The first in our series of interviews with the jurors for the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia.

Sydney International Piano Competition juror Mira Yevtich was born in Belgrade and started playing the piano when she was three years old. She holds Doctorates from the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory, where she studied with Stanislav Neihaus and the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music, where she studied with Boris Berlin. She has performed in France, Austria, England, Italy, Russia and Australia with internationally renowned conductors including Valery Gergiev, Evgeny Svetlanov, Alexander Anissimov and Yuri Bashmet. In addition to a prolific performance and recording schedule, Yevtich is passionately involved in the development and promotion of young musical talent. Yevtich is a co-founder of the Mariinsky International Piano Festival held in St Petersburg, Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev. The festival is held twice a year with performances from the world’s top pianists.

1. As a juror, what do you look for in a pianist taking part in a competition?
The spiritual development it is the most important for everyone – and I am looking forward to seeing in young performers the depth and constant spiritual development. But… every personality brings different ways both in life and in art.

2. Did you ever compete, yourself, and if so, what do you recall as being good and bad about the experience?
I have been the winner of a competition in Zagreb, Croatia. I had to be a laureate in order to have a position as a concert pianist, with all of the social securities – to be free to practice and to be dedicated to my piano. That is one of the reasons I went to that competition. Otherwise, my way in the performing arts is just mine and very different to anyone else’s.

3. What advice would you give to competitors?
There is no one piece of advice that someone can give to all people. The reason is that we are not all the same and so what is advisable for one is not advisable for another.

4. What advantages do you think competitions give to winners?
I think it is always good to compete, but especially as it brings the artist dedication in his or her work.

5. Do you think competitions are always a good thing?
Regarding the benefit of competitions, there is always a question about what certain competitions bring to the winners. Sometimes it is just the money. The question is, how important is it to win money? Is it important? I think it’s much more important to have exposure. A good competition must bring more exposure, more contacts with future professors, more concert tours, more contacts with other musicians, more contacts with conductors. There is a very good Chinese proverb: it is much more important to teach a man to fish than to give to him a fish.

Tickets for the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia are now on sale.