The Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition


The Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition is one of the oldest and most prestigious music competitions in the world. It is also among the group of few monographic piano competitions dedicated to the musical performance of one composer.

The first Chopin Competition took place in 1927 at the Warsaw Philharmonic. Jerzy Zurawlew, an outstanding Polish pianist, padegogue and composer was the competition's initiator.

Subsequent competitions were held, at five-year intervals, in 1932 and 1937. The fourth post-war edition of the competition was organized in 1949 and the fifth in 1955. From that year the Fryderyk Chopin Competitions are held at regular five-year intervals. The organizer of the first three events was the Higher School of Music of the Warsaw Music Society. After the war, the competitions were conducted with the co-partipation of state authorities, i.e. the Ministry of Culture, which commissioned and coordinated preparatory activities. Since 1960 till 2005, the main organizer of the competition was the Fryderyk Chopin Society in Warsaw. The 16th edition in 2010 is being prepared by Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina [Fryderyk Chopin Institute].

The Chopin Competition belongs to the World Federation of International Music Competitions in Geneva since 1957.

The pianists' performances are evaluated by an international jury chaired by such outstanding Chopin experts as: Witold Maliszewski (1927), Adam Wieniawski (1932, 1937), Zbigniew Drzewiecki (1949, 1955, 1960, 1965), Kazimierz Sikorski (1970, 1975), Kazimierz Kord (1980) and Jan Ekier (1985, 1990 and 1995). In the years 2000 and 2005 the Jury was chaired by prof. Andrzej Jasiński.

The competition consists of several stages and since 1970 there are four stages in the competition. During the first three stages the pianists perform Nocturnes, Etudes, Ballads, Scherzos, Polonaises, Waltzes, Mazurkas and Sonatas and for the final, one of Chopin's Concertos.

In 2005 the rules of the 15th competition introduced substantial changes. For the first time a preliminary round obligatory for all candidates was held prior to the Competition (September 2005). Due to the large number of applicants (350) the preliminary auditions were held simultaneously at two venues - the Music Academy and the Palace of Culture and Science (PKiN). The main competition consisted of two stages and a final. In the first stage participants were offered a choice. In addition to the obligatory pieces lasting about 20 minutes, each pianist could choose other compositions from a list to make up a 40-45 minute recital. Most pianists chose three groups of preludes (each including 6), from no. 7 to no. 24, Prelude in C sharp minor op. 45, Rondos, Scherzos, the Bolero, the Tarantella, Impromptus, rarely performed waltzes, etudes and other pieces. In the second stage, in addition to mazurkas and a sonata (required in the third stage of previous competitions), contestants had to play one of the great polonaises. As before, a concerto finished the auditions in the final.

The competition rules foresee several main prizes and special awards: the Polish Radio prize for the best Mazurka performance, the Fryderyk Chopin Society in Warsaw prize for the best Polonaise, and the prize for the best performance of a Concerto awarded by the National Philharmonic.

The Chopin Competitions are accompanied by a number of events including fringe concerts, meetings and panel discussions. Since 1975, one of the fixed points on the program are the anniversary celebrations of Fryderyk Chopin's death. The 17th of October is included into the competition's calendar and is recognized as the day that hommage is paid the composer. On this occasion, a ceremonial mass is held at the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw during which Wolfgang Amadeusz Mozart's Requiem is performed.

The Fryderyk Chopin competition is open for pianists from age 17 to 28.

Grand prize winners included:

  • The 1st Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1927
    • I - Lew Oborin (Soviet Union)
    • II - Stanisław Szpinalski (Poland)
    • III - Róża Etkin-Moszkowska (Poland)
  • The 2nd Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1932
    • I - Alexander Uninski (USA)
    • II - Imre Ungar (Hungary)
    • III - Bolesław Kon (Poland)
  • The 3rd Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1937
    • I - Jakov Zak (Soviet Union)
    • II - Roza Tamarkina (Soviet Union)
    • III - Witold Małcużyński (Poland)
  • The 4th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1949
    • I - ex aequo: Halina Czerny-Stefańska (Poland) and Bella Dawidowicz (Soviet Union)
    • II - Barbara Hesse-Bukowska (Poland)
    • III - Waldemar Maciszewski (Poland)
  • The 5th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1955
    • I - Adam Harasiewicz (Poland)
    • II - Wladimir Aszkenazi (Soviet Union)
    • III - Fu T'Sung (China)
  • The 6th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1960
    • I - Maurizio Pollini (Italy)
    • II - Irina Zarickaja (Soviet Union)
    • III - Tania Achot-Haroutounian (Iran)
  • The 7th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1965
    • I - Martha Argerich (Argentina)
    • II - Arthur Moreira-Lima (Brasil)
    • III - Marta Sosińska (Poland)
  • The 8th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1970
    • I - Garrick Ohlsson (USA)
    • II - Mitsuko Uchida (Japan)
    • III - Piotr Paleczny (Poland)
  • The 9th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1975
    • I - Krystian Zimerman (Poland)
    • II - Dina Joffe (Soviet Union)
    • III - Tatiana Fiedkina (Soviet Union)
  • The 10th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1980
    • I - Dang Thai Son (Viet-Nam)
    • II - Tatiana Szebanowa (Soviet Union)
    • III - Arutiun Papazjan (Soviet Union)
  • The 11th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1985
    • I - Stanislav Bunin (Soviet Union)
    • II - Marc Laforet (France)
    • III - Krzysztof Jabłoński (Poland)
  • The 12th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1990
    • I - no winner
    • II - Kevin Kenner (USA)
    • III - Yukio Yokoyama (Japan)
  • The 13th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 1995
    • I - no winner
    • II - ex aequo: Philippe Giusiano (Francja) and Alaxei Sultanov (Russia)
    • III - Gabriela Montero (USA)
  • The 14th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 2000
    • I - Yundi Li (China)
    • II - Ingrid Fliter (Argentina)
    • III nagroda - Alexander Kobrin (Russia)
  • The 15th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw 2005
    • I - Rafał Blechacz (Poland)
    • II - no winner
    • III - ex aequo: Dong Hyek Lim and Dong Min Lim (South Corea)
    Polish Music Information Center
    Polish Composer's Union
    January 2002
    Updated: 2006


    Międzynarodowy Konkurs Pianistyczny im. Fryderyka Chopina
    Towarzystwo im. Fryderyka Chopina
    ul.Okólnik 1
    00-384 Warszawa
    Phone: (+48 22) 826 81 90, 827 54 71, 827 95 89
    Fax: (+48 22) 827 95 99
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