Why Are We Only Choosing Piano Repertoires From Before The 1900s?

By Penny Zhou

In selecting the required pieces for performers, the NTD International Piano Competition only sets its eyes on piano repertoire from Baroque, Classical and Romantic period.

Janara Khassenova, the competition’s artistic advisor, explains why only pieces from around and before the 1900s are considered.

“The music was written in complete style, beautiful melodic lines and there is a spiritual component to it as well, “ Khassenova said, “As we know…Baroque music was used to serve the church and glorify God.”

She said that music is always a reflection of what’s going on in history and in society. “From 1600s up to 1900s, society, people, musicians, composers and artists lived up to a certain standard. ”

In days past, people’s good morals helped the art of piano to flourish. But pieces after the 19th century, Khassenova said, are often influenced by modern or contemporary elements. NTD’s piano competition strives to bring back the traditions of centuries past.

“So if you go to concerts these days, even in the grand venues, you could see sometimes the performers on the stage looking very odd, with crazy outfits,” she said, “and they play with uncontrollable emotions.”

In contrast, traditional artists take a whole different approach, Khassenova said, “We care about the self-control and staying calm. And through these kinds of qualities, you are able to deliver the music in its full, and in its arts.”

“If the pianists or other musicians will follow this and continue to stable the repertoire written from 1600 to 1900,” she said, “I think there is hope in classical music in the future.”

Through playing classical music, performers will also experience inner improvement. And Khassenova says this will enable musicians to achieve a deeper level of communication with the audience.

“If you as a musician in your music, totally pure, and if you know what you are doing, if you put very genuine thoughts and feelings into what you are doing, what you are playing and into the piece, ” she said, “then it will be directly coming to the audience. And the audience will hear it. ”

“It will be that energy coming from the performer, to the concert hall, to the audience itself,” she said, “and they will feel that energy. And they will be moved by the music and your art.”

With a mission to preserve traditional arts, NTD’s International Piano Competition is coming to the Engelman Recital Hall in New York this September. It will be live-streamed and later broadcasted on NTD’s global TV network. The grand prize for the winner is $10,000.