As home to the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and the American Pianists Assocation Fellowship Awards — and with IVCI head Glenn Kwok recently named President of the World Federation on International Music Competitions (the first American to land the position) — Indy has a firm stake in the future of artistic competitions.
But with the highest profile piano battle in the country, the Van Cliburn, happening in Fort Worth this week, questions are being raised by at least one critic and a former winner about the value of such competitions.
Scott Cantrell, music critic for the Dallas Morning News, asked former Van Cliburn winner Alexander Kobrin what he would do to improve the competition. The pianist replied “I would erase them from the map.”
The story goes on to note that only one past Van Cliburn winner, Radu Lupu, has gone on to become a “genuine artistic legend.”) (See full story here.)
So what is the value of music competitions? Do they truly identify the best? What do they do beyond helping find an audience for yet unknown musicians?
And is not producing legends a good reason to knock the competition itself?