Chopin piano competition set for end of month

The Council of Cultural Affairs and the Frederic Chopin Foundation Taipei yesterday joined hands to kick off the 9th Taipei International Youth Chopin Piano Competition which will be held in Taipei from July 24 to August 4.

As part of the Cultural Affairs Council’s initiatives to cultivate more local musical talent for the international musical scene, the piano competition will select the best of the best from a pool of participants, aged 16 to 24.

“This year we have 191 participants from all over the world signing up for the competition, including China, the United States, Japan and Germany,” said Anna Azusa Fujita, president of the Frederic Chopin Foundation Taipei. She pointed out that this year’s competition has attracted an unusually high number of participants – she says is because of improvements in Taiwan’s musical education.

Prizes for the competition will comprise of money awards ranging from NT$60,000 to NT$300,000. The Frederic Chopin Foundation Taipei will also sponsor winners to participate in the Fifth International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland in October, 2005.

In addition, winners of the piano competition will also earn the chance to be recruited into the Cultural Affairs Council’s advocated “Talents Culturing Program” which so far has 41 members and is hoping to expand its membership, said the chairwoman of the Council for Cultural Affairs, Tchen Yu-chiou (陳郁秀).

The program helps bring together young talents with some of the best Taiwanese musicians in the nation and abroad.

“This is the council’s key work for the development of arts education in Taiwan, and ultimately, we hope to build a bridge to connect Taiwan to the international stage,” Tchen stressed.

Drawing a piece of personal advice for the numerous young piano players joining the competition, Fujita said that “polishing up one’s performing skills is essential to a pianist, and in addition to hard work, one also has to allow space for individual style.”

“Japanese people in particular like Chopin a lot, and over the past 50 years, many Japanese pianists have participated in a number of international competitions,” pointed out the world-famous pianist. “Why? It is because Japan’s conservative and rigid social rituals hamper students’ creativity and independence.”

The piano competition is divided into two sections, a children’s section and a young adult’s section. Age qualifications for the children’s section include those born after July 24, 1986 and before July 23, 1991. For the young adult’s section, those born after July 24, 1978 and before July 23, 1986, will qualify. The Competition will take place at the National Chiang Kai-shek Cultural Center Concert Hall (Recital Hall) in Taipei.