Longy School to host piano competition

CAMBRIDGE CHRONICLE & TAB – Boston Piano Amateurs Association celebrates its 10th Boston International Piano Competition June 5-8 at Longy School of Music’s Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall, 27 Garden St., Cambridge.

The four-day biennial event draws competitors from around the globe. Competition rounds and awards presentations are open to the public, under the leadership of Competition Director Robert S. Finley.

The competition attracts adult amateur pianists age 30 and above. Contestants are often doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, accountants or flight attendants, in addition to performing as technically adept and musical piano amateurs. Many have multiple accolades on their competition resume, having performed in recital and with orchestras locally and internationally.

The 2019 roster boasts 56 competitors summoning from Japan, China, Russia, Germany, France, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada and from across the United States, some local to Boston.

A 2017 competitor in the Boston International Piano Competition, image by Chloe Bartlett

“It is gratifying to witness how much our competition has grown, and how highly regarded it has become, attracting wonderful pianists from all over the world, inspiring and motivating all of us to improve our level of performance to the highest standard possible,” said Finley. “It is a joy to contribute to enriching the cultural life of Boston and to interest fans new and old with classical music and exceptional piano performance.”

The Boston International Piano Competition is divided into gold and silver streams. The silver stream features two rounds, preliminary and final, with 15-minutes maximum of repertoire from each competitor in each round. The jury listens to silver stream contestants and selects several to progress to the final round. The jury then listens to the finalists and selects first, second and third prize winners.

The gold stream is a three-round competition with preliminary, semifinal and final rounds of 15, 15 and 30-minutes in duration. The jury listens to the preliminary round contestants, selects semifinalists, listens to select the finalists, and then listens to the finalists to select the grand prizewinner, second and third prize winners.

Longy School of Music’s Pickman Hall Steinway Piano, image by Chloe Bartlett

An awards ceremony is held on Saturday where prize winners, including the grand prize winner, are announced. Special prizes for the best performances of romantic, classical, baroque and modern piano pieces are awarded, as well as an audience prize, selected by audience ballot.

The competition is webcast live and judged by five concert pianists and professors of piano from New England Conservatory, the Boston Conservatory and Boston University and the Longy School of Music at Bard College, including Michael Lewin, Eri Nakamura, Jonathan Bass, Wayman Chin and Gila Goldstein.

Competition winners are awarded cash prizes, and the grand prize winner performs in recital the following calendar year.

The preliminary round is scheduled from 12:15 to 8:30 p.m. June 5-6. The silver stream finals and gold stream semifinals are 1:30-8 p.m. June 7. The gold stream finals are 1:30 to 5 p.m. June 8.

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