From 6th to 18th November 2004 The 6th International Paderewski Piano Competition under the Honorary Patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski took place in Bydgoszcz. The main donors of the Competition were: Ministry of Culture, City Hall of Bydgoszcz, Marshal Office of Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodship in Toruń. Private companies also joined the group of donors: PZU Życie S. A., Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Wodociągów i Kanalizacji Sp. z o. o. in Bydgoszcz, Casinos Poland Sp. z o. o. and others. Telewizja Polonia has assumed media patronage over the Competition.
Organizers of the Competition: I. J. Paderewski Music Society, I. J. Paderewski Pomeranian Philharmonic in Bydgoszcz, F. Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz. Henryk Martenka became the competition director.
The opening concert took place on 6th November 2004 at 7 pm in the concert hall of the Pomeranian Philharmonic. Korean pianist Dong-Hyek Lim sat at the piano.
Finally 35 pianists from 16 countries entered this year's edition of the Competition. Twenty-two pianists were admitted to the second stage, and six best performers took part in the third stage.
Many distinguished guests from Poland and abroad came to Bydgoszcz these days. The Yamaha company brought a grand piano from Paris and gave it to the talented young pianists for the time of the competition.
Gustav Alink from The Netherlands, the director of Alink Argerich Foundation, which Paderewski Competition has been a member since 2004, also visited Bydgoszcz. Gustav Alink was impressed by the high organizational level of the event.
VI International Paderewski Piano Competition in the eyes of many observers deserves the title of one of the most important artistic events of 2004, because it contributes not only to saving from oblivion the compositions of Ignacy Jan Paderewski and promoting the good name of this great composer, but also to the promotion of Bydgoszcz - in Poland and worldwide - as a city favorable to music and friendly to young, talented artists.
Our world needs musicians
It is with great joy that I would like to welcome the participants, members of the jury and all those who are coming to Bydgoszcz to take part in the 6th International Paderewski Piano Competition.
It is well known that there are many piano competitions around the world. Some say "too many!". The authors of these words, however, should not forget that each competition becomes a chance for a young pianist to present his or her skills, is a stimulus and motivation for intensive learning. It requires preparation of a specific repertoire, assimilation of new material... The participants must be ready for the journey, they must face unexpected problems... It is a wonderful experience! There is always an opportunity to learn and grow, both on a personal and musical level. Besides, it's good to meet musicians from other cultures and to have the chance to present in front of a jury. It may happen that contact with someone from the jury, or from the audience, will result in future opportunities for concerts, or may turn into a friendship that lasts for years. The competition also consists of many pleasant moments. These come from listening to memorable performances, or simply being around people during breaks with whom you can share personal impressions. These factors are all positive sides of participating in the competition.
Of course, there are also negative aspects - the inevitable disappointment, or unpleasant surprises. These phenomena are frequent and common during the competition, but one should be able to come to terms with them.
The 6th International Paderewski Piano Competition will begin on November 6, 2004. November is also a significant month for the Alink-Argerich Foundation (AAF), founded exactly five years ago. Both organizations undertake new activities, putting a lot of energy into them, creating new projects, implementing ideas. They are always ready to cooperate, look for ways to help talented young musicians, support and inspire professional activities in the field of classical music. Thanks to these common elements, it became obvious that the I. J. Paderewski International Piano Competition joined the AAF.
The main purpose of the Alink-Argerich Foundation is to serve as an Independent Service Center for Musicians and Competitions. Young pianists participate in many competitions, so it is important that they "get the most out of the experience." The AAF offers them assistance in finding and selecting the most convenient artistic events, providing reliable news coverage, informing them of important facts, providing experience-based guidance, and all the details to better prepare for competition. AAF also supports competition organizers with advice and useful contacts, helps with promotion and advertising. It is thanks to the personal contacts made over 25 years ago with musicians and organizations from all over the world that it has been possible to bring people together in a common enterprise so that "things can happen". The AAF is very well positioned to make these kinds of connections between organizers and musicians who need a helping hand in building their careers.
The Ignacy Jan Paderewski International Competition, holds a special place in the musical world. Both the figure of Paderewski and his compositions deserve special attention. Hence, the Paderewski Competition places special emphasis on their performance. The organizers do their best to make the participants feel very comfortable. All those who visit Bydgoszcz during the competition will be charmed by the friendly atmosphere in which they will be welcomed by their Polish hosts.
In my latest book entitled. "World Piano Competitions", I have introduced a classification system for piano competitions. As a result, they have been divided into five, four and three star events. In order for a competition to be classified as a five-star event, it must provide good conditions for the participants, substantial monetary prizes, as well as organize high level concerts for the winners. It has to be deeply engraved in the pianist's memory, so that even years later he will remember it as an event playing an important role in his musical career.
The I. J. Paderewski Competition received a four-star rating, which attests to its high level. Someone will ask: "And why were five stars not awarded?". One of the points of the rating system says that the historical aspect of the competition should be taken into account. Paderewski Competition as a fully international event is still very young and therefore needs more time to establish itself, gain publicity and enjoy a good reputation. We are all familiar with the Queen Elisabeth, Chopin or Van Cilburn competitions, which have been organized successfully for many years and are impressive with their list of famous winners. When I came to Bydgoszcz in 1998, I watched Tomomi Okumura win the 4th International I. Paderewski Competition. J. Paderewski Competition. Later Tomomi astonished audiences in Munich and Zurich. She is undoubtedly a pianist with great potential for a great career and the Paderewski Competition can be proud to have recognized her talent.
Another factor in the classification is the amount of the prize money. Currently in Bydgoszcz the first prize is 10,000 dollars. This is a large sum of money, but we must admit that there are competitions in the world that are happily supported by much more generous sponsors. The Paderewski Competition is still developing and does its best to organize attractive engagements for its laureates. This year's jury consists of eleven highly respected musicians. I am convinced that the pianists will remember their participation in the competition in Bydgoszcz as a pleasant and positive experience. Whatever the results of the struggles and the opinions expressed during this competition, it is certain that we will share the love of classical music. In a world full of aggression and destruction, the role of music seems to be the most important.
Our world needs great musicians like those gathered here. There can never be too many of them, and I wish that they will never stop conveying the powerful message of peace that comes from their music.
Director of the Alink-Argerich Foundation, Netherlands