Discussion:
Chopin competition stage 2 results
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Dan Koren
2021-10-12 20:23:44 UTC
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1. Mr Piotr Alexewicz, Poland
2. Ms Leonora Armellini, Italy
3. Mr J J Jun Li Bui, Canada
4. Ms Michelle Candotti, Italy
5. Ms Yasuko Furumi, Japan
6. Mr Alexander Gadjiev, Italy/Slovenia
7. Ms Avery Gagliano, U.S.A.
8. Mr Martin Garcia Garcia, Spain
9. Ms Eva Gevorgyan, Russia/Armenia
10. Mr Nikolay Khozyainov, Russia
11. Ms Su Yeon Kim, South Korea
12. Ms Aimi Kobayashi, Japan
13. Mr Mateusz Krzyżowski, Poland
14. Mr Jakub Kuszlik, Poland
15. Mr Hyuk Lee, South Korea
16. Mr Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, Canada
17. Mr Szymon Nehring, Poland
18. Mr Kamil Pacholec, Poland
19. Mr Hao Rao, China
20. Ms Miyu Shindo, Japan
21. Mr Kyohei Sorita, Japan
22. Mr Hayato Sumino, Japan
23. Mr Andrzej Wierciński, Poland
Chris from Lafayette
2021-10-12 20:46:55 UTC
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Post by Dan Koren
1. Mr Piotr Alexewicz, Poland
2. Ms Leonora Armellini, Italy
3. Mr J J Jun Li Bui, Canada
4. Ms Michelle Candotti, Italy
5. Ms Yasuko Furumi, Japan
6. Mr Alexander Gadjiev, Italy/Slovenia
7. Ms Avery Gagliano, U.S.A.
8. Mr Martin Garcia Garcia, Spain
9. Ms Eva Gevorgyan, Russia/Armenia
10. Mr Nikolay Khozyainov, Russia
11. Ms Su Yeon Kim, South Korea
12. Ms Aimi Kobayashi, Japan
13. Mr Mateusz Krzyżowski, Poland
14. Mr Jakub Kuszlik, Poland
15. Mr Hyuk Lee, South Korea
16. Mr Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, Canada
17. Mr Szymon Nehring, Poland
18. Mr Kamil Pacholec, Poland
19. Mr Hao Rao, China
20. Ms Miyu Shindo, Japan
21. Mr Kyohei Sorita, Japan
22. Mr Hayato Sumino, Japan
23. Mr Andrzej Wierciński, Poland
Hmm. . . they got rid of almost ALL the Chinese. And I'm sorry to see that Michelle is still around, but Hyounglock Choi (from South Korea) isn't. (Maybe some of the judges didn't like his gender fluidity?) Otherwise, these results are pretty understandable (allowing for the fact that I still haven't seen a lot of them!).
Dan Koren
2021-10-13 04:25:14 UTC
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Post by Chris from Lafayette
Post by Dan Koren
1. Mr Piotr Alexewicz, Poland
2. Ms Leonora Armellini, Italy
3. Mr J J Jun Li Bui, Canada
4. Ms Michelle Candotti, Italy
5. Ms Yasuko Furumi, Japan
6. Mr Alexander Gadjiev, Italy/Slovenia
7. Ms Avery Gagliano, U.S.A.
8. Mr Martin Garcia Garcia, Spain
9. Ms Eva Gevorgyan, Russia/Armenia
10. Mr Nikolay Khozyainov, Russia
11. Ms Su Yeon Kim, South Korea
12. Ms Aimi Kobayashi, Japan
13. Mr Mateusz Krzyżowski, Poland
14. Mr Jakub Kuszlik, Poland
15. Mr Hyuk Lee, South Korea
16. Mr Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, Canada
17. Mr Szymon Nehring, Poland
18. Mr Kamil Pacholec, Poland
19. Mr Hao Rao, China
20. Ms Miyu Shindo, Japan
21. Mr Kyohei Sorita, Japan
22. Mr Hayato Sumino, Japan
23. Mr Andrzej Wierciński, Poland
Hmm. . . they got rid of almost ALL the Chinese.
We need a conspiracy theory -- pronto!

dk
HT
2021-10-13 07:58:16 UTC
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Post by Dan Koren
Post by Chris from Lafayette
Post by Dan Koren
1. Mr Piotr Alexewicz, Poland
2. Ms Leonora Armellini, Italy
3. Mr J J Jun Li Bui, Canada
4. Ms Michelle Candotti, Italy
5. Ms Yasuko Furumi, Japan
6. Mr Alexander Gadjiev, Italy/Slovenia
7. Ms Avery Gagliano, U.S.A.
8. Mr Martin Garcia Garcia, Spain
9. Ms Eva Gevorgyan, Russia/Armenia
10. Mr Nikolay Khozyainov, Russia
11. Ms Su Yeon Kim, South Korea
12. Ms Aimi Kobayashi, Japan
13. Mr Mateusz Krzyżowski, Poland
14. Mr Jakub Kuszlik, Poland
15. Mr Hyuk Lee, South Korea
16. Mr Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, Canada
17. Mr Szymon Nehring, Poland
18. Mr Kamil Pacholec, Poland
19. Mr Hao Rao, China
20. Ms Miyu Shindo, Japan
21. Mr Kyohei Sorita, Japan
22. Mr Hayato Sumino, Japan
23. Mr Andrzej Wierciński, Poland
Hmm. . . they got rid of almost ALL the Chinese.
We need a conspiracy theory -- pronto!
dk
<g> No need. Argerich and Freire aren't present, and the Polish jury does what it does most naturally: claiming Chopin and promoting Poland.

It's time to prepare ourselves for at least one Polish medal winner. Alexewicz and Pacholec seem to be the most popular among Poles. They may even win the golden medal.

With this year's jury, I don't expect an Asian winner. In that case, there remain just 7 other candidates for the golden medal. If the jury also remains male oriented, there remain only 3.

Henk
Herman
2021-10-13 09:29:25 UTC
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Post by HT
Post by Dan Koren
Post by Chris from Lafayette
Post by Dan Koren
1. Mr Piotr Alexewicz, Poland
2. Ms Leonora Armellini, Italy
3. Mr J J Jun Li Bui, Canada
4. Ms Michelle Candotti, Italy
5. Ms Yasuko Furumi, Japan
6. Mr Alexander Gadjiev, Italy/Slovenia
7. Ms Avery Gagliano, U.S.A.
8. Mr Martin Garcia Garcia, Spain
9. Ms Eva Gevorgyan, Russia/Armenia
10. Mr Nikolay Khozyainov, Russia
11. Ms Su Yeon Kim, South Korea
12. Ms Aimi Kobayashi, Japan
13. Mr Mateusz Krzyżowski, Poland
14. Mr Jakub Kuszlik, Poland
15. Mr Hyuk Lee, South Korea
16. Mr Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, Canada
17. Mr Szymon Nehring, Poland
18. Mr Kamil Pacholec, Poland
19. Mr Hao Rao, China
20. Ms Miyu Shindo, Japan
21. Mr Kyohei Sorita, Japan
22. Mr Hayato Sumino, Japan
23. Mr Andrzej Wierciński, Poland
Hmm. . . they got rid of almost ALL the Chinese.
We need a conspiracy theory -- pronto!
dk
<g> No need. Argerich and Freire aren't present, and the Polish jury does what it does most naturally: claiming Chopin and promoting Poland.
It's time to prepare ourselves for at least one Polish medal winner. Alexewicz and Pacholec seem to be the most popular among Poles. They may even win the golden medal.
With this year's jury, I don't expect an Asian winner. In that case, there remain just 7 other candidates for the golden medal. If the jury also remains male oriented, there remain only 3.
Henk
Why don't you just wait and see, instead of predicting dire future scenarios a "we" has "to prepare" itself for?
HT
2021-10-13 10:30:45 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by HT
Post by Dan Koren
Post by Chris from Lafayette
Post by Dan Koren
1. Mr Piotr Alexewicz, Poland
2. Ms Leonora Armellini, Italy
3. Mr J J Jun Li Bui, Canada
4. Ms Michelle Candotti, Italy
5. Ms Yasuko Furumi, Japan
6. Mr Alexander Gadjiev, Italy/Slovenia
7. Ms Avery Gagliano, U.S.A.
8. Mr Martin Garcia Garcia, Spain
9. Ms Eva Gevorgyan, Russia/Armenia
10. Mr Nikolay Khozyainov, Russia
11. Ms Su Yeon Kim, South Korea
12. Ms Aimi Kobayashi, Japan
13. Mr Mateusz Krzyżowski, Poland
14. Mr Jakub Kuszlik, Poland
15. Mr Hyuk Lee, South Korea
16. Mr Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, Canada
17. Mr Szymon Nehring, Poland
18. Mr Kamil Pacholec, Poland
19. Mr Hao Rao, China
20. Ms Miyu Shindo, Japan
21. Mr Kyohei Sorita, Japan
22. Mr Hayato Sumino, Japan
23. Mr Andrzej Wierciński, Poland
Hmm. . . they got rid of almost ALL the Chinese.
We need a conspiracy theory -- pronto!
dk
<g> No need. Argerich and Freire aren't present, and the Polish jury does what it does most naturally: claiming Chopin and promoting Poland.
It's time to prepare ourselves for at least one Polish medal winner. Alexewicz and Pacholec seem to be the most popular among Poles. They may even win the golden medal.
With this year's jury, I don't expect an Asian winner. In that case, there remain just 7 other candidates for the golden medal. If the jury also remains male oriented, there remain only 3.
Henk
Why don't you just wait and see, instead of predicting dire future scenarios a "we" has "to prepare" itself for?
Waiting and seeing is not really an alternative, we have to do that anyway. Predictions can be right or wrong. It makes things more lively - which is good, unless lively is not your thing.

Henk
Herman
2021-10-13 15:28:34 UTC
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Post by HT
Waiting and seeing is not really an alternative, we have to do that anyway. Predictions can be right or wrong. It makes things more lively - which is good, unless lively is not your thing.
Henk
I don't mind predictions, but these hints at ethnic bias aren't my thing.
HT
2021-10-13 17:53:28 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by HT
Waiting and seeing is not really an alternative, we have to do that anyway. Predictions can be right or wrong. It makes things more lively - which is good, unless lively is not your thing.
Henk
I don't mind predictions, but these hints at ethnic bias aren't my thing.
Yes, I remember it from the Leeds competition. In Warsaw, there seem to be two prejudices at play. Let's hope it only looks that way. In other words, let's hope I'm a lousy predictor.

Henk
JohnGavin
2021-10-13 19:31:06 UTC
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I’m going to dwell a bit longer on Bruce Liu. Trying to figure out why I like his playing as much as I do. So I dragged out my really good headphones hooked it up with Apple TV to get the best possible sound I can. Through these the Fazioli sounds incredibly good, and I think the reason why pianists like the Fazioli is that it is super responsive to micro nuances and variations in touch. Those are precisely two of the real strengths of Bruce Liu. There are very very subtle variations in the way he strikes keys on the piano, as if the angle of the fingers varies for the kind of sound he produces, the level of bite or versus a purely singing tone, perpendicular for the first, flatter for the second, and all angles in between. Others may do this too, but not nearly as precisely from what I’ve seen. His alertness to phrasing in this micro-dimension is incredible, as is his continuous concentration, and he does all this in context of the whole.

Of course no pianist excels in every aspect of performance, so listeners will gravitate towards the players who manifest their favored interpretive aspects. I would suggest that there’s one quality the judges can evaluate in a way that we can’t. They are sitting toward the back of the hall and so they can hear how well the pianist projects. We are listening to microphones that are placed close to the piano.
HT
2021-10-14 06:03:42 UTC
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I’m going to dwell a bit longer on Bruce Liu. Trying to figure out why I like his playing as much as I do. So I dragged out my really good headphones hooked it up with Apple TV to get the best possible sound I can. Through these the Fazioli sounds incredibly good, and I think the reason why pianists like the Fazioli is that it is super responsive to micro nuances and variations in touch. Those are precisely two of the real strengths of Bruce Liu. There are very very subtle variations in the way he strikes keys on the piano, as if the angle of the fingers varies for the kind of sound he produces, the level of bite or versus a purely singing tone, perpendicular for the first, flatter for the second, and all angles in between. Others may do this too, but not nearly as precisely from what I’ve seen. His alertness to phrasing in this micro-dimension is incredible, as is his continuous concentration, and he does all this in context of the whole.
Liu has a very personal view on the pieces of Chopin he plays, and usually succeeds in conveying that. In some cases, a slower tempo would have made his performances musically more interesting.

Henk

Herman
2021-10-13 15:33:12 UTC
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After the first round (not having seen all contestants from start to finish) I thought Bruce Liu was a major candidate for the first prize. After the second round I'm not so sure. I hate the word, but he seemed more than a little bland compared to some candidates who really have a personal take on Chopin.

I'm pretty sure Miyu Shindo is not going to win big, but compare her 42/2 Waltz with Liu's (or for that matter anyone's) 42/2, and the latter's version is just a well-done but indifferent thing.
JohnGavin
2021-10-13 17:22:44 UTC
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Post by Herman
After the first round (not having seen all contestants from start to finish) I thought Bruce Liu was a major candidate for the first prize. After the second round I'm not so sure. I hate the word, but he seemed more than a little bland compared to some candidates who really have a personal take on Chopin.
I'm pretty sure Miyu Shindo is not going to win big, but compare her 42/2 Waltz with Liu's (or for that matter anyone's) 42/2, and the latter's version is just a well-done but indifferent thing.
What surprised me was his ending of the Waltz. It sounded like he just threw it away in those last notes - or had an odd lapse in concentration. I still like his playing though - I hope he fares well.
Andy Evans
2021-10-13 19:34:06 UTC
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After the first round (not having seen all contestants from start to finish) I thought Bruce Liu was a major candidate for the first prize. After the second round I'm not so sure. I hate the word, but he seemed more than a little bland compared to some candidates who really have a personal take on Chopin. >
My response exactly. Left me cold. I liked Aimi Kobayashi more for starters. However, I imagine Bruce could play an impressive concerto if he gets that far. I hope I'm wrong in thinking that the more sensitive and imaginative pianists won't win when they go up against the big hitters. I'd be very surprised to see one of the females win. Plus I don't trust the jury. We might just get yet another bland pianist with a brilliant technique, like the Leeds.
Herman
2021-10-13 05:32:06 UTC
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Post by Chris from Lafayette
Otherwise, these results are pretty understandable (allowing for the fact that I still haven't seen a lot of them!).
So what's there to 'understand' if you haven't seen or heard?
Chris from Lafayette
2021-10-13 20:07:29 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by Chris from Lafayette
Otherwise, these results are pretty understandable (allowing for the fact that I still haven't seen a lot of them!).
So what's there to 'understand' if you haven't seen or heard?
Are you being deliberately obtuse, Herman? I have "seen and heard" MOST of the candidates both now and when I wrote that last post. Yes, you're right in the sense that, if I haven't heard a particular pianist, there's no understanding involved. I was speaking of the ones which I HAD heard. Make sense?

Speaking of which, last night, Ms. CfL and I watched the second round performances of a few of the pianists we hadn't seen previously (and who, we now know, have made it into the third round):

Nikolay Khozyainov (Russia) - Excellent articulation, but he had a preference for slow tempos which occasionally added a bit of heaviness to his interpretations IMHO.

Su Yeon Kim (South Korea) - Excellent player, for both imagination and technical control. I really liked her playing. Ms. CfL didn't like her often anguished facial expressions! (But what does that have to do with her playing, I asked!) I mean, I really liked her high heels myself - but what does that have to do with her playing? ;-)

Aimi Kobayashi (Japan) - Although she sometimes seemed to lack sheer power (as in the initial outburst in the Second Ballade), she's an absolute master of pianissimo to piano dynamics - what a variety of nuances she gets within such a restricted dynamic range. In this sense, she's a rival to Pavel Kolesnikov, who already seems to have a great career going. Definitely impressive.

Mateusz Krzyzowski (Poland) - We weren't that impressed, and we agree with Andy that he's a beneficiary of the six Polish judges on the jury!

I also want to say something in general about most of the performances we've heard so far: most of these competitors are oh-so-aware of every little change in harmony or texture (or whatever), and they seem to have been coached to make a point of showing that they're aware by taking some combination of rubato and dynamic changes (and, often, facial expressions and body language too!) at every opportunity. It's all a bit much as far as I'm concerned. And I think that, in general, the Chinese were the worst with this habit. Ms. CfL and I were talking about the possibility that these Chinese pianists are all modeling themselves after Lang Lang - after all, he's the most successful Chinese classical pianist in history (even more than Yuja). They see him on TV or YouTube and they think that that's the way they ought to play.

I think back to something which Ms. CfL's father said to me: "So many pianists today play as if there's an exclamation mark at the end of every phrase!". LOL!
Herman
2021-10-13 20:25:50 UTC
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Like I said before, I wouldn't say no to lessening the ethnic stereotypes.
Most younger musicians move more than the frozen non-dramatic musicians of their grandparents' generation. This goes for orchestra musicians too. String sections show in their body language they're into it.
Also, clearly this generation is aware that Glenn Gould is a successful pianist with high name recognition. Fortunately there is no Gould-like humming, but several pianists in this competition sit rather low, and Gould was a big mover, too.
I have not seen a single Lang Lang like clowning about for the audience.
Chris from Lafayette
2021-10-13 21:58:04 UTC
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Post by Herman
Like I said before, I wouldn't say no to lessening the ethnic stereotypes.
Most younger musicians move more than the frozen non-dramatic musicians of their grandparents' generation. This goes for orchestra musicians too. String sections show in their body language they're into it.
Also, clearly this generation is aware that Glenn Gould is a successful pianist with high name recognition. Fortunately there is no Gould-like humming, but several pianists in this competition sit rather low, and Gould was a big mover, too.
I have not seen a single Lang Lang like clowning about for the audience.
I haven't seen any Lang Lang clowning from the competitors either - nevertheless, younger pianists can take partial influences too, without taking 100% of the entire clowning act. There was one pianist who actually faced the audience and nodded knowingly when she came to one juicy modulation. Frankly, I can do without all that - not that this should have any effect on how the playing itself is evaluated.
Andy Evans
2021-10-13 07:00:13 UTC
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Hmm. . . they got rid of almost ALL the Chinese. And I'm sorry to see that Michelle is still around, but Hyounglock Choi (from South Korea) isn't. (Maybe some of the judges didn't like his gender fluidity?) Otherwise, these results are pretty understandable (allowing for the fact that I still haven't seen a lot of them!).>
6 Poles just isn't right. Apart from Nehring, there's no way they were better than Szuyu Su, Wei-Ting Hsieh, Hyounglok Choi or Aristo Sham. So can we trust this jury? Hopefully the Polish bias only applies to this selection where they are "going through the motions" of showing the world that Poland has good pianists. Unfair, but it's their competition.

But if this bias continues into the next rounds the media won't be so forgiving. Time to shape up and chose the real contestants now.
Herman
2021-10-13 07:20:20 UTC
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Post by Andy Evans
But if this bias continues into the next rounds the media won't be so forgiving. Time to shape up and chose the real contestants now.
Which media? I'm not seeing any front-page coverage in the WaPo or NYT.
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