All-male piano final is chosen in Santander

All-male piano final is chosen in Santander


norman lebrecht

August 02, 2022

Just as most of the civilised world is celebrating a women’s football competition, the judges in the 20th Santander International Piano Competition have excluded women from its final round.

These are the six finalists:
Yu Nitahara, Japan, 31 years old

Marcel Tadokoro, France/Japan, 28

Matyáš Novák, Czech Republic, 23

Xiaolu Zang, China, 22

Domonkos Csabay, Hungary, 31

Jaeden Izik-Dzurko, Canada, 22

A photo of the jury is attached.


  • Just saying says:

    Spain have never really demonstrated being civilised – remember when they were ‘neutral’ during WW2?

    Guess this ideology extends to their piano competitions too in terms of moral bankruptcy..

    • Agreed says:

      Yes, Spain is just as bad as Russia, if not, worse.

    • Jo says:

      Wow, where have you been for the span of your life? Were you in a desert island without internet access, nor a history book at hand? Spain had just ended a 3 years civil war just before the WWII started, and you cannot take part in another external war with a devastated country you need to restore. I share this info with you, for you to know, as ignorance is not good, for sure.

      • Just saying says:

        Oh so you’re saying because Spain engaged in its own civil war gives it a perfect excuse to sit back, relax and enjoy watching the genocide of WW2 going on in its neighbouring countries.

        It doesn’t matter if it’s 1939 or 2022 – the thing is, it happened. They were neutral, they did nothing, and thus implicitly approved of the war.

        If Russia is being boycotted for its crimes, then so should Spain. Doesn’t matter when – lives lost = lives lost. Simple really.

        • Jo says:

          So you want to punish also Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, Ireland, Turkey, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan as well as the microstates of Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, San Marino and Vatican City. They were also neutral, and didn’t need to recover from any internal war. So let’s boycott them. BTW Spain at the time couldn’t “sit back, relax and enjoy”, just fighting famine was trouble enough. You have something else against Spain… just tell us, please.

          • Just saying says:

            Just because those countries were neutral gives no right for Spain to be neutral too and for you to claim moral high ground for them.

            So don’t use the ‘what about’ method to deflect their standing-by by turning a blind eye.

          • Jo says:

            Why not? So you’re the judge and the one who knows what others can or cannot do? Spain had all the right to be neutral, or for not being neutral, either choice is moral, whatever you think about it. BTW, which country are you from?

          • Just saying says:

            “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” – Elie Wiesel

            “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” – Desmond Tutu

            Or most significantly:

            “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” –
            Dante Alighieri

            Need I say more.

            And my country is none of your business though it’s neither Spain or Russia.

          • Jo says:

            I guessed your country was not Spain. You hate Spain.
            At that time Spain was being ruled by Franco, so the chances were for Spain to join Germany and Italy, in case of not being neutral. Is that what you would have consider more moral? Would you then believe Spain had done it right?

  • Anne says:

    …”the judges in the 20th Santander International Piano Competition have excluded women from its final round.“. It might be more accurate to say: …no women made the cut into the final round. Just facts, no feelings.

  • Fritz Curzon says:

    Did they “exclude women” or the less worthy musicians from the final? Just asking-

    • Gerry Feinsteen says:

      How can you say such a thing?

      We do not know how these finalists self-identify. It is possible half of them are women (as defined by Lia Thomas or Ellen* Page and the woke among us).

  • Simpson says:

    Merit is the only true criterion. If this selection was done on the merit, then no one should have a problem with it.

  • Philip says:

    More identity politics. Yawn.

    It is possible of course that the six best competitors are male. It is equally possible the six best are female and the competition has zero credibility. Though highly unlikely.

    Are all the male competitors biologically male?

    What a world we now inhabit.

  • Rob Keeley says:

    Maybe the female artists simply weren’t so good? And ‘most of the entire civilised world are not that into football, of whatever sex.

  • guest says:

    SD goes woke. Who would have thought it. Incidentally, do you know who the jurors are, to insult them so blatantly? There might even be a woman or two among them.

  • Miv Tucker says:

    Of course there must be an equal no of women finalists, even if they really aren’t as good as the males. Gender must always be allowed to trump talent.

  • Tim Walton says:

    What a gormless stupid headline.
    Perhaps the female competitors weren’t as good!

  • George Lobley says:

    What’s wrong with that? If they are the best contenders. Doesn’t have to include a female

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    There are also no blacks, no muslums, and no hermaphrodites in the finals!!! Such blatant discrimination!!

  • Freewheeler says:

    Yes, you’re quite right: There should be more women footballers as finalists in that piano competition.

  • Elena says:

    No woman was good enough to achieve final round. It couldn’t be like that? I am a woman and I prefer meritocracy to politically correct.

  • Rhaika says:

    As a woman, I’d be equally offended if a woman made the final for ‘quota’ purposes.
    Merit is merit.
    Perhaps the question should be if the judging was balanced.. if so, then this was a waste of an article.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Merit is very rarely merit. It is a subjective decision by the judges.

      • Les says:

        So how do you assess something like a musical performance without subjectivity?

        Objectivity works for a car’s performance, not so successful for music.

      • Jo says:

        Your note is also your subjective view. An a blatant one, btw. So judges hate women, right? All of them? Lights are on, but nobody’s home.

  • geoff says:

    Of the 20 participants listed on the web site only 5 were female. But one Canadian born in Salmon Arm BC!