"Keep Calm and Carry On" - Interview with Piotr Paleczny

Piotr Paleczny, photo: press materials
Małgorzata Wende talks to Piotr Paleczny, winner of the third prize at the Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in 1970

Małgorzta Wende: What is your take on the first sessions?

Piotr Paleczny: I think it is difficult, especially for the jurors, to make any overarching judgments at this point. However, after hearing the first sessions, I may risk a statement that the level of the competition will be very high. It will certainly be possible to say more after the first stage ends.

You won Third Prize at the 8th Chopin Competition in 1970. What did it mean to you?

It changed my life. I can easily say that my life as an artist began with that Chopin Competition. Although it was my third success at an international competition, it was the most important one. It opened doors to concert halls throughout the world.

What is so exceptional about the Chopin Competition?

Its monographic nature is significant. Musicianship of the highest level is expected, but also the ability to convey emotions in the spirit of Chopin and his era. Therefore, certain elements that make his music more contemporary are allowed and even approved of. Just as in the case of other monographic competitions, whether Beethoven, Bach or Mozart, the main task of this competition is to select from among fantastic pianists the one who best interprets Chopin's music.

What advice would you give participants?

I think each one of these young artists is a distinct individual and I would not dare to give advice. Each one of us, as musicians, has a different psychological construction. What may be good for one may not necessarily work for another. The most important thing is to stay calm. I would like the competition participants to feel the kindness that surrounds them and the care and desire to minimise attendant stress. I hope all of them leave Warsaw with the feeling of a job well done and a smile on their face.

Interview by Małgorzata Wende, October 2010.

The article comes from the Chopin Express gazette published for the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition by Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Gramophone.

View the audition recitals online at chopin2010.pl/en/competitions/xvith-chopins-competition.html

Other articles of interest in Chopin Express No. 06:
"The Jury Between the Wars" - Essay by Stanisław Dybowski

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