XVII International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition

I’ve been wanting to have more of my friends write for this blog, and this week’s post has been graciously contributed by my wonderful pianist friend Lauren! Enjoy…


When someone mentions a “Chopin competition,” there is inarguably only one that comes to mind, and that is the Chopin Piano Competition, held in Warsaw, Poland, every five years since 1955. If you haven’t kept up with what’s been going on, for the month of October these marvelous musicians have been competing in what is probably one of the most momentous and memorable experiences of their lives. Many of the performers from previous years–Martha Argerich, Maurizio Pollini, Garrick Ohlsson, to name a brief few–have gone on to fabulous careers and established a name for themselves as a result of participating in this competition, so I have high hopes for some of these phenomenal young artists. I’ve been incredibly engrossed in performance-watching (belated), scoring, artist bio research, interviews, and personal budgetary restrictions for the next five years in hopes of attending the XVIII.

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the chopin competition

Martha Argerich playing a Chopin mazurka in the 1965 Chopin Competition, the year she won.

The preliminaries for the 17th International Chopin Competition in Warsaw are currently underway. Held every five years, this competition has jump-started the careers of superstar pianists like Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Garrick Ohlsson, and Krystian Zimerman. It is also infamous for a kerfuffle among the jury in 1980, when Martha Argerich resigned from the jury to protest the elimination of highly provocative and controversial young pianist Ivo Pogorelić.

You can access live streams of the preliminaries on the Chopin Competition’s Youtube channel, as well as recordings of previous days’ competitors. Every day, competitors play from 10:00am till 8:00 or 9:00pm Warsaw time (except Sunday, which starts at 5:00pm Warsaw time). For those of us on the other side of the Atlantic, that’s 1:00am till 11:00am or 12:00pm Pacific Standard Time.