2022 Competition Rules

The Ninth SIPF Piano Competition, 2022, is open to pianists of all nationalities. Gold medal winners of any prior SIPF Piano Competition are ineligible from competing again in the same category (excluding Outstanding Amateurs and Youth, Ages 9 and under).

For participants familiar with previous editions, note that due to the new hybrid online format, the rules of the 2022 international competition represent several significant changes to prior editions. These changes make the competition more accessible, particularly to pianists around the globe.

COMPETITION CATEGORIES

The Piano Competition has six categories in which participants may compete:

  • youth, age 9 or under
  • youth, ages 10-13
  • youth, ages 14-18
  • amateur (including (A) and (B) sub-categories for degree holding and non-degree holding participants respectively)
  • collegiate
  • professional

COMPETITION ROUNDS

The 2022 competition consists of two rounds for fully-competitive participants (including Youth, ages 10 to 18, Collegiate, and Professional artist categories):

  • a preliminary round based on submitted video recordings (made anonymous to the listening committee)
  • a final hybrid streaming competitive event held October 8-9, 2022 featuring pre-recorded video performances submitted by September 20, which will be made accessible to the public

For semi-competitive participants (including Youth, ages 9 and under, and Outstanding Amateur categories) the competition consists of a single round:

  • a single and final round based on submitted video recordings (made anonymous to the listening committee) with a deadline of May 15, 2020
  • the winners’ video recordings will be published during the streaming event held October 8-9, 2022; a chance for the awarding of additional non-cash prizes

A description of each category and its respective eligibility requirements and rules are listed hereafter.

CATEGORY SPECIFICS

YOUTH, AGES 9 AND UNDER

Participant must be of qualifying age on May 15, 2022.

The first and only round for this category consists of a video recording submittal of the participant performing a piece(s) of his/her choice.

The total video recording comprised of continuous footage must not exceed 8 minutes in length (see “VIDEO RECORDING PREPARATION’ below).

Participants must submit:

  1. a completed electronic application registration
  2. an electronic payment using a credit card in the relevant amount ($120 USD)
  3. original electronically submitted video recording hosted on YouTube or other platform  easily accessible in the USA

YOUTH, AGES 10-13

Participant must be of qualifying age on May 15, 2022.

The first of two rounds for this category consists of a video recording submittal of the participant performing a piece(s) of his/her choice.

The preliminary recording(s) need not be longer than 12 minutes in length (suggested time limit) and may comprise multiple separate links.

Participants must submit:

  1. a completed electronic application registration
  2. an electronic payment using a credit card in the relevant amount ($140 USD)
  3. original electronically submitted video recording hosted on YouTube or other platform  easily accessible in the USA

YOUTH, AGES 14-18

Participant must be of qualifying age on May 15, 2022. Participants, aged 18 or younger who are attending, or have been accepted into, a piano-related music degree program after applying to the Seattle International Piano Competition are still considered Youth, ages 14-18 participants, unless said participant was fully enrolled in such program during any part of the 2021-22 academic year; in this latter case, participants should apply as Collegiate artists.

The first of two rounds consists of a recording of the participant performing a piece(s) of his/her choice.

The preliminary recording(s) need not be longer than 15 minutes in length (suggested time limit) and may comprise multiple separate links.

Participants must submit:

  1. a completed electronic application registration
  2. an electronic payment using a credit card in the relevant amount ($160 USD)
  3. original electronically submitted video recording hosted on YouTube or other platform  easily accessible in the USA

AMATEUR (A)

Participant, aged 19 or older by May 15, 2022, must not currently be working or studying in a vocation related to music at any point during 2021-22. However, the participant must hold an earned degree in music with an emphasis in piano performance, but must not have been studying or earning a living in music at any point during 2022. There is no upper age limit for this category. For the purposes of this competition, note that ‘studying’ is defined as enrollment in a degree program in the piano-related field of music. Taking weekly lessons or coaching with an instructor privately does not constitute ‘studying’.

The first and only round for this category consists of a video recording submittal of the participant performing a piece(s) of his/her choice.

The total video recording comprised of continuous footage must not exceed 22 minutes in length (see “VIDEO RECORDING PREPARATION’ below).

Participants must submit:

  1. a completed electronic application registration
  2. an electronic payment using a credit card in the relevant amount ($160 USD)
  3. a one-page electronic copy of a vitae of musical experience, education, and current vocation (if any). Note that the board may recommend a change from the Amateur (A) to the Amateur (B) category based on information contained in the vitae.
  4. original electronically submitted video recording hosted on YouTube or other platform  easily accessible in the USA

AMATEUR (B)

Participant, aged 19 (revised age) or older by May 15, 2022, must not currently be working or studying in a vocation related to music at any point during 2021-22. The participant may not hold a degree in music, and must not have been studying or earning a living in music at any point during 2022 (although enrollment and incomplete degree status in a music program at some point in the past is acceptable). There is no upper age limit for this category. For the purposes of this competition, note that ‘studying’ is defined as enrollment in a degree program in the piano-related field of music. Taking weekly lessons or coaching with an instructor privately does not constitute ‘studying’.

The first and only round for this category consists of a video recording submittal of the participant performing a piece(s) of his/her choice.

The total video recording comprised of continuous footage must not exceed 22 minutes in length (see “VIDEO RECORDING PREPARATION’ below).

Participants must submit:

  1. a completed electronic application registration
  2. an electronic payment using a credit card in the relevant amount ($160 USD)
  3. original electronically submitted video recording hosted on YouTube or other platform  easily accessible in the USA

COLLEGIATE ARTIST

Participant must be enrolled in a college, university, or conservatory majoring in piano performance program during the 2021-22 academic year. Note that qualification in this division of the competition is based on the academic year during which one applies, not the year in which one participates in the final round. This enrollment must lead to an undergraduate or graduate non-terminal degree program in music (with a major or minor in piano), along a 4-year or 2-year bachelor or associate degree track, master of music degree, or any non-terminal equivalency. Participants enrolled in a terminal graduate degree program in music (such as PhD, DMA, or DM degree programs) are not eligible for the ‘collegiate artist’ category, and are eligible only for the ‘professional artist’ category. There is no upper age limit for this category.

The first of two rounds consists of a recording of the participant performing a piece(s) of his/her choice.

The preliminary recording(s) need not be longer than 20 minutes in length (suggested time limit) and may comprise multiple separate links.

Participants must submit:

  1. a completed electronic application registration
  2. an electronic payment using a credit card in the relevant amount ($180 USD)
  3. original electronically submitted video recording hosted on YouTube or other platform  easily accessible in the USA

PROFESSIONAL ARTIST

Participants must hold the minimum of a Master of Music degree or its equivalent by the date of application into the 2022 Seattle International Piano Competition. This category also includes participants who may be enrolled in a terminal graduate degree music program (such as PhD, DM, or DMA degree programs) during the 2021-22 academic year, or have considerable professional performing experience. Such performance credentials may include such things as membership in a professional management agency, a significant number of annual concert engagements, or other similar criteria. The participant must be either studying or living as a professional musician and/or music teacher during 2022. There is no upper age limit for this category.

The first of two rounds consists of a recording of the participant performing a piece(s) of his/her choice.

The preliminary recording(s) need not be longer than 20 minutes in length (suggested time limit) and may comprise multiple separate links.

Participants must submit:

  1. a completed electronic application registration
  2. an electronic payment using a credit card in the relevant amount ($180 USD)
  3. a one-page electronic copy of a vitae of musical experience and education
  4. original electronically submitted video recording hosted on YouTube or other platform  easily accessible in the USA

COMPETITION FORMAT

The 2022 piano competition consists of two rounds*:

  1. a preliminary round based on video recordings submitted by the participant; and
  2. a final pre-recorded round consisting of continuous video footage to be streamed during a live hybrid event.

The final round proceedings on October 8-9, 2022 will be made accessible to the public.

* Exception: Youth, Ages 9 and under, as well as Amateur categories; for these groups, the competition is considered ‘semi-competitive’, conducted solely from the single round video recordings submitted by the participant by the application deadline of May 15, 2022.

PRELIMINARY ROUND

REPERTOIRE

There are no program requirements outside the widely defined common practice era and contemporary solo art music. Participants are free to choose repertoire in any category, with the exception that no works requiring any sort of preparation or amplification of the piano will be admitted for either the preliminary or final round. No jazz, new age, free improvisation, or pop music of any kind is acceptable. Works performed must be complete movements (no cuts or excerpts allowed). Examples include the entire first movement of Beethoven’s “Waldstein” sonata, Op. 53 or all ten variations of Mozart’s entire set, “Unser dummer Pöbel meint”, K. 455. Miniatures, including etudes, scherzi, dances, and the like, may be chosen singly, completely, or among a subset of selected favorites and need not be presented entirely in their cyclic form. Portions of movements, such as only the prelude from a prelude and fugue by J. S. Bach, or the exposition section of a sonata by Mozart, are not acceptable. All works performed must be solo works. Chamber music, works for 4-hands/2-pianos, or concerti are also not admissible. Participants need not, and should not, include scores with preliminary round submissions or during the final streamed round of the competition.

VIDEO RECORDING PREPARATION

It is to the participant’s benefit to provide a recording of high quality. Recordings with too much background noise or distortion make it difficult for adjudicators to render a fair judgment of technical and artistic qualities. However, recordings need not be professionally recorded. Video recordings must be hosted on a public video platform easily accessible in the USA, such as YouTube.

Participants will be directed in the application page to paste video links of their performances. Before going through the application process, participants must ensure that their video link(s) conforms to the following adherents and permissions:

  • Abstain from setting accessibility limits, privacy, or permissions of the video footage and ensure it is easily viewable to the public.
  • The camera angle must be fixed (no multiple angles), clearly showing the performer’s hands, feet, and face at all times.
  • The footage of the preliminary video must contain no more than 5 seconds of leader (silence) before the commencement of the performance(s); note that during the final round video recording, you may contain more than 5 seconds of silence before the first selection and between each subsequent selection within the continuous uninterrupted performance.
  • The video link may contain the performer’s name, contents, performance venue description, or any other desired promotional material in the text portion and title; however, the participant must refrain from listing any mention of the Seattle International Piano Competition, SIPF, preliminary round, or final round until October 8, 2022.
  • The video link audio must not contain any spoken monologue, dialogue, or any other vocalization that might identify the participant in any way, including age or gender.
  • The participant may list the links in his or her desired play order.

Note that failure to properly scrub any audio artifacts of the participant’s identity, including spoken dialogue or vocalization of any sort on the audio proper, or mention of the Seattle International Piano Competition and Festival contained on the host’s linked page or title will result in the instant disqualification of the participant without notice or refund. The SIPF takes no responsibility or liability to review or sanitize recordings to ensure recordings adhere to the above guidelines and requirements.

Although the video quality must be clear enough to recognize the participant and speak to the authenticity of the performance, the most important aspect is the audio quality. The use of a well-prepared and maintained acoustic piano is strongly urged, as is the efforts taken to produce an audio of high fidelity.

Avoid recording performances with cell phones and low end consumer-grade cameras. Such devices often compress the sound (removing the natural ambiance and compressing dynamic sound levels), yielding poor audio quality. Participants may opt to record at a professional studio, record audio from a sound recording device (such as a flash recorder), or use a higher-grade camera with external microphones and dedicated sound capturing capability.

Note also that providing more than the recommended music time allotment during the preliminary round rarely results in a more favorable outcome.

Review all links carefully and completely so that they are free of flaws or other unanticipated issues. Participants should therefore retain copies of all materials sent to the SIPF Piano Competition, 2022. Recorded performances must be performed entirely from memory (excepting Amateur (B) participants, who are released from this requirement).

Recordings and other submitted materials will not be returned.

PRELIMINARY ROUND PROCEDURES

All preliminary performers are randomly numbered and made anonymous to the listening committee, which will be assembled from a pool of artist teachers. These committees will not be assembled until after all applications have been collected in order to facilitate fair and unbiased adjudication such as might occur when assigning a juror to a category in which a former or current student may be participating.

Although the 2022 Seattle International Piano Competition requires video footage, preliminary and final round juries are conducted solely through blind audio-only examination. The purpose for video footage is for the competition moderators to inspect to ensure accuracy, confirm identity, and observe for potential acts of dishonesty. Jurors will have no access to the video feed.

Preliminary round participants will be selected by the listening committee to compete in the final streaming event accessible to the public during October 8-9, 2022. Selected finalists will be notified shortly on or after August 1, 2022. At that time, these selected participants must prepare their final round program or opt out of the final round proceedings. In the case of opting out, an alternate will be notified. At the time of notification, final round participants have until September 20 to prepare a final round program that consists of continuous video footage, authenticated through a simple infallible process to ensure only dedicated recordings exclusively made for the 2022 Seattle International Piano Competition be used. This process will be outlined along with notification of finalist status on or shortly after August 1. In the case of Collegiate Artist and Professional Artist finalists, an additional required work will be announced that must be contained in the final round program.

A special webpage form will be distributed along with your notification to confirm your status and intent to continue, and also collect your biographical data, photo, and final round video link. Note that Outstanding Amateurs and Youth, Ages 9 and Under must prepare their singular round performance as though it is a final round for the purposes of the regulations and requirements set out hereunder with a deadline of May 15, 2022.

APPLICATION DEADLINE

All preliminary round submission and applications must be submitted by May 15, 2022. For those submitting applications near the deadline, please ensure that all required application materials have been collected and prepared. Incomplete applications or improper submittals may result in delay, or potentially the participant’s disqualification without notice or refund.

FINAL ROUND

REPERTOIRE AND PROGRAM PREPARATION GUIDELINES

The following time limits are imposed for finalists notified to compete with a submitted pre-recorded final round video link. The deadline to submit this final round program is September 20, 2022. The participant’s final round program may be different than or identical to that submitted on the preliminary round recording. Finalists must declare their final round program along with the completed YouTube or similar platform link in accordance to the video preparation guidelines, above, and strictly within the time limits outlined below. If the performer’s total video link duration of continuous performance time (without cuts or stitch/pasted disparate videos) exceeds his or her time, he/she will forfeit any prize. Absolutely no alteration to the submitted repertoire list of the final round may be made at any time once the participant has remitted his or her acceptance and final round links. The final round program must adhere to the same standards and requirements of that listed above in ‘REPERTOIRE’ except where outlined below.

All rules concerning ‘Video Recording Preparation’ above are true for final round recordings, except that the performance must represent continuous footage of the complete final round program without alteration in the form of cuts or piecemeal video compilations. Participants may take time in between presented works so long as the total video time does not exceed the category-specific hard limits set below. To reiterate, there can be no verbal or audio intimation of the performer’s identity during this video. However, participants are free to list whatever details they wish in the title and publisher text areas of the link. Any mention of participation in the SIPF, SIPC, or Seattle International Piano Competition is strictly forbidden in text areas until after the commencement of the October 8-9 streaming event. Judges will have no access to the video footage. Competition moderators will proctor the exclusively audio-only evaluation to sequestered judges, and video will be published on the SIPF’s website and social media at that time to facilitate an online streaming event.

With the exception of Outstanding Amateurs and Youth, Ages 9 and Under, all finalists will be instructed at the time of notification regarding the authentication process that must be included in the final video performance. Other category-specific requirements are listed below.

With the exception of Outstanding Amateurs and Youth, Ages 9 and Under, finalists must create and publish their final round video recording between August 1 and the final round submission deadline of September 20, 2022.

All finalists are encouraged to examine the special non-cash prizes to help tailor their final round selections (this includes Outstanding Amateurs and Youth, Ages 9 and Under for their singular video submission deadline of May 15, 2022).

CATEGORY SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS

YOUTH, AGES 9 OR LESS

Up to 8 unranked winners from the singular round will be published for public access on SIPF website and social media sources between October 8 and 9, 2022.
Each participant’s performance must be 8 minutes or less in length of continuous video footage as set forth above.
Authentication Required: None
Final Round Video Recording Deadline: May 15, 2022 (as a part of the one-round application process)

YOUTH, AGES 10-13

Up to 8 finalists will be chosen to compete during the October 8 and 9 streaming event with public access on SIPF website and social media sources between October 8 and 9, 2022.
Each participant’s performance must be 12 minutes or less in length of continuous video footage as set forth above.
Authentication Required: as instructed during notification of finalist status
Final Round Video Recording Deadline: September 20, 2022 (after Aug 1 notification of finalist status)

YOUTH, AGES 14-18

Up to 8 finalists will be chosen to compete during the October 8 and 9 streaming event with public access on SIPF website and social media sources between October 8 and 9, 2022.
Each participant’s performance must be 14 minutes or less in length of continuous video footage as set forth above.
Authentication Required: as instructed during notification of finalist status
Final Round Video Recording Deadline: September 20, 2022 (after Aug 1 notification of finalist status)

AMATEUR

Up to 8 unranked winners from the singular round will be published for public access on SIPF website and social media sources between October 8 and 9, 2022.
Each participant’s performance must be 22 minutes or less in length of continuous video footage as set forth above.
Authentication Required: None
Final Round Video Recording Deadline: May 15, 2022 (as a part of the one-round application process)

COLLEGIATE ARTIST

Up to 8 finalists will be chosen to compete during the October 8 and 9 streaming event with public access on SIPF website and social media sources between October 8 and 9, 2022.
Each participant’s performance must be 27 minutes or less in length of continuous video footage as set forth above.
Authentication Required: as instructed during notification of finalist status
Required Final Round Work: finalists will be assigned a particular pre-classical composer on August 1; choose one short work from this oeuvre to be included on the final round program (newly imposed for the 2022 competition)
Final Round Video Recording Deadline: September 20, 2022 (after Aug 1 notification of finalist status)

PROFESSIONAL

Up to 8 finalists will be chosen to compete during the October 8 and 9 streaming event with public access on SIPF website and social media sources between October 8 and 9, 2022.
Each participant’s performance must be 27 minutes or less in length of continuous video footage as set forth above.
Authentication Required: as instructed during notification of finalist status
Required Final Round Work: finalists will be assigned a particular pre-classical composer on August 1; choose one short work from this oeuvre to be included on the final round program (newly imposed for the 2022 competition)
Final Round Video Recording Deadline: September 20, 2022 (after Aug 1 notification of finalist status)

FINAL ROUND PROCEDURES

The order of performers within each category will be randomly determined prior to publishing for public accessibility on all SIPF website and social media sources. Both rounds of the competition are conducted by blind jury selected from a pool after all conflicts of interest have been identified and eliminated. The final round jury will be sequestered and unable to access the SIPF website and social media sources during the October 8 to 9 streaming event. All videos published will be made available to the public.

Participants must abstain from any attempt to contact jurors during this time. Any act of dishonesty will result in the immediate disqualification of the participant from any competitive or performance opportunities during the SIPF. 

Due to the online nature of this event, participants from the entire globe may compete in the 2022 Seattle International Piano Festival without the rigors and worries of travel and related costs. All online streaming events are free and accessible to the public.

Opportunities for the public to cast a vote for an ‘Audience Favorite’ prize will be made available in addition to the cash and special non-cash prizes (see ‘PRIZES’ for more detail).

JUDGES’ DECISIONS

The final round will be judged by a pool of internationally trained artists musicians and pedagogues (see ‘JURY’ for more detail). The jurors are not permitted to evaluate a current or former student with whom he or she has worked during the past five years. In such situations, a nonpartisan juror will be selected to substitute in a given category, or vote in the case of a tie. The decision of the jury on both the preliminary round and final round is final and not subject to question, review, or appeal. All participants must agree to waive any and all claims of liability (see ‘Release, Waiver, and Sworn Statement’).

Preliminary round participants and finalists will not receive any written or verbal commentary. This is a common practice in international competitions. This is not a local festival.

All winners, finalists, and semi-finalists will be listed on this website (no requests to be exempt from the list will be accepted). Current instructors of finalists and winners will also be listed on our Master Teachers page.

Awards will be distributed through USPS or other courier. Shipments to domestic US addresses are free of charge. Outside of the USA, winners will be assessed a delivery fee.

TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION

Due to the nature of this edition of the Seattle International Piano Competition, no travel or accommodation is required. It is the responsibility of each participant to find a venue and instrument suitable for video recording, but the SIPF neither advises nor endorses any specific space, recording studio, or performance venue.