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Chinese international Music Competition
#2849979 05/19/19 12:36 PM
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This is their first year and it is only pianists. The grand prize is $150,000. I believe it ends this week. They are down to three finalists: Alexander Malofeev Russia, Mackenzie Melemed US, and Tony Yun Canada.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=2019+china+international+music+competition+

Re: Chinese international Music Competition
kbrod1 #2850033 05/19/19 02:56 PM
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Thanks for the warning PM! I’ve given up on finding the time to watch them all today and curiosity got the better of me! Delighted to see my personal favourite (Mackenzie Melemed) in the final three. I feel like Alexander is going to win overall as there’s a real head of steam behind him (if YouTube comments are to be believed) but personally I think his performances have been pretty mixed and I think he’s too young to win.


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Re: Chinese international Music Competition
kbrod1 #2850036 05/19/19 03:05 PM
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I agree his performances have been mixed. I think he played Scarbo too fast even though I was astounded with his ability to do so. That said, he will mature in time and be one of the greats in the future.

Re: Chinese international Music Competition
kbrod1 #2850039 05/19/19 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by kbrod1
I agree his performances have been mixed. I think he played Scarbo too fast even though I was astounded with his ability to do so. That said, he will mature in time and be one of the greats in the future.


Who’s your favourite? I think Alexander has to fix his posture as well! I really loved his Appassionata, but I think Mackenzie’s programming has been inspired and he produces a beautiful tone from the instrument.


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Re: Chinese international Music Competition
ShyPianist #2850062 05/19/19 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by kbrod1
I agree his performances have been mixed. I think he played Scarbo too fast even though I was astounded with his ability to do so. That said, he will mature in time and be one of the greats in the future.


Who’s your favourite? I think Alexander has to fix his posture as well! I really loved his Appassionata, but I think Mackenzie’s programming has been inspired and he produces a beautiful tone from the instrument.


My favorite is Mackenzie as well. Alexander is going to ruin his back if he doesn't fix his posture! I think he is slightly overrated as a pianist actually. For me his Beethoven was lacking in musicality.

Re: Chinese international Music Competition
Vilhelm Moqvist #2850073 05/19/19 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Vilhelm Moqvist
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by kbrod1
I agree his performances have been mixed. I think he played Scarbo too fast even though I was astounded with his ability to do so. That said, he will mature in time and be one of the greats in the future.


Who’s your favourite? I think Alexander has to fix his posture as well! I really loved his Appassionata, but I think Mackenzie’s programming has been inspired and he produces a beautiful tone from the instrument.


My favorite is Mackenzie as well. Alexander is going to ruin his back if he doesn't fix his posture! I think he is slightly overrated as a pianist actually. For me his Beethoven was lacking in musicality.


I agree that Alexander’s a little overrated. In fact I may listen to his Beethoven again and see if I like it as much on a second hearing. I actually hadn’t heard a recording of that work for ages. I find his mannerisms more than a little irritating (conducting himself for example) and he seems a little too sure of himself for my liking too, but I think that self assurance is what is convincing so many that he’s the next big thing.


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Re: Chinese international Music Competition
ShyPianist #2850100 05/19/19 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
In fact I may listen to his Beethoven again and see if I like it as much on a second hearing. I actually hadn’t heard a recording of that work for ages. I find his mannerisms more than a little irritating (conducting himself for example) and he seems a little too sure of himself for my liking too, but I think that self assurance is what is convincing so many that he’s the next big thing.

I thought it was very good.

If we go down the path of criticizing a pianist's mannerisms and attitude, there are a number of famous classical pianists that I'd line up against the wall first.

I was about to name a few examples but decided discretion is the better part of valor! grin


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Re: Chinese international Music Competition
Tyrone Slothrop #2850102 05/19/19 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

I thought it was very good.

If we go down the path of criticizing a pianist's mannerisms and attitude, there are a number of famous classical pianists that I'd line up against the wall first.

I was about to name a few examples but decided discretion is the better part of valor! grin


Yes, and there are so many I really don’t enjoy watching for that reason!

Last edited by ShyPianist; 05/19/19 06:04 PM.

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Re: Chinese international Music Competition
kbrod1 #2850105 05/19/19 06:10 PM
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I was thinking I've seen Gould conduct himself that way. That said I'm biased towards Alexander because I've been watching him for several years on youtube.The Russian pianists are amazing. There is a 6 yo Elisha Mysin and an 11 yo female with a beautiful tone Alexandra Dovgan that I follow as well. Should check them out. Alexander does a great Rach 3 on YouTube as well. I actually quite enjoyed Mackenzie here and he has a nicer tone than the others. If they give it to him even better after all Malofeev will probably win the Tchaikovsky next month anyway.

Re: Chinese international Music Competition
kbrod1 #2850112 05/19/19 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by kbrod1
I was thinking I've seen Gould conduct himself that way. That said I'm biased towards Alexander because I've been watching him for several years on youtube.The Russian pianists are amazing. There is a 6 yo Elisha Mysin and an 11 yo female with a beautiful tone Alexandra Dovgan that I follow as well. Should check them out. Alexander does a great Rach 3 on YouTube as well. I actually quite enjoyed Mackenzie here and he has a nicer tone than the others. If they give it to him even better after all Malofeev will probably win the Tchaikovsky next month anyway.


I think I’m just inherently suspicious of hot-housed child prodigies. I’m much more interested in mature, well rounded musicians.


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Re: Chinese international Music Competition
ShyPianist #2850128 05/19/19 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
I think I’m just inherently suspicious of hot-housed child prodigies. I’m much more interested in mature, well rounded musicians.
Child prodigies can be mature and well rounded.

Re: Chinese international Music Competition
pianoloverus #2850133 05/19/19 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
I think I’m just inherently suspicious of hot-housed child prodigies. I’m much more interested in mature, well rounded musicians.
Child prodigies can be mature and well rounded.


Alma Deutcher comes to mind as well-balanced and mature.... but still a kid who composes while she jumps rope 😊

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P7Z5Ufk48aA


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Re: Chinese international Music Competition
kbrod1 #2850179 05/19/19 10:51 PM
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No doubt Malofeev is a prodigy, but good grief, can't anyone just play a beautiful song anymore. All these competitions just seem to be about how many notes and how fast someone can play. Surely the songs are not chosen for the beautiful melodies or the inspiring phrases, but only chosen for how complex and advanced they are. It is starting to sound like speed heavy metal, with about as much anger and anxiety thrown into the mood of the performance. Most of the performers don't look happy, they look stressed and at war. Were is the conflict and hardships that consume their lives? It is no wonder so many young people cannot relate to this and would prefer to do anything but take piano lessons after seeing one of these competitions. When my young daughter watched a few of these, see commented that everyone looked unhappy...except Bowen Li, who she said looked like he was having fun (https://youtu.be/KvhuImwEq6s?t=883). Yes, Malofeev and Melemed are amazing technically, but I don't hear anything emotionally inspiring in these competition performances, just lot's of impressive speed and notes. I don't think they have an once of concern about moving the audience emotionally or transporting the listener to a higher place. Just trying to hold on and survive these very complex pieces while impressing the judges with their speed and technique. Well, maybe that is what a competition is all about these days. Again, amazing playing. No question. But my eyes were dry the entire time.

Feel free to tell me I just don't get it. I'm always open to learn.

Last edited by One Ohm; 05/19/19 10:56 PM.
Re: Chinese international Music Competition
One Ohm #2850207 05/20/19 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by One Ohm
No doubt Malofeev is a prodigy, but good grief, can't anyone just play a beautiful song anymore. All these competitions just seem to be about how many notes and how fast someone can play. Surely the songs are not chosen for the beautiful melodies or the inspiring phrases, but only chosen for how complex and advanced they are. It is starting to sound like speed heavy metal, with about as much anger and anxiety thrown into the mood of the performance. Most of the performers don't look happy, they look stressed and at war. Were is the conflict and hardships that consume their lives? It is no wonder so many young people cannot relate to this and would prefer to do anything but take piano lessons after seeing one of these competitions. When my young daughter watched a few of these, see commented that everyone looked unhappy...except Bowen Li, who she said looked like he was having fun (https://youtu.be/KvhuImwEq6s?t=883). Yes, Malofeev and Melemed are amazing technically, but I don't hear anything emotionally inspiring in these competition performances, just lot's of impressive speed and notes. I don't think they have an once of concern about moving the audience emotionally or transporting the listener to a higher place. Just trying to hold on and survive these very complex pieces while impressing the judges with their speed and technique. Well, maybe that is what a competition is all about these days. Again, amazing playing. No question. But my eyes were dry the entire time.

Feel free to tell me I just don't get it. I'm always open to learn.


See that’s exactly what I don’t think is the case with Melemed. He opened his preliminary round with Sibelius “Valse Triste”, which really grabbed my attention. He also included some pretty much unknown contemporary pieces and one of the lesser played Beethoven sonatas. So I really don’t think he fits the typical competition pianist mode you describe (and which I agree with your views on!).

By “mature” I actually meant literally mature in this sense. Melemed is 24. And I can’t personally believe that any kid who has been recorded playing Rach 3 at 15 (was it?) is a well rounded musician. Hot housing and being well rounded do not go together. Players like Malofeev are excellent at reproducing the greats and looking impressive while they do it.


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Re: Chinese international Music Competition
ShyPianist #2850236 05/20/19 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
By “mature” I actually meant literally mature in this sense. Melemed is 24. And I can’t personally believe that any kid who has been recorded playing Rach 3 at 15 (was it?) is a well rounded musician. Hot housing and being well rounded do not go together. Players like Malofeev are excellent at reproducing the greats and looking impressive while they do it.

Please explain how Malofeev is different than many other professional pianists, in your view. For example, if you feel Malofeev was "hothoused" why don't you feel Martha Argerich was hothoused? Or perhaps you do think she was 'hothoused'? I have to say, based on the results and looking at the ages that my several favorite famous classical pianists first entered the world stage, 'hothousing' must be a great thing.


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Re: Chinese international Music Competition
ShyPianist #2850238 05/20/19 05:07 AM
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Just listened to Tony Yun's Mozart 20. Very nice, clean, sparkling performance but, I dunno, kind of uninspiring?


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Re: Chinese international Music Competition
Tyrone Slothrop #2850240 05/20/19 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
By “mature” I actually meant literally mature in this sense. Melemed is 24. And I can’t personally believe that any kid who has been recorded playing Rach 3 at 15 (was it?) is a well rounded musician. Hot housing and being well rounded do not go together. Players like Malofeev are excellent at reproducing the greats and looking impressive while they do it.

Please explain how Malofeev is different than many other professional pianists, in your view. For example, if you feel Malofeev was "hothoused" why don't you feel Martha Argerich was hothoused? Or perhaps you do think she was 'hothoused'? I have to say, based on the results and looking at the ages that my several favorite famous classical pianists first entered the world stage, 'hothousing' must be a great thing.


I'd say Martha Argerich has proved herself over the decades and maybe Malofeev will too. I guess the difference now is the amount of exposure some of these young pianists are getting at such a young age with YouTube etc. It seems like there are so many youngsters these days who can play virtuosic crowdpleasers that it simply doesn't impress me, not that it ever did. I'm much more interested in thoughtful pianists like Stephen Hough who play varied repertoire including chamber music than in any of the young upstarts or even many of the seasoned "rock star" virtuosos.


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Re: Chinese international Music Competition
ShyPianist #2850268 05/20/19 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
I'd say Martha Argerich has proved herself over the decades and maybe Malofeev will too. I guess the difference now is the amount of exposure some of these young pianists are getting at such a young age with YouTube etc. It seems like there are so many youngsters these days who can play virtuosic crowdpleasers that it simply doesn't impress me, not that it ever did. I'm much more interested in thoughtful pianists like Stephen Hough who play varied repertoire including chamber music than in any of the young upstarts or even many of the seasoned "rock star" virtuosos.

You are describing how they market themselves, and the repertoire they select to play, and not their skill. Continuing with Argerich as an example, she won her first international competition, the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition, at age 16, and was playing Rachmaninoff concertos by the time she was 20. Except for Youtube, she would seem to meet your definition of "hothousing." But if you say that time will tell, then I think we should let time tell and not criticize in their twenties the 'Malofeev's about hothousing as any one of these current crop could have the trajectory of an Argerich, only in a 21st-century variant, vs. 20th-century as Argerich (e.g., pre-Youtube days). Because similarly, one could have criticized a 20+ Argerich in the 1960's, and in retrospect been a bit off the mark.


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Chinese international Music Competition
Tyrone Slothrop #2850271 05/20/19 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
I'd say Martha Argerich has proved herself over the decades and maybe Malofeev will too. I guess the difference now is the amount of exposure some of these young pianists are getting at such a young age with YouTube etc. It seems like there are so many youngsters these days who can play virtuosic crowdpleasers that it simply doesn't impress me, not that it ever did. I'm much more interested in thoughtful pianists like Stephen Hough who play varied repertoire including chamber music than in any of the young upstarts or even many of the seasoned "rock star" virtuosos.

You are describing how they market themselves, and the repertoire they select to play, and not their skill. Continuing with Argerich as an example, she won her first international competition, the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition, at age 16, and was playing Rachmaninoff concertos by the time she was 20. Except for Youtube, she would seem to meet your definition of "hothousing." But if you say that time will tell, then I think we should let time tell and not criticize in their twenties the 'Malofeev's about hothousing as any one of these current crop could have the trajectory of an Argerich, only in a 21st-century variant, vs. 20th-century as Argerich (e.g., pre-Youtube days). Because similarly, one could have criticized a 20+ Argerich in the 1960's, and in retrospect been a bit off the mark.


I'm saying there are certain types of pianists and repertoire I admire and certain types I don't, and I'm as entitled to my opinion as you are to yours surely?


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Re: Chinese international Music Competition
ShyPianist #2850273 05/20/19 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
You are describing how they market themselves, and the repertoire they select to play, and not their skill. Continuing with Argerich as an example, she won her first international competition, the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition, at age 16, and was playing Rachmaninoff concertos by the time she was 20. Except for Youtube, she would seem to meet your definition of "hothousing." But if you say that time will tell, then I think we should let time tell and not criticize in their twenties the 'Malofeev's about hothousing as any one of these current crop could have the trajectory of an Argerich, only in a 21st-century variant, vs. 20th-century as Argerich (e.g., pre-Youtube days). Because similarly, one could have criticized a 20+ Argerich in the 1960's, and in retrospect been a bit off the mark.

I'm saying there are certain types of pianists and repertoire I admire and certain types I don't, and I'm as entitled to my opinion as you are to yours surely?

You certainly are entitled to repertoire you admire, but what does "certain type of pianist" mean beyond classical vs. non-classical and does this relate to you earlier remarks concerning 'hothousing'? Because this now doesn't sound like hothousing.

I only responded in the first place to this thread because you implied 'hothousing' is bad. But your recent remarks about self-marketing, repertoire choices, and even pianist-types don't sound like hothousing. Maybe before I dig any deeper, I should get on the same page with what you mean by 'hothousing.' What does 'hothousing' mean to you?


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across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
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