True to its reputation as a country of music, Austria organizes, in the course of the EXPO 2010 Shanghai, a national piano and composition competition. The nine most renowned music universities in China participate in this competition with students between 14-18 years of age: apart from the old master pieces, there will be performed in particular new compositions for piano by Austrian music students.
This competition, rather unique in this form, establishes a creative and innovative link between Austrian and Chinese music universities:
Austrian students of the departments for composition of the music universities of Vienna, Graz and Salzburg have composed pieces of music especially for this competition. Students of the participating Chinese music universities - Shanghai, Beijing, Shanxi, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Tianjin – have been developing and exercising the compositions in a preparatory phase of four months. The competition will be realized not simply on a “normal” piano but rather on a grand piano with four pedals. The so-called “Pédale Harmonique” provides for a completely new sound spectrum and will be displayed for the very first time in China on the occasion of the Expo Shanghai.
On August 28, young musicians will be given the opportunity to display their talent in front of a top-class jury and the international EXPO audience. We have been able to win Professor WU Zu Qiang, Honorary President of the Chinese Music Association and Honorary President of the Central Chinese Music Conservatory, as honorary president of the competition. Austria is represented by the famous pianist Paul Badura-Skoda as Honorary President as well as by piano master and professor Elisabeth Leonskaja as Honorary member of the jury.
Participation in the piano competition is absolutely rewarding – the winner will be awarded prize money in the amount of RMB 12,000.—as well as a concert grand piano model 218 with “pedal harmonique” for his/her music university.
New invention “Pédale Harmonique”
The idea for the so-called “Pédale Harmonique” was developed by Denis de la Rochefordière (FRA), and this invention is responsible for a totally new sound experience: The additional fourth pedal provides for the continuous vibration of the overtones, with the remaining strings staying free. Great masters like Bach, Beethoven and Mozart had to make use of sophisticated fingering in order to achieve this rather unique tone colour at least in part. In 2009 this novel grand piano by the traditional Viennese piano manufacturer Wendl & Lung was ready to go into production in co-operation with the Chinese piano manufacturer Hailun.
The piano competition is organized by the honorary ambassador of the Austrian pavilion, Bai Lin. She is well-known all over China, as already in the 1970ies she was the baby depicted on the first and for a long time only baby soap available in China.
Concerts on Saturday, August 28:
Continously: Live concerts by the participants in the city area of the pavilion
6:45pm: Final concert by the 3 winners in the city area of the pavilion
See here pictures of the competition: