Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to be here with you this evening, upon the occasion of the opening ceremony of the 10th Paderewski International Piano Competition.
On behalf of the World Federation of International Music Competitions, I would like to extend to all competitors, jury members, staff members and audience of Bydgoszcz, my very best wishes for a most successful 10th edition.
Music competitions are a vital element of the international music scene. They not only serve to designate the most promising young artists, they also give a City, the opportunity to immerse itself in music for a time. For a period of two weeks from now, Bydgoszcz will be the focal point of pianists, professionals of the music world, as well as music lovers who will be awaiting the discovery of new talents.
And all competitors, even those who will not be bringing a prize home, will have a rich and profitable experience: participating in a music competition is always beneficial. It is a chance to meet other young virtuosos, jury members, concert organizers, journalists. It is by exchanging with others and concentrating on your playing that you can progress in your musical career.
The Paderewski Competition has been a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions since 2010, which makes it the most recent Polish competition to have joined our Federation. It is interesting to note that historically, Poland has always been one of the leading countries represented in our organization. This truly demonstrates the liveliness of the Polish musical world, which includes an impressive number of great performers and composers, both past and present.
We are grateful that your city was able to found this competition and that it continues to support it, making it one of the most important piano competitions in the world. The Federation needs active and innovative members like the Paderewski Competition, which is truly modern and universal, open to all styles and forms of music. Its remarkably free repertoire sets it apart within the Federation. Indeed, few competitions allow so much liberty to artists.
Paderewski, to whom your competition is dedicated, well deserves this tribute: his sensitive and passionate compositions should have an important place in today’s concert programmes. We are delighted that you give young international pianists the opportunity to discover this work. Above all, it appears essential to us to do as you do, to nurture the memory of this exceptional man and his outstanding career. Paderewski was a virtuosic performer, a remarkable composer, a celebrated patriot and an internationally recognized statesman. To this day, Paderewski remains one of the best-known Polish personalities around the world.
By naming your competition after this great man, you are offering young artists from around the world a model from which to inspire their career as musicians, but also their lives as men and women of our time. For if the purpose of music competitions is to reveal the most talented musicians of the moment, they also give us the opportunity to forge the artistic profiles that our world needs: complete artists, both virtuoso and engaged, respectful of the past, but in tune with the world of today, carriers of emotion and of a world vision.
In the same spirit as Paderewski, who was capable of inspiring audiences like no one else, we are on the lookout for artists who will overwhelm us with their talent, inspire us, transport us into their own concept of art and music, at the risk sometimes of disturbing us or stripping us of our certainties. But we also seek young musicians who are passionate about the issues of their time, as was Paderewski for the independence of Poland and the advent of world peace.
Music is not an art that is reserved for the elite, isolated from the society that surrounds and nourishes it. Music and musicians, in the spirit of Paderewski, must feed upon the joys and sorrows of our time, carry a message of peace and harmony, and defend the values on which our societies are based.
It is true that we are not politicians; we simply organize music competitions, and believe me: to do it seriously and honestly it can be difficult. However, our choices are never neutral and all art, at some point, becomes political. In dedicating your competition to Paderewski, giving participants a vast liberty in their choice of programme, multiplying international collaborations and offering your prize-winners a global public exposure, you are forging the new image or music and musicians. And you are projecting an attractive image of Poland, as a modern and generous country, true to the figure and values of Paderewski. We are proud to count you as one of our members!
May all participants in this 10th edition find inspiration in the figure of Paderewski, who truly demonstrated that it is possible to be one of the greatest musicians of your time, while spending your life fighting for your values.
In conclusion, it is my pleasure to announce officially that the World Federation of International Music Competitions has been invited by the Paderewski piano competition to hold its General Assembly in City of Bydgoszcz in 2022. I am certain that a lot our colleagues will come from all over the world to share with you their experiences and to visit your City.
Thank you very much, good luck to all competitors and have a great competition.
Międzynarodowy Konkurs Pianistyczny im. I. J. Paderewskiego jest organizowany w ramach projektu pt. "Kujawsko-Pomorskie Menu Kulturalne 2013-2014" współfinansowanego ze środków Europejskiego Funduszu Rozwoju Regionalnego w ramach Regionalnego Programu Operacyjnego Województwa Kujawsko-Pomorskiego na lata 2007-2013 oraz ze środków budżetu Województwa Kujawsko-Pomorskiego.