Thank you for the kind support that the Theme and Variations Foundation has given me through the scholarship. It had really helped me to improve my opportunities as an aspiring performer and artist.
I am grateful to be selected as one of the 42 contestants out of 174 electronic applications for the Aarhus Competition in Denmark. It was a very worthwhile experience; I met contestants from the well-known conservatories around the world, including RAM, Curtis and Eastman. The competition was very well organised; as we arrive at the competition office, we were all given a timetable (akin to the complexity of the London Underground timetable) outlining our spaced-out practice times. We were all assigned a letter and number combination for our identity in the timetable. There was a high degree of professionalism in the competition, including in the high quality of the contestants.
The competition is unique in its adoption of rules from large international competitions. Firstly, it only gives 10 minutes of warm-up time for the 1st round and no warm-up time for the 2nd round. It tests the contestants whether they can adjust to the piano in a short amount of time, which had a heavy touch in this competition. The voting system is also based on large professional competitions, where each competitor receives a Yes or No vote for their performance. This eliminates the chance of mark manipulation during the competition process.
In the competition itself, I progressed to the Semi-Finals but unfortunately didn’t make it to the Finals. Nevertheless, I have learned valuable lessons in competing at such high standards. Most importantly, I have made personal connections with international competitors which (hopefully) will last in my lifetime.