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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 9, No. 10

The Honourable Angela Cheng, presiding...

July 13, 2004

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Pianist Angela Cheng has a distinguished track record in international competition, including a Gold Medal at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition and a First Prize at the Montreal International Musical Competition (MIMC). In addition to her own stellar career as a pianist, Cheng teaches at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. This past June, she sat on the jury of the Montreal International Musical Competition. I had a chance to interview her before this year's competition took place.

LSM: What motivated you to take part in this competition as a member of the jury?

AC: My real motivation is helping the next generation of pianists. I ran through the competition gauntlet myself, and I feel it's an important way to discover the truly great talents of the period. I'm also very proud to be a part of the MIMC jury because this is where my international career really got its start.

LSM: What link do you see between musicianship and competitive success?

AC: Well, that's a very delicate matter. All judgements about music are subjective, of course, and comparing musicians during a competition is always difficult. Ultimately the preferences of the jury hold sway, so different juries will produce different results.

LSM: Do you believe competitions can really help the careers of young musicians?

AC: Yes, I do. Any chance to be heard in performance is a good thing for these young musicians, I think.

LSM: What would you say is the ideal competition experience for them to have?

AC: That's a tough question. Sometimes a competition will have very positive and stimulating effects, and sometimes it will be just devastating. It all depends on the attitude the competitors have. They have to remember that they're winners just by participating in the event, because the stress of preparing their music and then performing it under scrutiny makes them better, more experienced musicians. [Translated by Tim Brierley]

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