Recognized as among the leading international piano competitions, this year’s competition attracted 295 pianists from 24 different countries, according Baruch Meir, artistic director of the competition and associate professor of piano in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre. Of those, 43 applicants were selected to perform in the semifinal and final rounds.
Prizes include more than $50,000 in cash awards, performance opportunities and recording contracts for the top winners. All performances will be in the Katzin Concert Hall on the Tempe campus.
New to the competition this year is access to information about the event through the ASU Special Events app. Both the app and website provide details about the competitions, competitors, schedule of performances, jury, tickets, parking, prizes and more.
Meir created the first competition in January 2006, and it was held annually through 2009. In 2011 it became a biennial competition. After that, the only year the competition was postponed was 2021, due to COVID-19.
Meir, who grew up in Israel, said his inspiration for the competition began when he was a young boy and would watch the pianists in the Arthur Rubenstein International Competition, one of the world’s top contests. Throughout the years, the organizer and founder of the Rubinstein competition, Yasha Bistritzky, noticed Meir's dedication and invited him to become the competitors’ coordinator in 1992.
“It was an incredible experience as people came from all over the world to participate and watch,” Meir said. “Experiencing the excitement, listening to the talented pianists and creating personal contacts was amazing.”
In 1994, Meir came to ASU to earn a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and was invited back to work with the Rubenstein competition in 1995.
“It was then that I decided that one day I would start a competition,” Meir said.
In 2003, Meir was named a Bösendorfer Concert Artist and met the directors and CEO of the Bösendorfer piano company during his recognition recital in Vienna, Austria. The CEO liked his playing, so Meir said he took the opportunity and proposed that a Bösendorfer competition should be created.
“It was something I was passionate about, and I persuaded the CEO of Bösendorfer with my passion,” Meir said.
Bösendorfer partnered with Schimmel on the competition through 2011. In 2013, Bösendorfer was bought by the Yamaha Corporation, and the competition was renamed the Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competition.
Meir said the main benefit for students who compete is recognition and exposure.
“We, as artists, need a stage and recognition,” Meir said. “Winning a top competition helps you develop yourself as an artist and your professional career if you have a title of laureate on your resume.”
According to Meir, this year’s Bösendorfer-Yamaha competition has the second largest pool of competitors in the history of the competition. This year, the competition is also offering a new award for a best performance of a piece composed by a BIPOCBlack, Indigenous or people of color. or female composer.
Daily and weekly passes are available in advance for purchase online or by calling ASU Purplepass at 480-965-6447. The winners’ recital on Jan. 8 requires a separate ticket from the daily or weekly pass.
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