Poles surge to hear Chopin winner vs outright loser

Poles surge to hear Chopin winner vs outright loser


norman lebrecht

October 27, 2021

In Katowice last night the Russian pianist Eva Gevorgyan, who was controversially ignored in the Chopin Competition finals, played a first-half recital on Chopin’s Fantasy in F-minor, Mazurkas, Sonata B-flat.

In the second half the Chopin winner and Bruce Liu playing Chopin’s E-minor concerto.

The gladiatorial audience was riveted, many of them siding with the outsider, who received no prizes in the finals despite strong public support.

But Liu got Katowice’s biggest applause. Our man on the scene says: ‘There is nothing to say more on the art of Bruce Liu, except that he is already on the Olympus.’

This year’s Chopin Competition is having an unusual number of aftershocks.


  • At the concert too says:

    There is no controversy, no aftershocks. What a title! Most people accepted the verdict comfortably (unless they are supports and fans, of course). The Polish people are very warm and welcoming. They celebrated the loser for her talent at a young age. It was obvious that she had a long way to go. Bruce is already there. Despite a weaker orchestra, he did a marvellous job!

  • Puzzled says:

    It’s not wise to put a loser and the winner in the same concert. What a strange decision by the organiser. It only empahsises the disparity between them. The gap was undoubtedly big. Best of luck to the young lady.

  • V. Lind says:

    Gladiatorial audience? Really?

  • Moderator says:

    Norman, please don’t create controversy. How can the audience be siding with the outsider when the greatest applause was for Bruce Liu? He was very masterful despite playing the concerto for the 5th time in a week, did not have a break and a very weak orchestra which he managed to lead. Kudos to the Winner!

  • Marion says:

    Indeed there is no controversy and no “aftershock” whatsover
    At least, one thing is clear, not only she has a solid technique but, even better, she has already a sensationnal “mirga-ish” PR to make out of her appearance at this competition a buzz that begings to be inconvenient and annoying.
    Does somebody speak about the intelligent tempo and earth bound playing of Mr Kuszlik (well deserved 4th Price) or the intelligence and maturity of JJ Bui (well deserved 6th Price).
    She had the honor to make the finals and carry the title of finalist of the Chopin competition. That’s it. That was it.

    • Observer says:

      Kuszlik appears to enjoy sugar, so the face is puffy and pale. So he grows a beard below to break up the white expanse. But it doesn’t grow neatly. Meanwhile, he grows his hair long to look artistic, but he doesn’t comb it, and it is greasy. Who is going to promote this man? Can anyone?

  • Paul Wells says:

    Always fun to drop by here and clean up your work. She wasn’t eliminated from the finals, controversially or otherwise. She played in the finals, well, and other, more experienced pianists who also played in the finals became laureates. The public’s interest in a young musician confirms, for the hundredth time, that finishing out of podium ranking in one competition doesn’t end a career, as of course it shouldn’t.

  • doubleduty says:

    Ms. Gevorgyan is not a “loser”, much less an “outright” one. Furthermore, she was not eliminated from the finals. How unfair to attach such an abject label to such a outstanding young pianist. She is 17. She will doubtlessly go far.

    • Double doubleduty says:

      Well at least she did lose in the competition. If you are following the piano competitions closely, you will not find her at 17 to be extraordinary. There are too many excellent and outstanding young pianists nowadays. The race is very fierce. She got lucky to slip into the finals and got into the limelight. That is all.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      I expect to see her at the next Chopin competition.

  • Observer and Frustrated says:

    Indeed Marion, JJ Bui is 17 years old, youngest competitor at the competition and 6th prize winner. Finesse, beauty, grace, depth and maturity. Where is the support for him? He got 10000 polish zloty and 100 euro for being the youngest competitor. This loser got 10000 euro for being the next youngest competitor (female).
    Where is the justice? All these rah rahing and PRing around the outsider and loser is incomprehensible. Such uncritical excitement and enthusiasm over such artists will only hasten the death of authentic classical music.

    • Marion says:

      Very interesting point
      In addition to that : 2 things
      There were three 17 year old contestants in the final round
      After 4 hours of deliberations the jury gave 6 prices to 8 pianists out of 12 (2nd price ex aequo and 4th Price ex aequo)
      The very clear message is that there is a symbol of awarding a “6th Price” to JJ Bui (even if he was 8th in ther ranking)
      The second message was to aknowledge that in the “category” 17 years, the jury had made a clear choice despite the internet buzz already surrounding another candidate of that age.
      This was a very strong statement inside of the results.
      This probably shoked the “Eva adepts” even more that her not getting a price.

    • Neil Yates says:

      You want justice? Look for it in the dictionary between “just” and “justify.” Real justice in this sad world does not exist.

  • Josh says:

    Last weekend he is considered a serviceable technician with a powerful teacher in jury, now he is drinking tea with all the olympians? Will there be a return of the king next week?

  • Von Carry-on says:

    Ok, here’s a list of outright competition losers, along with the contests they lost:

    Mitsuko Uchida: Queen Elizabeth, Leeds, Clara Haskil

    Nelson Freire: Queen Elizabeth

    Christina Ortiz: Leeds

    Janina Fialkowska: Leeds, Warsaw, Rubinstein, Montreal, Busoni

    Brigitte Engerer: Cliburn, Queen Elizabeth

    Rudolf Buchbinder: Cliburn

    Andras Schiff: Leeds

    Richard Goode: Busoni

    Lydia Artymiw: Leeds, Warsaw, Cliburn, Leventritt

    Myung Whun Chung: Leeds, Tchaikovsky

    Vladimir Ashkenazy: Warsaw

    Arthur Rubinstein: St. Petersburg (Anton Rubinstein competition)

    Charles Rosen: Queen Elizabeth

    Anthony di Bonaventura: Queen Elizabeth

    Leslie Howard: Busoni

    Emanuel Ax: Warsaw, Queen Elizabeth, William Kapell, Vianna da Motta

    Elena Lyonskaya – Queen Elizabeth

    Emil Gilels: Vienna

    Gina Bachauer: Vienna

    Dmitri Shostakovich: Warsaw

    Francois-Rene Duchable – Queen Elizabeth

    Phillipe Entremont- Queen Elizabeth

    Have i made my point?

    So, take heart, Eva – you will soon do as well or better than all of these losers!!

    • Antonia says:

      Even Bruce Liu lost a competition, earlier. Which one in particular escapes me now, and I can’t find it because the Internet is now awash with his success in the Chopin.

    • debuschubertussy says:

      You forgot perhaps the most famous competition “loser” of all–Ivo Pogorelich at the Chopin Competition in 1980!

    • Juan Armando says:

      you are a dreamer who prefers to count your chick before it hatches. best of luck to you and your eva

    • Jeffrey Biegel says:

      Indeed. Long sustaining careers have many more components over time which dictate the course of any career. Friendships, respect, repertoire, all of which take time. Oh, the days of being a young and promising newcomer to the playing field. But oh, the incredible journey that lies ahead for all of these fine young musicians – whether they receive top prizes or not. We can wish them all good luck, which is important. Luck plays a big role, no matter the artistry.

    • Jonathan Hunter says:

      Last post you sweared and ask the group to leave her alone. Today you elevate her to the status of the greats. You truly deserve a prize to be her top fan.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      The vast majority of those are minor piano competitions though, of course, not all.

      • fliszt says:

        The vast majority of those are minor competitions? Why, because the almighty Sue Sonata Form deems them so? Oh, honey – get over it… those are the most prominent competitions in the world!

    • paganono says:

      While you’re at it, the following pianists were also losers at the Queen Elizabeth:

      John Browning
      Anton Kuerti
      Lazar Berman

  • Richard says:

    What is the controversy they where polish judges

  • debuschubertussy says:

    What’s with the silly headline? I didn’t realize being a finalist in the Chopin Competition at 17 makes you an “outright loser”.

  • perturbo says:

    Not to belittle either of these musicians, but Sorita is the finalist I hope to hear more from in the future.

  • Neil Yates says:

    As the judges of this competition said, they are all good pianists! Surely making the finals of the Chopin Competition can hardly be described as a loss! A very good Polish pianist, Szymon Nehring, who has previously won the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition, and was a finalist in the Chopin Competition in 2015, did not even make the finals this year. Go figure.

  • Not a Fan says:

    Von Carry On must be an eva troll. No doubt she may be a young talent but to list her name with the greats sounds absurd to me.

  • Moderator says:

    Oh come on Von Carry On, we’ve all lost something at some point. It doesn’t make us losers, neither does it make us definite winners. It all depends on how we work towards our goals. Surely we can give you another list of those who lost and drop out of the music scene completely. So listing this list is as good as saying nothing at all.

    • Von Carry-on says:

      You completely missed my point, moderator. I was demonstrating how foolish it is to call a non-1st prize winner a loser. Therefore, my listing speaks volumes.

  • Concerned says:

    So much pressure from the media at such a young age. Is all these fuss and attention healthy for a young girl. She may just become depressed and burnt out too early.

    • Jeffrey Biegel says:

      This is very true. Before the internet allowed for everyone to air their voices in print, we relied on the music critic, regardless of the stature of their knowledge or the organization they were writing for. We waited for the reviews, because sometimes, words could make a difference. These days, with so many people writing in to blogs and websites, it can be crushing to read too much that is positive or negative. This is not conducive to building morale for these young artists. We need them to carry on the legacy of the composers and their music. That should be their focus, and frankly, ours as well. It won’t matter in one hundred years what competition someone won now, but it will matter if that music is still studied and performed. We need to be mindful and careful. We also cannot predict a career at age 17. That actually is not fair. I have not yet listened to or watched any of the competition due to time restraints, but wish these fine pianists a healthy and successful journey.

      • Kaiser says:

        Indeed there is no way to predict careers at 17. There are many pianist who win many competitions at very tender ages who do not go on to make a career. Just like doing well in elementary schools do not gaurantee success at university level studies precisely because the skill requirements
        are different; depth, intepretation, emotional maturity, knowledge, intuition. Time will tell if we get to live and see.. and good luck to all.

  • SeanPiano says:

    Losers and winners…..ridiculous terminology to apply these supremely gifted young artists

  • Natasha says:

    Does anyone know the detailed scores for the final? I would love to know how the judges scored each finalist