Warsaw’s Chopin Competition recalls a past epidemic

Warsaw’s Chopin Competition recalls a past epidemic


norman lebrecht

April 13, 2021

In 1965 it was flu….. with contestants and jurors falling like flies.

The International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition is a great, but also stressful experience for the pianists, and the organisers must bear it in mind. The example of taking care of the participants’ good mood may be supplementing the Competition in 1965 with the one litre of valerian drops in case of faint on stage, but also a large amount of sugar cubes for courage and dishes with hot water to warm hands before going on stage. As part of a less spectacular prevention, a huge amount of flu medicine was purchased as well as vitamins. Those did not help at all, as many participants and jurors were victims of the epidemic of flu in Warsaw anyway.

You may recognise the winner in waiting.


  • fliszt says:

    Why did they even bother going through with the competition? With Martha being there, they could have just cancelled it and given Martha the prize. Nobody else that year stood a chance against her.