There’s always an issue with people complaining that piano or art isn’t about who is better and saying that everyone is entitled to his own taste.
I think this conflicts with the general idea of a piano competition. I’ve been questioned in my other thread on why I believed that competitions are integral to the music world. I never particularly worshipped the idea, but you jave to go out and admit that it exists.
What I want to know is how you feel about the concept of piano competitions, and if they are indistinct or not from the insinuations that art isn’t about who is better.
It’s true - the jury’s taste is what matters. However, with this, I think it is incosistent to insist that art should not be about competituon, if one is directly in agreement with the practice in the first place. Unless there is some invisible line I have not noticed.
Personally, I don’t have a very strong or well-formed opinion on the matter, as I am not an experienced musician. But the way I go about it is, competitions are fine, though I try to keep.my views transparent - the juries might like certain pianists, but that does not mean everyone has to like their playing the most. In short, it only ever matters as the juries’ opinions.
I think they’re good. I have faith in the process, and without them it might take forever for good pianists to get a career going unless they’re lucky to be picked up by a famous conductor or heard by a prospective record company manager. Through competitions we often get a spotlight on good pianists from when they’re still in their 20s, and without that spotlight I think many would be in danger of giving up and seek an income in more traditional ways.
The unfortunate thing about comps is that winners are necessarily picked from an averaging process. The opinion of one mofo might not mean much, but when several knowledgeable mofos vote in ensemble you tend to get informed results - it’s just that the really important musicians are practically invariably strong musical personalities who will detract some with their interpretations as much as they attract others. I think this is possibly especially true when you let other pianists judge, who aren’t necessarily used to taking in many different views of a piece and who might often have a stiff view him/herself about it from having played or looked at it personally. I have more faith in “great” pianists with this who have a proven ear for quality art, but I’m much less at ease with Kevin Kenner & co who if anything rather have proven insufficient artistic talent :wim: (I know it’s not quite that easy, but I do think the vector is there).
I haven’t looked at it in detail, but I bet some clever mathematics can help getting around this. Top scores from judges need to be much more heavily weighted than they typically are. I don’t know, maybe simply Σxi^2 is a better measure than Σxi.
See? The entire point is that “personal taste” absolutely matters in the careers of musicians.
That is to say, I just think there are times when an automatically hostile attitude towards this spirit of “competition” is already unwarranted. The fact is that people view some as better (more favourable) than others, and this is accepted and propagated, means the all-too-familiar argument against “comparisons” become pointless and kind of ironic.
I mean, pick a side man. And if you do, you don’t need to put down the opinions of others.
Tl;dr - It’s ironic. You have people saying all the time artists should not compared. Why then are there still competitions?
But yes, I guess you can’t avoid bias. Competitions are kind of fun anyway, it’s just when killjoy old people grumble about why comparisons are wrong yet apparently being totally fine with artistic contests that the hypocrisy tends to show itself all too blatantly.
Personal taste determines whether you’re in to something or not, it doesn’t determine whether it’s any good or not. Quality isn’t something you can simply tie to individual preference - there’s no accident it’s Beethoven, Picasso, Horowitz, Donatello etc who have survived in to our time, it’s that their works are better than what the vast majority of others have achieved who have attempted their craft. In sports assessing quality is often easy and can be done by any mofo with a stopwatch, in the arts it requires experience, intelligence, and some artistic talent in said field of your own.