Poland holds 1st Chopin contest on historical instruments

By Associated Press |

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The world’s first Frederic Chopin piano competition performed on instruments from the composer’s era has opened in Warsaw, aiming to revive the sound and technique of the music as it was written in the 19th century.

Thirty pianists from the U.S., Japan, China, Russia and across Europe will perform works by Chopin and other Polish composers of his time, as well as by Johan Sebastian Bach. The Polish compositions include those by Chopin’s piano teacher, Jozef Elsner.

The competitors will begin performances on original and reconstructed period instruments, including Erard and Pleyel pianos, on Tuesday at the National Philharmonic building.

The winner of the 1st Chopin Competition on Period Instruments will be announced Sept.14 and will collect a 15,000-euros ($17,400) prize as well as concert and recording offers.

The organizers, the National Frederic Chopin Institute and Poland’s state Radio and Television, want to encourage the exploration of the original sound by Poland’s best-loved composer.

Chopin was born in 1810 to a Polish mother and a French father. He received his music education in Warsaw and started composing and giving concerts there. He left Poland at the age of 20 and settled in Paris, Europe’s center of art and music at the time.

He composed mostly for the piano and much of his work was inspired by Poland’s music, such as the polonaise and the mazurka dances.