Piers Lane

When I told a pianist friend last year that I was applying for the artistic directorship of the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia, he thought I was mad! Most musicians deprecate the gladiatorial aspect of competitions, have sharp reminders of early failures nailed to their minds and hearts for life, and wouldn’t in a pink fit return voluntarily once safely past the age limit! My friend snorted derisively when I said I hoped to change a few things.

Competitions suit some players better than others. Certain musicians respond positively to the pressure, enjoy the adrenaline rush of putting themselves on the line and of training like athletes to play with acute accuracy and irreproachable style at any specified moment. Others, who may on occasion move or excite a concert audience, don’t have the necessary killer instinct or inner resources...

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