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Category: Interviews

The winner will play with us

"Winners of the Chopin Competition are top-class players" – interview with Zarin Mehta, director of the New York Philharmonic.

The New York Philharmonic will play in Warsaw shortly after the Chopin Competition, and they have agreed to perform with the winner...

We accepted an invitation from Elżbieta Penderecka and The Fryderyk Chopin Institute. It will be a remarkable  concert – both for us and for the winner of the Competition. We will perform twice at the Warsaw Philharmonic. Then, we will play together on January 4 for a New York audience at Avery Fisher Hall. The fact that we don’t yet know who we’ll be performing with provides an additional edge. I regret that this concert will not be broadcast in Europe. Global interest in the Competition is enormous. This is influenced by the jury, which this year is largely made up of the winners of previous contests. I believe that Martha Argerich is among them, right? It certainly helps to create a good image for the Competition.

Aren’t you afraid that the winner might fail to meet the challenge, intimidated by the fame and reputation of the New York musicians?

I don’t think it’ll be a problem. Winners of the Chopin Competition are top-class players. Musicians such as Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, as well as Rafał Blechacz, have performed with us. The audience in New York can’t wait for the result of the Competition. We don’t yet know the names of the winners, but tickets for January’s concert are selling well.

What do you think of competitions in general?

My main complaint relating to competitions is that, at the moment, there are too many. Therefore, it is not easy to advise young artists which they should participate in. Of course, participation in the most prestigious ones offers great opportunities and helps you gain experience in how to cope with stress. But they don’t really predict whether someone will have a successful career or not. There are, after all, many famous musicians who have never taken part in a competition. Many times, the runnersup have done better than the winners. Winning, in fact, does not predict anything.

Interview by Klaudia Baranowska. The interview published by courtesy of the “Chopin Express” editorial staff.
Zarin Mehta

Zarin Mehta