International Chopin Competition

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Hall of the Warsaw National Philharmonic during the 2005 International Chopin Competition

The International Chopin Competition ( Polish : Międzynarodowy Konkurs Pianistyczny im. Fryderyka Chopina ) is one of the oldest and most prestigious music competitions in the world. It is also one of the few piano competitions dedicated to the work of a single composer.

The main idea of ​​the competition is to promote young pianists , the participants are allowed to be 17 to 28 years old. There are lucrative contracts waiting for the winners in the best concert halls.


Public viewing at the International Chopin Competition 2015

The first competition took place in the Warsaw National Philharmonic in 1927 , and the initiator is the Polish pianist and pedagogue Jerzy Żurawlew . Further events took place in 1932 and 1937; after the interruption due to the war, the competition was held in 1949 and 1955. The competitions have been held every 5 years since 1955. The event has been part of the World Federation of International Music Competitions since 1957 and has been organized by the Chopin Society since 1960 .

In 1980 Martha Argerich , member of the jury and former winner, resigned her mandate during the competition after the participant Ivo Pogorelich did not make it to the final.

In 2015, the final of the candidates was recorded for the first time by Deutsche Grammophon with the intention of publishing the winner's contribution as a sound carrier. The competition was recorded in its entirety by six cameras and broadcast live on Polish television , on the Internet and as a public viewing on large screens in Warsaw.

The competition originally planned for 2020 was canceled due to the corona pandemic and will instead take place in 2021.

Jury members

Jury of the 2nd Chopin Competition 1932. From left: Marian Dąbrowski, pl: Józef Turczyński, de: Eugeniusz Morawski-Dąbrowa, Juliusz Kaden-Bandrowski, Józef Śmidowicz, de: Paul Weingarten, Marguerite Long, Adam Wieniawski, de: Carlo Zecchi, Stanisław Niewiadomski, de: Zbigniew Drzewiecki, Zofia Rabcewiczowa, de: Franciszek Brzeziński, pl: Jerzy Żurawlew

Important musicians and composers acted as jury members, B. Martha Argerich , Vladimir Ashkenazy , Stefan Askenase , Wilhelm Backhaus , Paul Badura-Skoda , Nadia Boulanger , Dang Thai Son , Bella Davidovich , Philippe Entremont , Fou Ts'ong , Nelson Freire , Vera Gornostayeva , Arthur Hedley , Alfred Hoehn , Mieczysław Horszowski , Vladimir Krainev , Marguerite Long , Lazare Lévy , Loris Margaritis , Nikita Magaloff , Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli , Heinrich Neuhaus , Vlado Perlemuter , Maurice Ravel , Arthur Rubinstein , Emil von Sauer , Magda Tagliaferro , Karol Szymanowski , Witold Lutosławski , Lidia Grychtołówna , Adam Harasiewicz and Li Yundi .


Applicants will submit a video recording of the compulsory repertoire of the 1st round of the competition in order to qualify for the elimination round. In 2015 there were 445 submissions from applicants from 27 countries, 160 of which were invited to Warsaw for the preliminary round. In 2015, pianists from the Far East dominated the qualifiers, especially from China (26), Japan (25) and South Korea (24). Applicants from Poland (21), Russia (11) and the United States (11) also qualified. One pianist each from Germany and Switzerland applied.

Of the 160 applicants invited, 80 qualified who were invited to the first round of the actual competition. Four applicants were placed who had already been among the top three winners in other competitions. Ultimately, 78 pianists took part in 2015. The pianists can choose which grand piano they want to play on. Each applicant has 15 minutes to do this. In 2015 you could choose between Steinway , Yamaha , Kawai and Fazioli . 43 candidates remained for the second round and 20 candidates for the third round. 10 pianists were finally allowed to take part in the final round.

Prescribed repertoire

The Polish President at the concert of the laureates; 16th International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, October 21, 2010

A repertoire of Chopin works is prescribed for each round, from which the candidates can choose works they want to perform. If the prescribed time is not filled, the repertoire can be supplemented with one or more Chopin works. However, the pieces may not be repeated in the individual rounds.

1 round

2nd round

  • one of the four ballads (No. 1 in G minor op. 23; No. 2 in F major, op. 38; No. 3 in A flat major, op. 47; No. 4 in F minor, op. 52) or the Barcarolle in F sharp Major Op. 60, the Fantasia in F minor or one of the four Scherzi (No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20; No. 2 in B minor, Op. 31; No. 3 in C sharp minor, Op. 39 ; No. 4 in E major op.54) or the Polonaise Fantasy in A flat major op.61
  • one of the waltzes (E flat major op.18; A flat major op.34 no.1; F major op.34 no.3; A flat major op.42; A flat major op.64 no.3)
  • one of the polonaises (Andante spianato and polonaise in E flat major op.22; F sharp minor op.44 ; A flat major op.53) or both polonaises from op.26

3rd round

Final round

In the final round, the selection consists only of Chopin's two piano concertos:

In 2015 nine candidates decided to perform the 1st piano concerto, one applicant chose the 2nd piano concerto. You play with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra with a changing line-up, but with the same conductor ( Jacek Kaspszyk ).

National Philharmonic (Warsaw), Chopin Competition 2015, Auditorium
Sold out concert hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic at the Chopin Competition 2015. The 17-member jury sits in first place in the middle.

Award winners

Prize winner of the Chopin competitions
year 1st prize (gold medal) 2nd prize (silver medal) 3rd prize (bronze medal)
1927 Soviet Union 1923Soviet Union Lev Oborin PolandPoland Stanislaw Szpinalski PolandPoland Róża Etkin-Moszkowska
1932 Soviet Union 1923Soviet Union Alexander Uninski HungaryHungary Imre Ungár PolandPoland Bolesław Kon
1937 Soviet Union 1923Soviet Union Jakow Sak Soviet Union 1923Soviet Union Rosa Tamarkina PolandPoland Witold Małcużyński
1942 not carried out
1949 PolandPoland Halina Czerny-Stefańska Bella Davidovich
Soviet Union 1923Soviet Union
PolandPoland Barbara Hesse-Bukowska PolandPoland Waldemar Maciszewski
1955 PolandPoland Adam Harasiewicz Russia Soviet Federal Socialist RepublicRussian SFSR Vladimir Ashkenazy China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China Fou Ts'ong
1960 ItalyItaly Maurizio Pollini Russia Soviet Federal Socialist RepublicRussian SFSR Irina Tsaritskaya IranIran Tania Achot-Haroutounian
1965 ArgentinaArgentina Martha Argerich BrazilBrazil Arthur Moreira-Lima PolandPoland Marta Sosińska
1970 United StatesUnited States Garrick Ohlsson JapanJapan Mitsuko Uchida PolandPoland Piotr Paleczny
1975 PolandPoland Krystian Zimerman Russia Soviet Federal Socialist RepublicRussian SFSR Dina Joffe Russia Soviet Federal Socialist RepublicRussian SFSR Tatiana Fiedkina
1980 VietnamVietnam Dang Thai Son Russia Soviet Federal Socialist RepublicRussian SFSR Tatiana Shebanova Russia Soviet Federal Socialist RepublicRussian SFSR Arutiun Papazjan
1985 Russia Soviet Federal Socialist RepublicRussian SFSR Stanislaw Bunin FranceFrance Marc Laforet PolandPoland Krzysztof Jabłoński
1990 not forgiven United StatesUnited States Kevin Kenner JapanJapan Yukio Yokoyama
1995 not forgiven FranceFrance Philippe Giusiano Alexei Sultanov
United StatesUnited States Gabriela Montero
2000 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China Li Yundi ArgentinaArgentina Ingrid Fliter RussiaRussia Alexander Kobrin
2005 PolandPoland Rafał Blechacz not forgiven Korea SouthSouth Korea Dong Hyek Lim Dong Min Lim
Korea SouthSouth Korea
2010 RussiaRussia Julianna Avdeeva RussiaRussia Lukas Geniušas Ingolf miracle
RussiaRussia Daniil Trifonov
2015 Korea SouthSouth Korea Seong-Jin Cho CanadaCanada Charles Richard-Hamelin United StatesUnited States Kate Liu

Special prices

A tradition of the competition is the award of special prizes by the jury:

  • since 1927: Polish Radio Prize for the best mazurkas performance
  • since 1960: Prize of the Chopin Society for the best performance of a polonaise
  • since 1980: Prize of the National Philharmonic Orchestra for the best performance of a piano concerto
  • since 2010: Krystian Zimerman Prize for the best performance of a sonata
Special prizes for the best performance
year mazurka Polonaise concert sonata Polonaise Fantasy op.61
1927 Flag of Poland (bordered) .png Henryk Sztompka
1932 Alexander Uninski (stateless)
1937 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Jakow Sak
1949 Flag of Poland (bordered) .png Halina Czerny-Stefańska
1955 Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Fou Ts'ong
1960 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Irina Zaricka Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Irina Zaricka
1965 Flag of Argentina.svg Martha Argerich Flag of Poland (bordered) .png Marta Sosińska
1970 Flag of the United States.svg Garrick Ohlsson Flag of Poland (bordered) .png Piotr Paleczny
1975 Flag of Poland (bordered) .png Krystian Zimerman Flag of Poland (bordered) .png Krystian Zimerman
1980 Flag of Poland (bordered) .png Ewa Pobłocka Đặng Thái Sơn
Flag of Vietnam.svg
Flag of Vietnam.svg Đặng Thái Sơn Tatiana Schebanowa
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg
Flag of Vietnam.svg Đặng Thái Sơn Tatiana Schebanowa
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg
1985 Flag of France (7x10) .svg Marc Laforêt Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Stanislaw Bunin Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Stanislaw Bunin
1990 Not forgiven Flag of the United States.svg Kevin Kenner Wojciech Świtała
Flag of Poland (bordered) .png
Not forgiven
1995 Not forgiven Not forgiven Not forgiven
2000 Not forgiven Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Li Yundi Chen Sa
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg
Not forgiven
2005 Flag of Poland (bordered) .png Rafał Blechacz Flag of Poland (bordered) .png Rafał Blechacz Flag of Poland (bordered) .png Rafał Blechacz
2010 Flag of Russia (bordered) .svg Daniil Trifonov Flag of Russia (bordered) .svg Lukas Geniušas Flag of Austria (state) .svg Ingolf miracle Flag of Russia (bordered) .svg Julianna Avdeeva Flag of Austria (state) .svg Ingolf miracle
2015 Flag of the United States.svg Kate Liu Flag of South Korea.svg Seong-Jin Cho Not forgiven Flag of Canada (bordered) .svg Charles Richard-Hamelin

Szymon Nehring (Poland) won the 2015 Audience Award , which was determined through an online vote.

XVIII. Chopin Competition 2020 postponed

The XVIII. The Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition was to take place in Warsaw from October 2nd to 23rd, 2020.

People between the ages of 16 and 30 can participate. Applications should be sent to the Fryderyk Chopin Institute by December 1, 2019, along with the required documents (including a DVD recording of the pieces the pianist would like to perform in the first phase). After examining and evaluating the submitted materials, the qualification committee appointed by March 9, 2020 selected a list of around 160 pianists who were admitted to the qualification exams. The eliminations should take place on April 13-24, 2020. The jury, appointed after the public hearing of the candidates, was to select around 80 pianists by April 25, 2020, who should be admitted to the main competition in October.

COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the elimination was initially postponed to September 18-29, 2020. A record number of over 500 applications were submitted for the 18th Chopin Competition. 164 pianists from 33 countries qualified for the preliminary round, including 18 artists who were admitted by winning prizes in the piano competitions specified in the regulations. The most numerous are representatives from China (34), Japan (31), Poland (19) and South Korea (16); with several participants from Italy, Russia, the USA, Canada and France. The jury has selected around 80 pianists who are allowed to take part in the competition. Their names were announced immediately after the elimination.


The winners of some prestigious piano competitions will be admitted to the main competition without the need to appear in the qualifying rounds. The following were selected:

  1. Piotr Alexewicz - Poland (1st prize, OKP Warsaw 2020)
  2. Avery Gagliano - USA (1st Prize, Miami 2020)
  3. Adam Kałduński - Poland (1st Prize, Beijing 2019)
  4. Szymon Nehring - Poland (1st Prize, Tel Aviv 2017, Audience Award 2015)
  5. Evren Ozel - USA (2nd Prize, Miami 2020)
  6. Kamil Pacholec - Poland (2nd Prize, Bydgoszcz 2019)
  7. Piotr Pawlak - Poland (1st prize, Darmstadt 2017 and 2nd prize, OKP Warsaw 2020)
  8. Yutong Sun - China (2nd Prize, Santander 2018)
  9. Tomoharu Ushida - Japan (2nd Prize, Hamamatsu 2018)

XVIII. Chopin Competition 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 18th Chopin competition has been postponed to 2021. An execution without a spectator was rejected. The competition will take place in the Warsaw Philharmonic from October 2 to 23, 2021. The Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Piotr Gliński , and Artur Szklener , Director of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw, decided, after additional consultations with the Polish Ministry of Health , to postpone the competition from October 2020 to October 2021.

All tickets for the 2020 Chopin Competition were sold out in just three hours. All tickets purchased for the sold out event remain valid. However, tickets can be returned:

  • Return by the end of 2020 - with a refund of 100% of the ticket fee
  • Return by March 31, 2021 - with a refund of 60% of the ticket fee
  • Return by June 30, 2021 - with a refund of 20% of the ticket fee.
  • Tickets cannot be returned after July 1, 2021.

Should tickets for the Chopin competition be returned, an option to sell the additional ticket contingent in 2021 will be considered.

The list of pianists already accepted for the competition remains unchanged. The elimination rounds will take place from April 17th to 28th, 2021.

The competition tests are divided into three stages, from October 3rd to 7th, October 9th to 12th and October 14th to 16th. The final concerts are planned for October 18-20. From October 21 to 23, three winners' concerts will take place.

Simpleicons Business calendar-with-a-clock-time-tools.svg Competition calendar
procedure Dates 2021
2.10 3.10 4.10 5.10 6.10 7.10 8.10 9.10 10.10 11.10 12.10 13.10 14.10 15.10 16.10 17.10 18.10 19.10 20.10 21.10 10/22 23.10
Opening concert
I. stage 10:00 am
5:00 pm
10:00 am
5:00 pm
10:00 am
5:00 pm
10:00 am
5:00 pm
10:00 am
5:00 pm
II stage 10:00 am
5:00 pm
10:00 am
5:00 pm
10:00 am
5:00 pm
10:00 am
5:00 pm
III. stage 10:00 am
5:00 pm
10:00 am
5:00 pm
10:00 am
5:00 pm
final 18:00 18:00 18:00
Concerts of the winners

The prize money is € 40,000 for the winner, € 30,000 for the runner-up, followed by € 20,000 for 3rd place and € 15,000, € 10,000 and € 7,000 for the subsequent places.

Web links

Commons : International Chopin Piano Competition  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The Olympic Games for Pianists. The Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw ( Memento from October 5, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). In: BR-Klassik . October 2, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  2. Seong-Jin Cho. In: Deutsche Grammophon website . October 2016.
  3. No less than 160 pianists from 27 countries will fight to participate in the 17th Edition. ( Memento of the original from November 26, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: Website of the Chopin Competition 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2017.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. ^ Rules of the Competition Jury. In: Website of the Chopin Competition 2015 (PDF; 246 kB). Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  5. a b c Chopin Competition - Behind the scenes / announcement of the winners. In: YouTube . Deutsche Grammophon, November 4, 2015, accessed November 4, 2015 (English).
  6. New Dates For The Preliminary Round of the 18th Chopin Competition: September 18-29, 2020 , March 23, 2020. Accessed April 26, 2020.
  7. ^ Regulations , Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  8. Qualifiers , March 12, 2020. Accessed April 26, 2020.
  9. Competition tickets , Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  10. Calendar of the XVIII. International Piano Competition Fryderyk Chopin , Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina. Retrieved June 27, 2019.