The tremendous reach-out of the 2021 edition of the International Chopin Piano Competition, compared to previous editions, has been striking.
Is this a result of broader digitalization or the exploding social media phenomenon in general?
Mr. Laskowski, a spokesman for the Chopin Institute, argues that we are finally seeing the benefits of a lengthy process. In 2010, the competition was first – and in its entirety – uploaded to YouTube, and the competition community began to crave it. It began to increase at an exponential rate. That happened in 2015, when Seong-Jin Cho was the winner.
The Chopin Institute is a government-funded organization whose mission is to make culture accessible and popularize Chopin’s music, as well as that of other Polish composers.
That is why, other from the Chopin Competition video broadcasts, there is no paywall.
Many concerts from the “Chopin and His Europe” festival, as well as recitals from Chopin’s birthplace in elazowa Wola, are also available for free.
When the epidemic hit, most organizations were caught off guard since they hadn’t planned for it.
The Chopin Institute was fully equipped with an audio-visual section.
“In fact, we’re a classical music production firm with a good editor that specializes in broadcasting live shows and has the necessary skills.”
And, as we saw, everyone went online, with varying degrees of quality.
We had the quality since we had been working at that level for a long time,” Laskowski explains.
The Chopin Competition has become not merely a national event, but also a global one.
This raises the issue of brand recognition.
“We believe ‘Chopin’ is a very strong brand, possibly one of the strongest Polish brands in the world.”
The Chopin Competition is the same way. We decided it would be prudent to take advantage of the situation. In a sense, reclaiming the audience’s vitality. They adore us and follow us; they crave competition, so we decided to deliver it to them in the greatest possible way.”
For the first time in history, the Competition will broadcast the entire preliminary round in 2021, with the same technical quality as the 2015 competition finals.
The competition application, as well as a dedicated website with embedded broadcasts, were all added.
Hyperactivity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, as well as other social media platforms.
All of this creates a diverse range of geographical and cultural audiences, as well as an age axis, with those who know how to use the Internet ranging from the very young to the very old.
During the competition, the Polish Television, TVP, collaborates with the organizers since they film the event and supply the transmission signal. It will be broadcast live in Poland on Polish television, with commentary in Polish (on TVP Culture channel).
The competition also has its own English-language YouTube studio. This means that the English-language international channel is YouTube, while the Polish channel is Polish Television.
The competition also collaborates with Polish Radio, which has a long history of broadcasting the entire competition and having analysts in the audience.
“In the Philharmonic hall, we added some set design to make it as festive as possible, to make it stand out.”
We also strive to invite as many journalists as possible from various media outlets, because YouTube allows anybody to watch the tournament from their own home.
People also value high-level remarks and updates from the Warsaw venue.
Jed Distler, who publishes the Gramophone competition blog, and Piano Street, who chronicle every performance with extra music scores, are two examples of press cooperation.
According to Laskowski, this makes the competition more appealing to prospective contestants.
Seong-Jin Cho, the 2015 winner, chose to compete after watching Rafa Blechacz (winner 2005) on YouTube.
“If you’re watching the competition on YouTube right now, like I used to, and you’re a brilliant pianist, it definitely means you’ll be striving to be a contestant in the next edition,” Yike Tony Yang, one of the 2015 laureates, said in the YouTube studio.
Young pianists develop a desire to visit Warsaw and participate.
“In this way, we advertise among young pianists,” Laskowski explains.
Read the full interview about The International Chopin Competition on pianostreet.com.