The results briefly caused a scandal in some circles, based on who was admitted, who wasn’t, and which of the selected studied with members of the selection committee. I heard lots of professors abuzz in NY and here in Cleveland. Apparently after the last Cliburn Competition, right when the list of competitors was announced, there was a huge deal about Veda Kaplinsky’s selection of so many of her own students?
Does anybody know how she got to be so powerful? Somebody said she has a very powerful stockbroker husband? How did she become head of the piano department at Julliard? Did she ever record anything? Does she ever perform? Did she publish anything? Did any of her students win competitions before she sat on their juries?
Surely the above questions have nothing to do with whether or not she’s a good teacher, which likely she is, but one only asks because so many young pianists work so hard expecting a fair playing field from competitions, which is why some wisely avoid them altogether. Everywhere one goes, one hears stories about her manipulations in juries. Any truth to this?
That seems to be the case! Unless we go back to Radu Lupu, winning first prize in the Cliburn seems almost a ticket to obscurity in most cases. As for Lupu, he literally told them to go screw themselves when they offered him two years of concerts, saying that he needed to go back to Moscow to study more. And look where he is now! Cliburn himself never seemed to say no to any engagements, and alas seems to have burned his wonderful talent out. The Tchaikovsky Competition, so long as Dorensky is involved, seems to be dismissed in almost all quarters across the world…
Oh wow, did she really say that? I suppose she might be right with certain competitions. I wonder though, since the people running them treat it as a game, if this is the same reason competitions are not taken too seriously overall anymore?
This is quite true! However, there is also another fascinating trend in our generation, of critics and audiences alike taking notice of young artists who have found other paths: Jonathan Biss, Lang Lang, Orion Weiss, Yevgeny Kissin, Piotr Anderszewski, Arcadi Volodos, are a few examples.
I’ll take issue with at least half of your message! You are not a nobody. You are a fantastic pianist with a very original and interesting personality, and a very engaging human being who always reaches out to others. That’s not nobody!
It depends quite a bit, especially in the last twenty years. I’ve heard some people argue that winning certain major competitions these days has had no impact whatsoever (Cliburn, Cleveland, Tchaikovsky) and particularly with the Cliburn, there is a little saying that winning first is “a ticket to obscurity.” It seems the Pogorelich made his name by not winning, as did Freddy Kempf. Yuja Wang and Lang Lang both had the advocacy of prominent conductors to help their careers. There are also certain sectors of the classical music magazines which are suspicious of artists who have won too many, ironically! So it’s all a matter of perspective. Some of it also depends on the definition of superstar, which often has little to do with great artistry in the first place. Some artists like Leif Ove Andsnes and Imogen Cooper, for example, seem to have built up their careers steadily, and through real accomplishment and consistent personal growth, such that they can today play where and when they wish. They don’t have Deutsche Grammophon recording contracts, but there are plenty of labels out there as well. I remember overhearing Krystian Zimerman advising a young pianist: “if you can afford not to do competitions, please don’t do them.”
Well, when winning a major Competition (let’s take the Chopin Competition now because it’s the most prestigous of all imho) you’re certainly getting a real hype for a while.
Take Yundi Li for example, when he won it in 2000 he was very hyped. However it’s huge public presence, on the internet e.g., started 1-2 years later. This “Japan_2002” video where he plays Rigoletto, Sunflowers and Campanella is the oldest after-competition video of him I know of.
Many other videos followed like the Grammophon Recording of Fantasie Impromptu, etc.
But I haven’t really heard of him for quite a few years already…it nearly seems that he vanished completely after his hype.