Message from the Chairman
For centuries after the emergence of Western classical music, many pianists were composers as well as performers, with improvisational abilities. They entertained those who listened, and were revered for their skills accompanied by the spontaneous creativity to tread into unwritten territory. Since those times, improvisation in classical piano music has become a lost art due to specialization of musicians’ roles. On the other hand, improvising has been a key ingredient for jazz.
As a judge in classical piano competitions, I realized that when many classically trained pianists played written jazz pieces, lately popular within competitors, they were often not as proficient as when they played classical pieces. The main difficulty that they shared was feeling the groove, both within swing as well as ballads.
The aim of this competition is to recapture the artistic freedom that was prevalent in the past. Through jazz, the participants will rediscover or further enhance their creativity and personal expression. The requirements and standards of the competition will differ depending on the level of the contestant. It goes without saying that advanced players would also be welcome. For details, please refer to Divisions on the website.
The criteria of assessment would change accordingly based on the divisions. However, beauty of tone is essential and will be taken into consideration for all levels. The team of judges will evaluate the contestants’ performances and offer both written and spoken advice. I hope you will join us, and most importantly, take something away from this experience.