Why the male domination of classical music may be coming to an end…

What I've been writing this week. 
Posted in Classical Pit

Just in: BBC Young Musician piano winner leads the charge in Warsaw

We've just received the list of 160 pianists who have qualified for this year's "elimination rounds" at the Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw. Among the initial 160 contestants are five from the UK. Most familiar to our audiences is Yuanfan Yang, winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year piano final in 2012. The others are Otis William Beasley, Ashley Fripp, Kausikan Rajeshkumar and Alexander Ullman.

Those interested in statistics might like to know that Warsaw will host a total of 26 candidates from China, 25 from Japan, 24 from South Korea and 21 from Poland. Russia and the US are each the home of 11 contestants, there are six from France, five from Italy, four each from Canada and Ukraine and two each from the Czech Republic and Taiwan. Further competitors are from Austria, Belarus, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Latvia, Mongolia, Romania, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland and Uzbekistan.

Note, though, that this is just the "elimination round". From these, 80 will be chosen to go forward to the actual competition. Five candidates are being allowed to "bypass" the elimination round, having won other big competitions before.

Last time the Chopin Competition revealed an extraordinary number of fine young artists, with Yulianna Avdeeva, Ingolf Wunder and Daniil Trifonov placed respectively first, second and third.

Good luck, guys. Full list here.

Here is Yuanfan in a spot of Chopin.

Posted in Classical Pit

"This is a period of mass intimidation"

I went to visit rehearsals for The Indian Queen at ENO's West Hampstead studios and found the one and only Peter Sellars, who's directing it, tackling the ongoing situation with hugs.

Substantial interview with him proved fascinating and provocative.

"This is a period of mass intimidation, one where it's no accident that governments are not only cutting the arts but destroying education...They want a frightened, docile population that's easily manipulated – and the arts are about thinking for yourself..." 

Read more of it today in the Independent.


Here's more about the music - "A sadness so deep it's life-giving," says Sellars.

Posted in Classical Pit