Voting Procedures

Introduction

The Sydney International Piano Competition aims to recognise and celebrate unique musical artistry in its prizewinners, to locate superb all-round pianists who are ready to undertake major international engagements. We encourage talented pianists from all over the world who are attempting to launch global careers and try to provide them with necessary skills and contacts to broaden their career opportunities.

We host a major event, inviting a jury of experienced musicians, most of them performing pianists themselves, but augmented by other musicians of calibre: composers, other instrumentalists, managers. We are conscious of raising the awareness of fine music and standards of musical performance in the Australian community, adding to the education and awareness of the next generation of talent in Australia. We aim to support the careers of the winners for several years after their initial success in Sydney.

32 contestants will be chosen from the applications received. They will be chosen by a preselection panel.

Preselection Panel

The preselection panel will consist of five pianists/musicians of international experience, including the Artistic Director of the Competition Piers Lane AO. None of the jurors will be teachers of applicants and the names of the other four jurors will be published after the preselection is concluded.

The Competition management will carefully review each application to ensure it meets the Competition criteria. The panel will only assess applications and videos which are fully compliant. The jury may, at its discretion, disqualify any applicant if the application material supplied is not of a suitable quality for adequate assessment.

The panel members will be asked to select their top 32 applicants. They will listen in their own time to all of the recorded material. They are encouraged to keep notes on each performance and to deploy their own preferred method of scoring in order to arrive at their decision. Applicants will be ranked according to the numbers of votes they receive. Those who receive votes from all five jurors will immediately be accepted, followed by those who receive four, then three and so on, until the requisite 32 competitors are selected. Should there be a tie for any remaining place(s) in the 32, the panelists will revote on the tied applicants until a decision is reached. Discussion is allowed at this point.

Reserves will be similarly decided. Up to twelve reserves in no particular order will be informed of their status at the time of the announcement of the successful 32 applicants. The Artistic Director reserves the right to approach other applicants, right up to the start of the Competition, should none of the official reserves be available to fill places vacated by withdrawing competitors.

The preselection jury will also witness the choice of concertos for successful applicants. The first competitor to be accepted will play the first concerto in their alphabetical list of four. The second successful applicant will prepare the second concerto in their list of four, the third, the third, the fourth the fourth, the fifth the first, the sixth the second and so on. The Artistic Director reserves the right to change this pattern should any concerto(s) choice recur to an extent deemed excessive for programming purposes.

The 32 selected applicants will be advised of their success by 3rd February 2020. At the same time, they will be told which concerto they should prepare for the Finals Round 2. They will need to fulfil certain administrative requirements and indicate acceptance of their invitation before the public announcement of the successful competitors. A number of reserves will also be contacted at this time, to ascertain their willingness to be reserves. All applicants will be personally contacted by the Competition’s management with the results of the Preselection Round.

Semi Finals and Finals Procedure

The following procedure applies to the preselection of competitors for the Semi Final and Final Rounds of the Competition. Further procedures, detailed in the Preliminaries Round 1a, Semi Finals Round 2a and Finals Round 3b paragraphs will apply for the selection of special prizewinners at various points during the Competition. The two basic voting procedures employ an elimination system rather than a numerical one.

The jury will select, in playing order, the twelve most deserving pianists for advancement to the Semi Final Rounds and six most deserving for advancement to the Final Rounds. Selections for advancement will be based on a cumulative evaluation of the competitors’ performances.

Voting

Voting papers will be distributed to jurors at the end of the Preliminaries and at the end of the Semi Finals. Each of the nine jurors will submit the number of competitor names equal to the number of spaces available for advancement to the next round. After voting, the completed and signed voting papers will be submitted to the non-voting Chairman of the jury, who will scrutinize them with the voting administrator in the presence of the entire jury. The names will be sorted into groups according to numbers of individual votes. Group A will consist of names with nine out of nine votes from the jury, Group B of names with eight out of nine votes from the jury, Group C with seven out of nine votes and so on. The competitors who receive the most votes from the jury will advance to the next round. The names from Group A will advance first, then the names from Group B and so on, until the necessary number of places for advancement has been attained.

Ties

In the event of a tie for the last place(s), a revote will be held for the tied competitors in order to select just the required number of competitors.

Jurors/Competitors

Any juror having, or having had during the preceding five years, a family, teaching, professional or personal relationship with a competitor must declare such a relationship to the rest of the jury. Masterclasses do not count as a teaching relationship. That juror may, if he/she sees fit, include the name of a ‘related’ competitor as one of his/her twelve or six submissions on the voting paper. However, in such cases, the juror’s opinion will not count as a vote on behalf of that particular competitor. When counting the votes for each competitor, that juror’s vote for the competitor will become the ratio between the total number of votes received and number of jurors eligible to vote for that competitor.

Results

Results will be revealed to the jury and then to the public in the playing order adopted from the first round of the Preliminaries. The relative standing of competitors will not be revealed to jury or public.

Detailed Voting Procedure

1. Preliminaries Rounds I and II:

1a. After the Preliminaries Round 1, the jurors’ task will be to select the winner of the Roger Smalley Prize for the Best Preliminaries Round 1 Recital. Voting papers with one space for a first choice and three spaces for ‘Maybes’ will be distributed. Jurors will nominate their favoured contestant to win the prize but will also submit three other ‘Maybe’ names, in no particular order, whom they would be happy to see win the prize. Should none of the jurors’ first choices of competitors produce a majority of votes (ie five out of nine votes, allowing for the possible ‘tie’ revotes as detailed below), the ‘Maybes’ will be added for consideration. Should no competitor then attain a majority vote, a further ballot will be held between the two competitors with the most votes.

Should there be a tie between three or more competitors for the highest number of votes, a second ballot will be held of the tied competitors. Should none of the tied competitors attain a majority of these votes, then a further ballot will be held to decide between the two competitors with the most votes.

Should there be a tie between competitors for the second most votes, the jury will first hold a ballot to decide between those tied competitors. Another ballot will then be held between the winner of that vote and the competitor with the most votes but who did not receive at least five votes.

1b. After the Preliminaries Round 2, the task of the jurors will be twofold:

  1. To select twelve competitors to advance to the Semi Final Rounds 1 and 2. Voting papers with twelve spaces will be distributed on which each juror will enter the names of twelve competitors in playing order – ie in no particular order of preference. The ‘Ties’ procedure outlined above will be used to resolve a tie in the last place(s).
  2. To select the winner of the Isador Goodman Prize for the Best Preliminaries Recital Round 2, using the procedure outlined above for the Roger Smalley Prize for the Best Preliminaries Round 1 Recital.

Semi Finals Rounds I and II:

2a. After the Semi Finals Round 1, the task of the jurors will be twofold:

  1. To decide the winner of the Ignaz Friedman Best Semi Finals Recital prize. Voting papers will be distributed with a space for jurors to nominate one competitor from the Semi Final Round 1 for the best recital. Should none of the competitors attain at least five of the votes of the nine jurors, then a further ballot will be held to decide between the two competitors with the most votes. Should there be a tie between three or more competitors for the highest number of votes, a second ballot will be held of the tied competitors. Should none of the tied competitors attain a majority of votes, a further ballot will be held to decide between the two competitors with the most votes. Should there be a tie between competitors for the second most votes, the jury will first hold a ballot to decide between those tied competitors. Another ballot will then be held between the winner of that vote and the competitor with the most votes but who did not receive at least five out of nine votes.
  2. To decide the winner of the Malcolm Williamson Prize for the Best Performance of an Australian Piece. The voting paper will have space for the nomination of one competitor from the Preliminaries Rounds 1 or 2, or from the Semi Finals Round 1. There will also be three spaces for three ‘Maybe’ nominations. The voting procedure will be as outlined above for the Roger Smalley Prize for Best Preliminaries Round 1 Recital.

2b. After the Semi Finals Round 2, the task of the jury will be manifold:

  1. To select six competitors to advance to the Finals Rounds 1 and 2. The jury will consider all Rounds to this point. Voting papers with six spaces will be distributed on which each juror will enter the names of six competitors in playing order – ie in no particular order of preference. The ‘Ties’ procedure outlined above will be used to resolve a tie in the last place(s).
  2. To select the winner of the Hephzibah Menuhin Prize for the Best Sonata with Violin and Piano, using the voting procedure outlined above for the Ignaz Friedman Prize.
  3. To select the winner of the Geoffrey Parsons Prize for Best Sonata with Cello and Piano, using the procedure outlined above for the Ignaz Friedman Prize.
  4. To select the winner of the Prize for Best Accompanist, using the procedure outlined above for the Ignaz Friedman Prize.
  5. To select the winner of the Geoffrey Tozer Prize for Most Promising Competitor not Proceeding to the Finals. Discussion of possibilities by the jury will be allowed before voting using the procedure outlined above for the Ignaz Friedman Prize.

3. Finals  Rounds I and II

3a. After the Finals Round 1, the jury will select the winner of the Roy Agnew Prize for Best Concerto with String Orchestra, using the voting procedure outlined above for the Ignaz Friedman Prize.

3b. After the Finals Round 2, the task of the jury will be manifold:

  1. To select the Ernest Hutcheson First Prize winner. In awarding prizes, jurors should consider all Rounds of the Competition. If a juror has, or has had during the preceding five years, a family, teaching, professional or personal relationship with a competitor who is in the Final Round, that juror may be present from the start at the gathering of the jury, but he/she will not be permitted to vote until such point as his/her related competitor has been placed. If a tied deadlock is the result of this procedure, the Chairman of the jury will vote in place of the juror concerned. Voting papers with one space will be distributed to the jury. The jury will enter the name of one competitor to be awarded the Ernest Hutcheson First Prize.Should none of the competitors attain a majority of votes, or at least half of the votes of the jurors entitled to vote and who did vote in the Final Round, then a further ballot will be held to decide between the two competitors with the most votes. Should there be a tie of three competitors with three votes each, the Chairman of the jury will cast a deciding vote.Should there be a tie of three competitors for the highest number of votes, a second ballot will be held of the tied competitors. Should none of the tied competitors attain a majority of votes, then a further ballot will be held to decide between the two competitors with the most votes.

    Should there be a tie between competitors for the second most votes, the jury will first hold a ballot to decide between those tied competitors. Another ballot will then be held between the winner of that vote and the competitor with the most votes but who did not receive a majority or at least half of the votes.

  1. To select the winner of the Percy Grainger Second Prize. After the Ernest Hutcheson First Prize winner is selected, voting papers will be distributed to the jury to name their choice for the Percy Grainger Second Prize. The Second Prizewinner will be determined using the same procedure as for the Ernest Hutcheson First Prize winner.
  2. To select the winner of the George Frederick Boyle Third Prize. After the Percy Grainger Second Prizewinner is selected, the George Frederick Boyle Third Prize will be determined using the same procedure.
  3. To select the winner of the William Murdoch Fourth Prize. After the George Frederick Boyle Third Prizewinner is selected, the William Murdoch Fourth Prize will be determined using the same procedure.
  4. To select the Arthur Benjamin Fifth Prize and the Noel Mewton-Wood Sixth Prize. After the William Murdoch Fourth Prizewinner is selected, the Arthur Benjamin Fifth Prize will be determined using the same procedure, and hence the Noel Mewton-Wood Sixth Prize will also be determined.
  5. To select the Miriam Hyde Prize for Best Concerto with Symphony Orchestra. After the completion of the selections of First to Sixth Prize winners, the jury will vote to select the winner of the Miriam Hyde Prize for Best Concerto with Symphony Orchestra, using the procedure outlined above for the Ignaz Friedman Prize.
  6. To select the Nancy Weir Prize for the Best Australian Pianist. This will go to the Australian who advances furthest in the Competition. If two or more Australians advance to the same stage of the Competition, a vote will be taken by the jury to determine the winner of the prize. If there are two competitors, the competitor with the majority of votes will win. If there are three or more, the jury will vote using the procedure outlined above for the Ignaz Friedman Prize. If no Australian advances past the Preliminaries Round 2, the jury will vote on the relevant competitors using the procedure outlined above for the Ignaz Friedman Prize.
  7. To acknowledge the winner of the Medal for the Youngest and Most Promising Competitor.

Before the public announcement of the results, the jury will be informed of the winners of the Eileen Joyce Prize (a Concerto engagement chosen by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra) and the Rex Hobcroft People’s Choice Prize (voted for by the live audience and by radio/internet listeners).