By Dylan Haney
The Olympics aren”t the only international competition in Utah this year. June 18, the XIII Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition begins at the Rose Wagner Center for the Performing Arts Jeanne Wagner Theatre.
In the contest, 32 pianists from 22 countries, compete for a $73,000 cash prize, along with a boost to their careers.
The competition consists of three full rounds with no elimination, with each contestant playing 95 minutes of repertory. After the third round, six finalists are chosen who will play concertos during the final round in Abravanel Hall, June 28-29.
Paul Pollei, Bachauer founder and artistic director, said, “This is the first time we have ever held the competition in this theatre, and we”re really looking forward to the intimacy this beautiful space provides.”
This year, the competition stands out from other years. The number of applicants is more than any music competition has ever received for a single competition, according to a survey of the World Federation of International Music Competitions produced by the Bachauer Foundation.
“The performances by the auditioning candidates were of the highest level,” Pollei said. “Never before in the history of the Bachauer competitions have we been so overwhelmed with the numbers and quality of auditions. Where we had previously accepted 220-250 applications, this year”s audition reaped over 500 promising new candidates.”
According to Pollei, one major reason more people have applied has to do with the new format for the competition.
In prior years, competitors had to survive several round of elimination. This year, there will only be one elimination at the end of the third round, after each pianist has the chance to perform for 95 minutes.
“The competitors themselves will have occasion to think, prepare, and perform differently and in a more serene and projected way, knowing that their performances will be evaluated during a longer period with more attention to listening rather than eliminating,” Pollei said.
Rounds 1-3 are at the Jeanne Wagner Theatre from June 18-27. Performances are from 2-5 pm. The final round will be June 28-29 at Abravanel Hall at 7 p.m.