The Sydney International Piano Competition (The Sydney), including its 2021 Online Competition, aims to recognise and celebrate unique musical artistry in its prizewinners, to locate superb all-round pianists who are ready to undertake major international engagements. The Sydney encourage talented pianists from all over the world who are attempting to launch global careers and try to provide them with necessary skills and contacts to broaden their career opportunities.
The Sydney host a major event, inviting a jury of experienced musicians, most of them performing pianists themselves, but augmented by other musicians of calibre: composers, other instrumentalists, managers. The Sydney are conscious of raising the awareness of fine music and standards of musical performance in the Australian community, adding to the education and awareness of the next generation of talent in Australia. The Sydney aim to support the careers of the winners for several years after their initial success in Sydney.
32 competitors have been chosen by a preselection panel from the applications received for the originally scheduled 2020 competition and they will become the 32 competitors for the 2021 Sydney International Online Piano Competition.
The preselection panel consisted of five pianists/musicians of international experience: the Artistic Director of The Sydney Piers Lane AO, Gwenneth Pryor, Geoffrey Saba, Michael Spring and Kathron Sturrock. None of the preselection panel members have been a teacher of any applicant.
The Sydney’s management carefully reviewed each application to ensure it met the competition criteria. The panel only assessed applications and videos which were fully compliant. The jury was empowered, at its discretion, to disqualify any applicant if the application material supplied was not of a suitable quality for adequate assessment.
The panel members were asked to select their top 32 applicants. They listened in their own time to all of the recorded material. They were encouraged to keep notes on each performance and to deploy their own preferred method of scoring in order to arrive at their decision. Applicants were ranked according to the numbers of votes they receive. Those who received votes from all five jurors were immediately accepted, followed by those who received four, then three and so on, until the requisite 32 competitors were selected. If there was a tie for any remaining place(s) in the 32, the panellists revoted on the tied applicants until a decision was reached. Discussion was allowed at this point.
Reserves were similarly decided. A deserving number of reserves in no particular order have been informed of their status at the time of the announcement of the successful 32 applicants. The Artistic Director reserves the right to approach other applicants until 17 March 2021, should none of the official reserves be available to fill places vacated by withdrawing competitors.
Voting will be done online via email at the end of the Preliminary Round, the Semi Final Round and the Final Round by the jury in their home countries. Vote counting will be undertaken by the non-voting Chairman of the Jury and an independent scrutineer. Each of the seven jurors will submit the number of competitor names equal to the number of spaces available for advancement to the next round. The names will be sorted into groups according to numbers of individual votes. Group A will consist of names with seven out of seven votes from the jury, Group B of names with six out of seven votes from the jury, Group C with five out of seven votes and so on. The competitors who receive the most votes from the jury will advance to the next round. The names from Group A will advance first, then the names from Group B and so on, until the necessary number of places for advancement has been attained.
In the event of a tie for the last place(s), a revote will be held for the tied competitors in order to select just the required number of competitors.
Any juror having, or having had during the preceding five years, a family, teaching, professional or personal relationship with a competitor must declare such a relationship to the rest of the jury. Masterclasses do not count as a teaching relationship. That juror may, if he/she sees fit, include the name of a ‘related’ competitor as one of his/her twelve or six submissions on the voting paper. However, in such cases, the juror’s opinion will not count as a vote on behalf of that particular competitor. When counting the votes for each competitor, that juror’s vote for the competitor will become the ratio between the total number of votes received and number of jurors eligible to vote for that competitor.
Results will be revealed to the jury at the conclusion of Preliminary Round voting and then again at the conclusion of Semi Final Round voting in April 2021, with the Final Round voting in June 2021. Results of the Preliminary Round will be revealed to the public on Friday 9 July 2021, the Semi Final Round on Thursday 15 July 2021 and the Final Round result on Sunday 18 July 2021. The relative standing of competitors in Preliminary and Semi Final rounds will not be revealed to jury or public.