Congratulations, and welcome to the Second American Paderewski Piano Competition.
You have reached this stage of our Competition by distinguishing yourself in a highly selective audition process, meeting a set of rigorous standards set by our Selection Jury. High standards are a common theme to competitions of this caliber; indeed, the namesake of this competition, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, famously set demanding personal standards for his own practicing: “If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days, the audience notices it.” He was also known to set high standards for the audience, saying, “When they began to talk, I would stop.” Unlikely as we are to experience the latter condition during this Competition, it is worth taking a moment to consider the high standards to which you will be held over the next several days.
Most obviously, you will be held to high standards of technical skill and musical expression. You have already proven that you are among the best in your field, and we reasonably hold high expectations for your performances. Doubtless you have also set yourselves several specific goals regarding your performances, goals which are essential to your continued progress as musicians. Yet there are the standards of others to consider, namely, your responsibility to the standards held by the audience. Your audience will be quite varied: some will be Paderewski enthusiasts, while others will have a more general interest in classical music. Many will be highly critical listeners (the jurors preeminent among them), while others may be young students just embarking on their musical studies. Your performances will be opportunities for this diverse audience to share in the pleasure of having their high expectations met, and of inspiring many (especially those still in the early stages of their studies) with your displays of professionalism and collaboration as you learn from each others’ performances. Your dedication to the musical, intellectual, and emotional demands of this audience, both now and in the future, will largely determine whether you are seen to be a musician who meets the highest standards of our profession. By performing on this stage, you have an opportunity to meet those standards and earn the respect, admiration, and accolades that are your due.
Congratulations again on your participation in the Second American Paderewski Piano Competition.
We all look forward to watching you meet and exceed the high standards of our Competition.
With best wishes,
Dr. Wojciech Kocyan and Prof. Adam Wibrowski
Artistic Directors of the Paderewski Music Society
See also: About the Competitors