In a recent interview with Xiting Yang, we recently caught up with this 2019 President’s Prizewinner. She talks about her experiences during the Seattle International Piano Competition and her what has happened since that time. Some commentary from Ms. Yang:
Ivona Kaminska: From the perspective of building a career in music, what role does SIPC play?
Xiting Yang: Participating in competitions is part of every pianists’ professional life, but not a lot of competitions could claim that they are as transparent and fair as the SIPC. Having participated and won awards in the SIPC definitely helped build my resume as a more credible and competitive young pianist in the profession.
IK: How important is (or was) the blind jury process…that judges know nothing about you and only judge based on the music?
XY: It is very important to me. I understand that the blind jury process is widely used in orchestral auditions. I find the process to be as fair and impartial as it can be. When I listen to music, I find myself free of preconceived notions when I am listening just with my ears and not with my eyes.
IK: We try to make the SIPC equitable and easy to enter. How do you recall the experience from the application phase to the end of the final round?
XY: I thought the application process was easy and I received the result within a reasonable time frame. After I got the invitation to go to Seattle for the final round, the SIPC team reached out and set up the host family quickly. On the day of the competition, I felt very much at ease and was able to focus on my performance easily. Chris and Ivona made sure the competitors were comfortable backstage without interruptions before their go time. One small suggestion for future in person competition: someone could sit out front in the lobby/entrance to show the competitors to backstage area.
IK: Can you update us on what you have been doing since the SIPC?
XY: I have graduated with my doctorate from the University of Michigan and have gone on to have a position at Loyola University New Orleans as a Visiting Professor of Piano. In Spring 2022, I will have concerts in Grosse Pointe, Michigan; New Orleans, LA; Tampa, Florida. I will also return to the Oregon/Washington area in May to perform several concerts. I have also started an interview series called The Backstage, life behind the music where I talk with prominent musicians in the field and get to know their stories.
IK: Any other comments you have to encourage to your peers to attend the SIPF?
XY: SIPC is the best competition I have ever entered. I truly loved my experience performing in Benaroya Hall; Ivona and Chris have been so supportive of my career and journey as a rising young professional; I also keep in close touch with my host family in Seattle… I feel like I have a musical family in Seattle.