Culture & Society News Poland

Poland: Chopin Piano Competition postponed until 2021

Warsaw, Poland – The prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition, held every five year in Warsaw, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Poland’s Cultural Ministry announced on Monday.

Chopin Piano Competition cancelled in 2020

Originally scheduled to take place in October this year, the 18th edition of the competition has been postponed by a full year. It’s now scheduled to be held from October 2-23, 2021.

“I think we all agree that, although possible from the technical point of view, the competition without an audience would not make sense”, Culture Minister Piotr Glinski said, calling it a “difficult but necessary decision”.

Although Poland has already started easing some anti-coronavirus measures, large gatherings, as well as crowded social and cultural events might still be banned for a longer period of time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are sparing no effort to make sure that the 18th Chopin Competition will be as good as we all expected and that it will continue the great tradition forged over the decades”, commented Artur Szklener, head of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw. “The Institute is working intensely to make the move from 2020 to 2021 run as smoothly as possible.”

Organizers said that additional details regarding the new schedule will be made public on May 14.

Tweet of Polish Culture Minister Piotr Glinski announcing the cancellation of the 2020 Chopin Piano Competition
The decision to postpone the International Chopin Piano Competition was “a difficult but necessary one”, Polish Culture Minister Piotr Glinski said on Twitter on Monday.

Andrzej Laskowski, spokesperson for the competition bringing together the world’s most talented and promising professional pianists, said that there won’t be any changes to the list of competitors despite the postponement and that tickets, which had been sold out in a matter of hours, will remain valid next year.

Bringing together the most talented pianists in the world

The International Piano Chopin Competition first took place in 1927 at the Warsaw Philharmonic and has been held every five years since 1955, attracting huge crowds of curious visitors, Chopin enthusiasts, classical music amateurs and circuit professionals.

One of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world, it’s named after legendary 19th century composer and virtuoso Chopin, born in Poland in 1810 despite spending much of his life abroad, including in France where he died and is buried.

Winning the competition is widely considered a significant stepping-stone in any professional pianist’s career, opening the doors of the world’s most prestigious concert halls. Maurizio Pollini (1960), Martha Argerich (1965), Garrick Ohlsson (1970) Krystian Zimerman (1975) and Yung Li (2000) are among the past winners of the contest.

This year, over 160 pianists out of 500 applicants were selected to take part in the preliminary round of the competition. Eighty of them will move on to the first stage. The performances are evaluated by a  jury made up of the world’s most acclaimed Chopin experts.