In what was reportedly a “controversial” decision, Russian born Yulianna Avdeyeva has become the first woman in 45 years to win the Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland.
The competition, which is held every five years, is for young pianists and is reportedly one of the most prestigious competitions in the world. The last woman to win the prize, Martha Argerich, was on the panel of judges and told reporters:
I am extremely happy about Yulianna, and particularly because she is the first woman after 45 years. After me there was no lady, so I am very happy.
The controversy apparently lay in the final votes, from an expert panel as well as a public vote. The public was pulling for Ingolf Wunder, who was awarded second place. Again, I think that there is something still to be said for the visibility of performers in competitions – had the gender of the performers not been revealed to the audience, would it have impacted their interpretation of the performance?