Dominance of Asians in Piano Competitions

Speed, precision, focus, and lots of diligence - those are qualities that have been ascribed to musicians from Asia for decades. Where these qualities can lead has been showcased by Chinese pianist Lang Lang who, at age 30, is already a superstar on the keyboard. Ever more Asian pianists seem to follow in the footsteps of Lang Lang. In almost any international piano competition, candidates from China, Korea or Japan are strongly represented. The Far-Eastern presence reached new dimensions this past summer at the William Kapell Piano Competition outside of Washington, D.C., where almost three out of four competitors had Asian names. At an international piano competition in San Antonio, Texas, which was held in October, ten of eleven participants were of Asian decent. Those who adhere to old stereotypes may recoil when seeing such lists of participants because the nimbus of diligence and precision has been marred by a reputation of a certain coldness. However, the United States is also a particularly fertile soil for cultural melting. Georg Hirsch spoke with representatives of a new generation of Asian pianists who do not view piano playing as a tournament sport.

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