SEATTLE, WA. One week from now marks the June 30 deadline for the 6th Seattle International Piano Competition. With over $10,000 in total prize money, and an approachable and inclusive format, applications are now trickling in from competitors around the world.
“Although our application process is electronic, prospective participants should still not wait until the last minute,” said Dr. Christopher Bowlby, vice-president of the Seattle Int’l Piano Festival. “As always, most competitors wait until the last minute. Since it is electronic, there is a possibility that things may go wrong; unforeseeable outages could crop up nearer the deadline, or someone’s computer might have an issue. Also, if you need assistance or advice, waiting until the last minute may put you out of luck.”
The Seattle International Piano Festival has hosted the international piano competition since 2008. Now in its 6th edition, the unique competition includes categories for not only professional artists, but also collegiate performers, outstanding amateurs, and three divisions of youth participants.
“It is one of the most unbiased competitions on the planet,” remarked Bowlby. Since 2013, the competition has taken a step further to safeguard the impartial adjudication process of its participants. “We have always had a blind preliminary first round,” he said. And, for the past two years, the final live round at Benaroya Hall in Seattle is also conducted by blind jury.
Participants submit recordings for review by a preliminary panel. Repertoire choices are free and open to the participant, giving the performer the option to highlight his or her greatest strengths. Although of shorter duration in overall performance than most other competitions, participants, when selected have a 50/50 chance to receive a top award, as well as compete for several other distinctions and award money, including best performance of a work by a particular composer, and audience favorite.
During each edition, six competitors from within each of the competition’s categories are selected to compete in the final round in Seattle between October 16 and 19, 2015 during the events of the Festival. The preliminary examination takes place throughout the month of July. “Participants should be receiving results from us at the end of the first full week of August,” said Bowlby.
Thanks to the Seattle Int’l Piano Competition, many of its past laureates have gone on to progress in other notable competitions, including the Van Cliburn, Miami Chopin International, Busoni, among many others.
“Obviously thereʼs no shortage of competitions―even ʻinternationalʼ ones―in the world today,” said Alexander Tutunov. The concert artist and former juror went on saying, “But how many of them are truly offering the real experience in what we think of as a Competition? New philosophy of an enterprise, very encouraging, inviting atmosphere, the best of the best facilities and the perfect location; everything one could dream of without a shade of sacrifice on the part of that true search of quality, well rounded performers of the highest caliber―truly a unique combination of ingredients for a sure success, for everyone involved.”