|Dame Fanny Waterman c. Andy Manning (2009)|
Paul Lewis and Adam Gatehouse explained how they wanted to build on Dame Fanny's legacy and develop the competition. As a young pianist, Paul Lewis admitted that competitions had not filled him with joy, that they were something he had to tough out. So he and Gatehouse wanted to redefine what the competition was. They were concerned that the competition be not just about winning, that they could find and nurture all interesting musicians. Also they wanted the competition to be more accessible and outward facing, making it welcoming and enjoyable, and they would be embracing a greater use of digital technology. But of course, a competition is still about winning, and they wanted to make the prize meaningful for the performers, as well as having an international jury.
These are all laudable aims, but what was impressive was the way the artistic team has developed the specifics.
|Paul Lewis & Adam Gatehouse c. Simon Jay Price|
There are plans to stream all the rounds free, thanks to a partnership with Medici TV, and Lewis pointed out that when Medici streamed the 2015 Tchaikovsky Competition there were 10 million hits, with 2 million unique users across 190 countries, a far larger audience than anything Leeds has had so far. And to extend this on-line presence, there will be an on-line audience prize. The BBC will continue partnering the festival and will be broadcasting the finals and semi-finals.
Other partnerships have meant that the prizes have been developed to make them more meaningful for the performers, and not just a financial inducement. Askonas Holt will take on the management of one of the prize winners, Radio 3 will be offering a concert and recordings to the winner, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will offer a concerto performance to the winner after the finals in the concert which opens the orchestra's 2017/18 season conducted by Vassily Petrenko. The Halle Orchestra, which will be playing for the finals, will also be offering concerto appearances for the winners. Partnerships with the Wigmore Hall and the Southbank Centre mean that there will be further recital opportunities for the winners. And Champs Hill Records will be offering a debut CD for the winner.
To make the competition experience sympathetic for the participants they will be housed, fed, watered and cherished together on the Leeds University campus, with an array of fine pianos to play on provided in the homes of volunteers. The winners will be mentored by Paul Lewis and others, and there will be master-classes, talks and films in the mornings. Musicians who do not get through the rounds will stay to participate in the master-classes and in the expanded education programme. Participants will be expected to plan two recital programmes as well as contributing 500 words on their programming, and the competition will also be introducing a chamber music round.
The jury, chaired by Paul Lewis, will be performer led and in 2018 it will include Imogen Cooper, Lars Vogt, and Simon Trpceski.
|Anna Tsybuleva performs @ Wigmore Hall Launch 18.10.16 c. Simon Jay Price|
Elsewhere on this blog:
- The French taste and the Italian taste: Couperin and Brossard from La nuova musica and from Emer Buckley and Jochewed Schwarz - CD review
- Elegance and economy: English Touring Opera in Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria - opera review
- Transcendent dance: Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time - concert review
- Baltic Wagner: Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic - CD review
- Mix of old and new: David Hansen and Brodsky Quartet at Kings Place - concert review
- Sung poetry: Christian Gerhaher and Gerold Huber in Schumann and Dvorak at the Wigmore Hall - concert review
- Cross-cultural friendship: Jean-Guihen Queyras Thrace: Sunday Morning Sessions - CD review
- Delightful evening with a dark backdrop Handel's Xerxes from ETO - Opera review
- Liszt for the 20th century: Kenneth Hamilton plays Ronald Stevenson - CD review
- Interest and disappointment: Holst Singers in RVW - concert review
- Songs of the big smoke: Song in the City's Voices of London - Cd review