Impressions of the 2014 Kerikeri International Piano Competition

Just returned from the 2014 KIPC, I ponder what has kept me coming back to it time after time and now, from some distance.

Why do I? Because it is so worth it! There are many elements to the magic mix: terrific young talent attracted from all over the New Zealand and the world; (realistically, where else would you get to hear these musicians perform?); interesting, challenging and beautiful music played at an incredibly high standard; terrific venue – the Turner Centre is a treat in itself (great acoustic, all amenities and comfy chairs!).

But above all it’s the people who ice the cake that light all the candles: the KIPC team is a well-oiled machine these days, always professional, capable, organised, obliging and cheerful – hats off to you all. And then there are the local volunteers who offer the competitors accommodation with a properly tuned piano (or three!), food, transport and comfort when needed. Other volunteers staff the Turner Centre with enthusiasm and good humour; and this year, still more volunteers provided a ‘café’ with delicious food. If you need a leg-stretching walk there are many excellent cafes nearby.

The competition is spread out over four days if you do the lot, and you should – it’s easily do-able and reasonably, realistically priced. Sensible programming (with enticing extras such as master classes and interactive talks), top quality adjudicators (three this year), wonderful performances followed by intense discussion with audience neighbours comparing notes and impressions, and the buzz of excitement that builds towards the Finals Concert and announcement of results, all create an experience that will draw me back again in 2016 for sure.

Rose Chapman