Learn how the result of a piano competition had the power to shock an entire nation.
The International Chopin Piano Competition takes place every five years and brings the most talented pianists from around the world to Warsaw, Poland. The one rule for the competition, as its name would suggest, is that pianists may only play the works of Frédéric Chopin. These types of competitions have an unfortunate reputation of being elitist and uptight, but, as you will learn, that could not be further from the truth in this instance.
In this episode, we bring you the story of the 1980 edition of the Chopin Competition and why it was one of the most contentious in recent memory. We’ll also tell you the fascinating story of Ivo Pogorelić, the most interesting yet controversial pianist you’ve probably never heard of. Finally, we’ll attempt to answer some of the difficult questions that the event raises about classical music and the nature of art competitions.
- The Frederic Chopin Institute / official website
- The Riot Police at the Philharmonic & Other Scandalous Histories of the Chopin Piano Competition / on Culture.pl
- 4 Winners of the Chopin Competition Who Became Superstars / on Culture.pl
- It's getting better and better. An Interview with Dang Thai Son / on Culture.pl
- A Foreigner’s Guide to the International Chopin Competition / on Culture.pl
- Ivo Pogorelić / on Wikipedia
- Dang Thai Son / official website
- Frederic Chopin Institute YouTube Channel / interviews with experts who appeared in the episode and lots of performances from various editions
- An interview with Garrick Ohlsson / on the Chopin Institute's YouTube channel
- An interview with Nelson Goerner / on the Chopin Institute's YouTube channel
- An interview with Kate Liu / on the Chopin Institute's YouTube channel
- Ivo Pogorelich Chopin Polonaise op.44
- Ivo Pogorelich Chopin Ballade No.2
- Ivo Pogorelich Chopin Etude Op. 25 No.6
- Ivo Pogorelich Chopin Piano Sonata No.2 Mvt I
- Ivo Pogorelich Chopin Piano Sonata No.2 Mvt. IV
- Dang Thai Son Chopin Concerto No. 2
- Dang Thai Son Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Op. 62
Performances we used in this episode
- Szymon Nehring, Etude in A minor Op. 25 No. 11 (first stage of the 2015 competition)
- Ivo Pogorelich, Chopin Piano Sonata No.2 Mvt 1 (1980 competition)
- Seong Jin Cho, Chopin Sonate B flat minor Op. 35 (second stage of the 2015 competition)
- Dang Thai Son, Chopin Nocturne in E Op.62 (1980 competition)
Frederic Chopin Institute / for all their help and allowing us to use their rich archives.
Paweł Kamiński / professor at Fryderyk Chopin Warsaw University, who kindly allowed us to interview him.
Christine Jezior / director of the stunning documentary Why Competitions for sending us a copy of the film and allowing us to use it in the show.
SFTEW Team: Wojciech Oleksiak, Adam Zulawski, Nitzan Reisner, John Beauchamp & Michael Keller