The first Chopin International Piano Competition took place in 1927, and it is held every five years. It has become one of the most important musical events in the world. In 1927, it was attended by 26 pianists from eight countries. According to its website, the competition drew 452 entries in 2015, and in 2020, more than 500. The entrants are carefully vetted, and this year 86 young musicians were selected to participate. The winner this year was 24 year-old Bruce (Xiaoyu ) Liu of Canada.
Every stage of the competition is exciting, and the pianists give their all to interpret the music of the brilliant Frederic Chopin, who wrote, taught, and performed music from the age seven until his death. He was only 39 years when he died. He was a genius. Listening to this year’s first place winner play Chopin was a golden experience for me. All this information about the competition and Chopin leads me to make the following statement: some people need to be in the audience, and I am in that category. I can’t play Chopsticks, much less Chopin, but I certainly do appreciate those who play their music for us. From the genius of Chopin or Oscar Peterson to Bruce (Xiaoyu ) Liu, it is good to know we have their music. Music unites people and improves lives. Whether classical, jazz, or all those genres in-between, music gives us moments and glimpses of gold.
My mother-in-law was born in 1901, and she lived through WW I, through those hot and heady Roaring Twenties, the Depression, and WWII, and she certainly witnessed crazy political chaos and divisiveness. Even so, she played her music and shared her talent. If she could do all that, surely we in these times can persevere. There are musical geniuses among us. We think we may have heard one last Sunday in our church. I wonder if or what sort of music he may someday compose that will be numbered among the classics.