Rhinegold Photo credit: Bartek Sadowski
Seong-Jin Cho, winner of the 2015 International Chopin Competition

Josephine Miles

Chopin Competition to be streamed in virtual reality

10:40, 8th November 2019

The International Fryderyk Chopin Competition has announced a series of technological advances for the broadcasting of its 18th edition in October 2020

In an event hosted by the Chopin Society UK, Dr Artur Szklener, director of Warsaw’s Fryderyk Chopin Institute, revealed that the 2020 Chopin Competition will be the first major classical music event to use virtual reality technology.

With a VR camera positioned close to the pianist on stage, remote viewers will be able to experience performances from the pianist’s perspective from the stage of the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw. Anybody owning VR goggles will be able to watch the VR streaming at chopin2020.pl. For others, the competition is introducing special Listener Zones all over the world for viewers to share the virtual reality experience.

The Listener Zones – in cities including Moscow, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Seoul, Paris, London and New York – will be physical spaces where remote audiences can come together for an in-depth competition experience. This will include live broadcasts – in both traditional and virtual reality formats – audio commentaries from musicologists and stars of the piano world, and live concerts for local audiences.

All rounds of the competition will also be filmed and streamed in 4K Ultra HD for the first time. A new web portal and mobile app (for Android, iOS and SmartTV) will host the 4K Ultra HD streaming and serve as a multimedia window into all aspects of the competition. As well as information about the event, participants and jury, the web portal and app will provide access to video content from the archives, auditions and all the rounds. They will also allow audiences to interact and comment live on the competition.

Dr Artur Szklener, director of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute

Dr Artur Szklener said: ‘For the first time in history we are introducing virtual reality, the highest quality broadcasting and fully interactive digital and physical spaces so that music lovers all over the world can fully immerse themselves in the exceptional music-making and drama of the International Chopin Competition.

‘The international streaming of the last edition in 2015 attained 60 million views on YouTube alone. At the next edition in 2020 we hope to reach many more people in a variety of ways and ensure they enjoy the richest and deepest experience possible. We also hope to shape the history of pianism in the 21st century and once again celebrate Warsaw as the Chopin capital of the world.’

Lady Rose Cholmondeley, President of the Chopin Society UK, added: ‘The innovations that Dr Szklener has revealed promise to bring the musicianship of some of the finest young pianists in the world and the music of Chopin to audiences in ways Chopin himself could only have marvelled at. We are immensely proud to support the Competition in its endeavour to share Chopin’s music in this way.’

The finals of the 18th edition of the Chopin Competition will be held on 2-23 October 2020. The first prize will be €40K, second prize €30K and third prize €20K, with the prize winners’ tour taking in Poland, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, China and Dubai among other countries. The jury for the 2020 competition, chaired by Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń, includes Dmitri Alexeev, Martha Argerich, Thai Son Dang, Nelson Freire, Nelson Goerner, Kevin Kenner and John Rink.

Applications for pianists to enter the 2020 International Chopin Competition are open until 1 December 2019. Full details available at chopin2020.pl




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