According to this piece in the New York Times, the number of international piano competitions rose from only five held in 1945 to 114 by 1990 and no, and 750 piano competitions are held worldwide.
But behind the black ties, strapless gowns and Oscar-like atmosphere of the finals lurks a world of naked ambition, sometimes corrupt judging and bitter disputes over results.
The article points to the lack of standards to guide the judges as well as the strenuous judging process. But this is part is disturbing:
Perhaps more sinister is the practice of jurors – often prohibited from voting for their own students – secretly trading votes with other jurors whose students are also competing. To complete the picture, teacher-jurors have been seen approaching the losers, offering to train them for future competitions – at which the teacher will also be judging. Such practices “will ultimately cannibalize the integrity of these competitions,” said Eugene Pridonoff, a piano professor at Cincinnati University.
Read the entire article here.