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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Coaster: I think Ronald's intent was just the opposite: great regard for your playing -- but he just put some of it inaptly.
(BTW that's not the same as "ineptly"!) grin

....although, I also was a bit uncomfortable with how he put some of it.
I agree 100% with what you are noting here.
The way I see it is just that "heaven storming" isn't what you do -- which doesn't mean your technique isn't very high level.

What bothers me is his his assertion that I don’t program big pieces and he refers to my choices as “double axels”. That’s rather insulting. I named three that I’ve done in competition... unless those three are considered easy?


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Originally Posted by coaster
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Coaster: I think Ronald's intent was just the opposite: great regard for your playing -- but he just put some of it inaptly.
(BTW that's not the same as "ineptly"!) grin

....although, I also was a bit uncomfortable with how he put some of it.
I agree 100% with what you are noting here.
The way I see it is just that "heaven storming" isn't what you do -- which doesn't mean your technique isn't very high level.

What bothers me is his his assertion that I don’t program big pieces and he refers to my choices as “double axels”. That’s rather insulting. I named three that I’ve done in competition... unless those three are considered easy?

I apologize that my post did not go the way I wanted to say. What I really want to say that those guys using their bombastic pieces from the beginning. You did not use your big pieces from the beginning. For example : In Boston, you were still saving your big pieces till the end, yet those guys played super big pieces from the first round. If you had played your big pieces from the first round, I have no doubt you would have been one of the finalist. I really think the scenery had changed, the competitors need to change their strategy.

Regarding the double Axle : I do not remember all your pieces in the semifinal of Boston. I remember your French Suite No. 5, it sounded like a professional playing. However, I considered this a double axle, if compared to others', they played Hammer Klavier, Mephisto Waltz, etc, which I considered a quadruple axle for an Amateur level. Don't you agree. I am comparing only that particular stage. Had you taken out your Ballade, etc, you would be using the same ammunition as those guys.

To summarize, you play as well as those guys, just you did not use as big of pieces as those guys in the first and second round of the competition. I think the judges agreed too. I cannot think any other reason why you did not advance.

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Originally Posted by coaster
These are double axels?
Vallée d'Obermann
Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #11
Chopin's Ballade #1

Ask any of the guys I compete against if they agree with you that I can't compete on their level, technically.

I would agree that people are beginning to program more pieces of this type of technical difficulty, so yes, I probably need to program more blockbusters if I want to continue placing in the top ranks of these competitions. But that is a shame because it comes at a loss of performing other beautiful repertoire that shows different style. It should be about more than just showing your chops because you think you have to in order to win.

Those are quadruple axle category! You have three, so use one of them for each stage as those guys did.

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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
....Those are quadruple axle category! You have three, so use one of them for each stage as those guys did.

Maybe good strategic advice, but I hope it isn't!! -- I hope (and do think) that at most of these events, the judges aren't like that.

And, I would hate to see people like Coaster having to change from how they would like to approach these events for the sake of [considerations] like that.

BTW, I really wanted to say a 4-letter word there, not "considerations." ha

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
....Those are quadruple axle category! You have three, so use one of them for each stage as those guys did.

Maybe good strategic advice, but I hope it isn't!! -- I hope (and do think) that at most of these events, the judges aren't like that.

And, I would hate to see people like Coaster having to change from how they would like to approach these events for the sake of [considerations] like that.

BTW, I really wanted to say a 4-letter word there, not "considerations." ha

At least give a try. Coaster is way more musical than some of the people in the final! Some of them really gave me headache!
The judges will adjust, once they heard so many people play blockbuster pieces, they will think that level difficulties up there. if the judges heard 9 of the 10 semifinalists playing, say, Ballades, and you were the only semifinalist who played, say, Waltz (Minute Waltz to be exact), do you think you will have a lot of chance to be ahead of the other 9? Assuming they play the Ballades as well as your Minute Waltz.

I know for a loooooong time you have been insisting that the level of difficulties of the pieces does not impact the result. I really think the game has totally changed now. Again, the same like in the figure skating world. Long time ago, the level of difficulties was way lower than today's standard. Now, if a male figure skater doesn't do quadruple axles, you are not considered up to the par.

My point is that if we have the chop, use it. It is not a private recital. This is a competition (be beautiful, delicate, agile, fast, passionate and strong)!

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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
....I know for a loooooong time you have been insisting that the level of difficulties of the pieces does not impact the result....

Never said that at all.

What I've said about it is maybe more complex than what you can put in a nutshell, but I never said anything close to that.

The main thing I've said about it, including in this thread, is that I agree that people have a better chance to advance with "quadruple axel" repertoire but I think it's primarily for a different reason than what you're saying.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by trigalg693
..... plan on playing a lot of Liszt or other "big" Romantic era pieces if you want to advance and win.
Don't agree at all.
Play what you love most and what you play very well.

Not just because it's best in general to play that kind of stuff, but because (I think, including from experience at these places) it's also your best chance to win.

Certainly your best chance to advance -- without the slightest doubt -- and, I would say also, best chance to win.

From the above posting in 2018, you are more into playing what one likes or loves. Basically, you suggest that people play something that they are good. I agree with your assertion for people who have limited numbers of pieces that he can play well (don't force for the sake of playing big pieces. I saw many of these too). But for good pianists like Coaster, there is no reason to be timid, for her competitors are far from being timid. They went full force from the beginning!

If I had time, I would be able to find your posting saying that piece selection is not important...just play well! I do not have the energy to find it. I always remember what people say!

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Ronald, cut the carap. grin
Please.

No, you would not find any such.
The thing is, and pardon my saying so: Oftentimes you aren't much into subtlety or complexity. You often make a thing into black-or-white positions or ideas, then you rigidly and persistently repeat and defend your idea, and you make other people's ideas into simplistic things that they aren't.

I've never spoken to you quite like this before, but I am now, because the way you posted to Coaster was (as I gently put it) inapt, although well intended, and now you're making a view of mine into a thing that it never was.
Please just recognize that maybe you didn't quite get it, or are misremembering it. If you really believe you could find my saying what you are insisting I said, be my guest and look for it, but you won't find it.

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Mark,

Just acknowledge that the amateur piano competition had changed dramatically and your strategy DOES NOT work!
I have been observing since 2010 (actually even earlier 2007), and concluded that the formula to advance or place is very simple. It involves only two things, as I stated in the past :

1. The contestant piano backgrounds. They must be either highly educated pianists (people with piano degree) or ex-prodigies. People like you and I are not in this category, that is why it is virtually impossible to even pass the first round in the modern amateur piano competition (after 2010). Before 2010 is different story. The standard was low. Pardon my saying, when was the last time you advance to the second round? Coaster is in the category of strong piano background, we are not of her caliber. Don't even think that we are in the same category! People like us, honestly, should just watch the amateur competition. Real amateur like us should enter only 2 rounder category. Unfortunately, lately many people from the strong piano background started entering the 2 rounder category. By the way, you also against 2 rounder category which I think perfectly designed for people like you and I.

2. Piece selection. It is very important for those who want to advance or place. People with strong piano background have tons of pieces that they can play well, regardless they like the pieces or not. For limited ability pianists like you and I, I agree to play something that we can play well (we don't have the luxury of choosing anyway). Don't apply your limitation to people who can play many pieces. Again for Coaster, you have the ammunitions, you need to use it accordingly! The situation dictates what you need to use.

The strategy that I was always prescribing is for people with strong piano background (people who have chances to place), not for weak ones who enter piano competition just for entertainment or ego boosting purpose! If we include the weak ones into the mix, yes the strategy will become complicated! I am not into this kind of subtlety.

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Ronald
I have not participated in a competition so I’m just curious about your role in these (I.e., participant, organizer or observer) and why you always post such disparaging posts about the competitions. If I were considering applying and read your posts, I would have second thoughts.

Your attitude is quite different than many who participate here and participate frequently in competitions and enjoy them


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Your attitude is quite different than many who participate here and participate frequently in competitions and enjoy them

Speaking for myself, I totally agree. Playing competitions since 2016 has been a life changer for me. The joys of meeting and, yes, competing with some of the best non-professional pianists in the world more than compensate for the occasional disappointments and inexplicable jury decisions. As for rising standards, that is indeed really happening, evident even in formerly backwater competitions like WIPAC. To which I say, bring it on. Striving to be good enough to compete with the best is, well, a very good way to become good enough to compete with the best!


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I'm not going to try to talk further to Ronald in this thread because it's evidently not constructive (although, I ought to mention, he and I actually met at one of these events, and that was very nice), but 'for the record':

About "my strategy" "not working":

I never knew I had "a strategy" grin except to the extent that perhaps he's talking about the thing of mine that he quoted, which is that in general people who come to these competitions -- especially those who aren't yet familiar with them and are contemplating coming for the first time, which was the context of that post -- are best advised to play pieces that they love and in which they have the greatest confidence -- and I hold to that 100%.

But it's not "my strategy," just a bit of strong advice.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
. . . in general people who come to these competitions -- especially those who aren't yet familiar with them and are contemplating coming for the first time -- are best advised to play pieces that they love and in which they have the greatest confidence -- and I hold to that 100%.

Hard to argue with that "strong advice", which I don't think applies only to first-timers. In the case of the Cliburn, it's unlikely that anyone who actually gets in doesn't have some impressive repertoire under their belt. ("Impressive" doesn't just mean big and flashy in a Dante Sonata kind of way.) So I would add to Mark's recommendation by suggesting that saving one's best for last is not necessarily a fabulous idea because there there may not be a last, especially if you do that in the current environment. There should be something at every stage that's impressive in a way that will capture the jury's attention.


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oh wow. it's so interesting to hear about amateur competitions. It's a great idea, I think. I'm wondering if there are any where I am based (in Europe, in eastern Europe, to be more precise)


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Originally Posted by Kvar
oh wow. it's so interesting to hear about amateur competitions. It's a great idea, I think. I'm wondering if there are any where I am based (in Europe, in eastern Europe, to be more precise)
There's been an amateur Chopin competition in Warsaw, every 3 years since 2009. Next one would be due next year; don't know if they're planning on having it then.
I went the first two times, and it was wonderful.

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Hi, Kvar -- In addition to the Chopin in Warsaw, there's also one in St Petersburg, Russia which occurs every year. They refer to it as "Piano Bridges", and I've heard good things regarding it. They run a two-tiered program -- one for amateur pianists with a piano performance degree and one without.

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Advice I received after I flamed out 1st round Cliburn: it may be wise in the first round (and beyond) to program less known repertoire. "Wrong" notes or even deft detours might be overlooked by judges even though they have the score in front of them. Few will follow every measure of a piece they've never played, and they have to look up to write comments. Novelty may pique their interest, and they might have less glandular opinions regarding interpretation. Safer, to my mind, than playing any piece by Chopin. The 2016 Cliburn winner opened with McIntyre Butterflies and Bobcats. No doubt he could have opened with Bach or Mozart (or Chopin) with equal technical perfection and elan, but he didn't. (He did play my opener, much better than I , in the next round.)


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I just want to note for any apprehensive readers thinking of competing that you don't need a performance degree and don't need to have been a 'prodigy' to compete or do well (based on my brief and extremely enjoyable experience in the most recent San Diego competition, where the playing might have been just a bit below Cliburn levels is the impression I get online).

Gotta bust your ass if you want to do well though. Make up those hours!

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Originally Posted by Papa D
(based on my brief and extremely enjoyable experience in the most recent San Diego competition....

I'm so glad you mentioned that, because I didn't know, or at least didn't recall, that there was one of those any time recently. I had thought that the one and only time they did it was several years ago.

I'm very surprised if I didn't notice that they had it last year, which I see that they did -- but it's better than if I did notice it and knew all about it and have just completely forgotten about it. ha

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Yes, I'm astounded their isn't an exhaustive sort of live-document with all the competitions that exist out there. No doubt new competitions want to get their word out, and existing ones to expand their tent in hopes of getting stronger competitors and greater prestige. In fact, that would seem like exactly the kind of thing this forum should have!

The group that put on the competition (https://www.amateurpianists.org/) is putting on Zoom concerts, and I wonder if that would afford an opportunity to 'perform' in this 'Rona era, even remotely. I wonder if there are other places that have similar opportunities. I'm certainly more disciplined with a carrot!

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