one distinct geographic region.

The competition is overwhelmed by this record influx and will struggle to make fair choices in selecting 80 for the final round.

The judges will include Dang Thai Son (Vietnam/Canada), Sa Chen (China) and Akiko Ebi (Japan/France).

The last Chopin Competition in 2015 was won by Seong-Jin Cho of South Korea in a fair and transparent contest. The coompetition was one of the first to publish all judges’ marks.



  • Michel says:

    South Korea has become a pianists factory !

    • Anon says:

      Your use of the word “factory” regarding a nation that is so devoted to art is most offensive.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Many wonderful artists now come from South Korea – a nation which punches well above its weight.

      • debuschubertussy says:

        *eyeroll* lighten up, I think he meant it as a compliment.

      • Don’t think it was intended that way. Think of the ‘workshops’ of Rembrandt/Titian, etc…

      • Nick says:

        Nothing is offensive about it. Indeed, both S.Korea and China became “pianist producing factories”. It is no secret to anybody!

        • Katie says:

          Some people here have reading comprehension problems or are obviously jealous. No secret? How funny. What kind of a person with a defective brain thinks that art can be manufactured.

          Read other articles published in the last several days: More than 100 of the applicants for the 18th edition come from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the Warsaw-based Fryderyk Chopin Institute told AFP.

          There were also strong representations from Japan, with more than 90 applicants, Poland, with more than 60, and 35 from Korea.

    • Katie says:

      Sounds like you are a defect.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    Judges also include Martha A, Dmitri Aleexev, Nelson Friere + half a dozen Polish pianists

  • Rob says:

    The only person who won’t be there? Chopin himself. Shame.

  • Lipatti says:

    The selection round will judged by no-names

  • Kyle Wiedmeyer says:

    China has 1.4 billion people, and there are 180+ million in the other four countries. We shouldn’t be surprised that these countries, which are so heavily interested in Western classical music and have cultures that value hard work and discipline, produce so many great pianists.

  • fflambeau says:

    There are more pianos in China than anywhere. Why the surprise?

    • Annette says:

      And there are some scientific proof that Asians have the highest IQ’s. So that should translate to better Classical pianists…

  • starwars says:

    Attack of the clones

  • V.Lind says:

    I do not believe the level of racism in this thread. Saw the same when South Korean players dominated ladies’ golf — a subject I do not follow aside from a scan of headlines, but which became so extreme — especially on the part of white Americans, who were woefully absent from the leaderboards of what they considered to be their own Tour — that it made news sections.

    Maybe we should get Jocelyn Gecker to investigate!

  • Fliszt says:

    Please let’s not politicize music. Yes, for many years, the concert and competition worlds were dominated by artists of European extraction (including many of Ashkenazy-Jewish ancestry). These lopsided results were largely attributed to the unavailability of traditional training in Asia, but the first sign of change was the arrival of Fou Ts’Ong at the 1955 Warsaw Chopin Competition (3rd prize) whose teacher in China was an Italian. Since then, the Warsaw 1st prize has been won by a Chinese, a Vietnamese, and a Korean, and the 2nd prize by a Japanese. And now that many Asian musicians are trained in the West and return home to teach, the playing field has evened out between western & Asian artists.

    • Badone says:

      The Asian’s are like homeless, identity-less entities; roaming around the world.

      I’m sure they have their own culture, but they are too busy betraying it, by playing other people’s music.
      This is no good sign.

      • Anon says:

        Here hon let me fix your grammar a little bit okay 🙂
        *The Asians
        *This is not a good sign

      • anon says:

        People like you are the reason why America is no longer the country it was before. Additionally, how is it OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC? Music was created for the pure intent to share with everybody. Throughout history, there have been multiple instances of music uniting groups of various backgrounds and traditions. However, if you truly feel this way towards Asians, I would like to let you know that I feel very sorry for you. I feel pity for you that your community college education wasn’t enough to help you understand and appreciate the beauty if music, rather than merely looking at the race than one belongs to.

  • Annette says:

    My favorite piano competition and by far the deepest one.