The Chopin Foundation of the United States has set the top prize of its Tenth National Chopin Piano Competition to $100,000 for the 2020 event, making it the highest award offered by any piano competition in the country.
This change showcases the need to provide appropriate compensation to artists at the top of their field, just as professionals in other industries are compensated for devoting large amounts of time, years of intense training, and demonstrate a true passion for their craft.
In support of the foundation’s mission to assist the career development of American pianists, its founder and president, Blanka A. Rosenstiel decided to increase the first place prize to $100,000 based on this sentiment.
“From an early age, these talented pianists are dedicated and disciplined. Their talent and hard work deserve this kind of reward and even more,” Rosenstiel said. “The joy that their playing brings to this chaotic world is simply priceless. I hope that once the public experiences the beauty of Chopin’s music being performed so wonderfully, they too will cherish and support these fine pianists.”
In addition to the $100,000 cash prize, the winner of the National Chopin Competition automatically will be accepted to compete in the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw. The Chopin Foundation also arranges an extensive concert tour in the U.S. and internationally for the first prize winner.
“The U.S. competition has such a rich history with so many young American pianists getting much-needed international exposure after their success at our competition,” said Barbara Muze, the foundation’s executive director. “The gold medalist from the 2015 Competition, Eric Lu, is a perfect example. Eric was only 17 years old when he won the National Chopin Competition and he credits the Chopin Foundation for giving him the confidence and concert experience he needed to excel in the international arena.”
He went on to place fourth at the 2015 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw and last summer won first prize at the prestigious Leeds Competition.
“We are extremely proud of his accomplishments,” Muze added.
The second prize winner will receive a cash prize of $30,000 and also is accepted to the International Chopin Competition. Third place receives $20,000 and, along with all other finalists, receives an expense-paid trip to Warsaw to compete in the International Chopin Competition’s Preliminary Round. The rules, repertoire requirements and more information can be found on the foundation’s recently revamped website.
The competition’s jury, comprised of nine highly respected internationally renowned artists, will be chaired by Kevin Kenner, an accomplished American pianist and winner of the top prizes at the International Chopin and Tchaikovsky competitions in 1990.
“The value of holding such a high caliber Chopin competition in the U.S. for American pianists cannot be underestimated,” Kenner said. “It is tremendously instrumental in preparing these young artists for the international stage.”
Rounding out the jury for the 10th U.S. Competition are Ning An, Edward Auer, Dean Kramer, Jon Nakamatsu, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Eva Poblocka, Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron, and Margarita Shevchenko.
The Tenth National Chopin Competition will take place Feb. 22 through Mar. 1, 2020 in Miami. By presenting the events during this time of year, the Chopin Foundation attracts visitors as well as a local audience that enjoys the performances in a vibrant tropical city.
Those not able to enjoy the excitement of the competition in person will be able to watch professionally filmed live broadcasts. As a special addition to the competition week, the Fryderyk Chopin Institute (the presenters of the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw), is presenting a concert by Yulianna Avdeeva on Feb. 28 and in collaboration with the Chopin Foundation. Avdeeva, the Russian pianist who won first prize at the 2010 International Chopin Competition, will make her Florida debut.
The first National Chopin Piano Competition was held in Miami in 1975 under the auspices of the American Institute of Polish Culture and in collaboration with the University of Miami.
The top prize then was $1,000. The competition has been presented every five years since by the Chopin Foundation of the United States and is designed to offer performance opportunities and financial support to American pianists who then represent the United States at the International Competition in Warsaw.
The doundation also offers scholarships to American pianists ages 14-17, concert opportunities, master classes, and an international exchange program. In addition to the National Chopin Competition, the Chopin Foundation of the United States offers a variety of performances and events throughout the year to share the love of classical piano music and Chopin.