About winning and losing, competition, rejection and heartbreak

The first jury I served on, I was determined that only the best would win. I suggested to my fellow jurors that we select somebody who could shine in Carnegie Hall rather than play like a well-schooled student. Everybody agreed. We all ranked each pianist and tabulated the results not once, but twice. The pianist who got the most points won. Nevertheless the outcome was disheartening. I thought the silver medalist was outstanding. After the award winners’ gala, I remarked that the second prizewinner would probably become world famous while the recipient of the jury prize might be forgotten. I glanced at my fellow judges — all seasoned musicians — hoping to provoke strong reactions that would betray the culprits who’d propelled the winner to the top. Instead, everybody laughed, and some said, “We’ll see.” And, “Don’t be so sure.”

Israela Margalit – playwright, television and screen writer, author, concert pianist and recording artist – gives some forthright and less than complimentary insights into the world of international piano competitions.

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