No Winner - Pittsburgh Concerto CompetitionNews: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra declares "no winner" in their YouTube concerto competition. I don't think this has been discussed yet on v.com. What do you think?
From Liz Farley Metzger
They're trying to save face by saying they intended to find an unknown without professional representation (which is a clear part of the promo materials)
... that is already playing at the level of the soloists they already book (Yo-Yo Ma, Emmanuel Ax, Yuja Wang, Joshua Bell, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Sarah Chang have all had recent or upcoming dates). *That* part of it was *not* clear, or even mentioned, in their YouTube promo. It just said there'd be a winner and named the dates the winner would play with the symphony!
Really? To me that sound like a seriously lame attempt to save face for a really badly planned publicity stunt.
I can't imagine how the finalists must feel. The symphony blog and the news outlets reporting it have mostly negative comments about the whole mess.
From Paul DeckThey backstopped their decision not to pick a winner by saying that some other concerto competitions like Tchaikovsky and Paganini competitions occasionally do not pick winners. But that's because those competitions have long track records where the judges can say, "well so-and-so is the best player here but not at the level of the other winners we've had in the past few decades."
Posted on June 15, 2012 at 02:20 PM
The idea that they wouldn't choose a winner to play with their orchestra in the inaugural run of their competition is jaw-dropping. They could have made an amazing PR splash with this, that young violinist William Hagen is awfully good. Now some other orchestra will do this and Pittsburgh Symphony will be left with nothing. It's just hard to imagine something so incredibly daft!
From Scott HawthornWithout having heard one single entry, I'm actually encouraged to see that the bar is very high, because it is! Too bad they didn't spell-out what their standards were going to be ahead of time, but being picky is underrated.
Posted on June 15, 2012 at 03:55 PM
From N.A. MohrI find it hard to believe they couldn't agree on a winner...there appear to be so many talented violinists out there...
Posted on June 15, 2012 at 04:03 PM
However, it is good to know that if there was no clear winner, they didn't stoop to just selecting the best of the worst...
From Liz Farley MetzgerMy main objection to it is that, given the reputation of classical music and musicians in the mainstream, and the financial situation of most orchestras, this was a Huge mistake.
Posted on June 15, 2012 at 04:11 PM
The orchestra got all these people (both long-standing patrons and friends and family of the competitors and just Joe public who saw a mention on Facebook or something and went to listen to this music for the first time) to listen to the semi-finalists (who the *orchestra* picked...why didn't they bail then?) and make comments and get involved...
They got what we all say we want and got people to listen to this music and get involved that might never have before.
And then they basically insulted everyone who took the time to listen and vote by saying their opinions were invalid. It is *exactly* the kind of thing that people say they hate about classical music..."If you liked *that* you must be ignorant/have no ear."
The orchestra management knew what they were getting into with this competition. They had some control over the outcome. And then when it came down to brass tacks they bailed and are now trying to hide behind their "artistic integrity."
I saw some of the finalists' videos and read some of their bios. These were not people the orchestra should have been too ashamed to play with for a YouTube competition.
From Paul DeckI don't know about the other three performers, but William Hagen is a wonderful violinist, and, I should add, quite charismatic. All the folks who participated in the contest would have been delighted to go and see him perform in concert with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Afterward he can hold a master class for students around there, and they can make a gala event out of it. That young man will have their megadonors opening their wallets. Did they ever blow a golden opportunity.
Posted on June 15, 2012 at 06:04 PM
From marjory langeBad publicity, bad call...sort of PSO mimics reality TV, not. Maybe they just couldn't agree, and no one had established who had the final say? In any case, I feel sympathy for those who participated, but not so much for the orchestra.
Posted on June 15, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Paul, you must REALLY like Hagen to promote him in BOTH your posts on this thread!
From Liz Farley MetzgerThe WSJ now has an article on the competition which argues that art 'needs' to be 'curated' to prevent the ignorant masses from ruining it (I'm paraphrasing). What the article doesn't say, or even seem to think of, is how we are supposed to attract and engage people if we insist on them being 'sufficiently knowledgeable' from the get-go, and turn them away in a huff if they're not.
Posted on June 15, 2012 at 08:48 PM
From Simon StreuffI DON'T CARE!
Posted on June 15, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Because instead of giving out concert opportunities for already trained and educated musicians, they should better do something that people without a bio like the ones coming to the finals have at least the opportunity to get high quality lessons and maybe smaller concert opportunities.
I don't care about star-search at all. Its all an air bubble and in this case an very short lived. And I even less care about star-search in classical music, where education is much more important than pure talent. Education and with that success is buyable and giving the ones who can efford this even more free oportunities to me seems very elitist and discouraging for people who don't have the social background to even make the first round of that "open" tournament.
From Karen AllendoerferI hadn't heard about this before, but after reading the articles and a few other links, I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head, Liz. It must be discouraging to the finalists, and I sympathize with them, but I think they all have the talent, and class, and work ethic that will enable them to still benefit from the experience. They'll be fine. Where the real damage has been done is to the orchestra's reputation and its relationship with the audience, the very people it was trying to engage and attract.
Posted on June 16, 2012 at 12:24 AM
From Susannah PowellI wonder what they thought they would find? Kids who have talent are snatched up and put into conservatories at young ages. Their talent is improved upon by hard work and education. Talent agencies are very, very good at finding talented young men and women. Did they think they were going to find an undiscovered Heifitz living in the Ozarks? One that was somehow overlooked by an army of scavenging agents who need superstars to pay their mortgage? It was a ridiculous endeavor from the get go.
Posted on June 16, 2012 at 12:35 AM
However, once they got going, they ought to have seen it through. Making everyone jump through hoops then telling them they aren't good enough is the dictionary definition of a douche. Pick the best of the lot, and if they aren't quite good enough, send them to Concerto camp and get them up to par. Canceling the competition was a crappy thing to do. Especially considering the last soloist I saw got a standing ovation and 1,000 'Bravo's. I don't know who they were Bravo-ing, but she deserved Bravas. Would the audience have even noticed if the concert wasn't the greatest ever? Probably not.
From Paul Deck@Marjory, they're all great but there's only one violinist among the finalists!!
Posted on June 16, 2012 at 01:55 AM
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