PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) on Monday announced that it did not pick a winner in its online concerto competition. The decision was made after four finalists auditioned Monday for a jury comprised of PSO conductors, musicians and staff.
“We were very pleased with the four finalists. But we always maintained the right not to pick a winner,” said Robert Moir, PSO’s senior vice president of artistic planning & audience engagement. “The PSO was the first major American orchestra to hold an online concerto competition to find a soloist to perform with the orchestra. We would like to thank everyone who participated in this unique competition. We expect to conduct it again. It was an interesting experience for us. It was a very difficult decision not to choose a winner.”
Moir said it was not uncommon for a competition not to produce a winner. For example, the International Tchaikovsky Violin Competition did not pick a winner in 2011, and the Paganini International Violin Competition did not choose a winner in 2010.
The four finalists who auditioned Monday at Heinz Hall were violinist William Hagen, 19, of Salt Lake City, pianists Benjamin Hopkins, 21, of Los Angeles, and Manon Hutton-DeWys, 26, of Bronx, NY, and cellist Angela Park, 25, of Philadelphia. They competed for a chance to perform as a soloist alongside the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra next season.
The four were named after the public voted in April on the PSO’s YouTube Channel, where the performance videos of eight semi-finalists were posted. The semi-finalists received more than 22,000 votes during the voting period, April 13-April 30. The four finalists received round-trip air tickets to Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition received 104 eligible videos from Feb. 9 to March 22, when eight semi-finalists were chosen. The PSO Concerto Competition allowed instrumental soloists in the United States, unrepresented by management, to upload videos of a performance of selected repertoire on selected instruments to the PSO’s YouTube Channel.
JUNE 19, 2012 UPDATE:
It was always our intent to find a winner for the PSO Concerto Competition. Unfortunately that did not happen. This competition was never a publicity stunt by the PSO but a sincere attempt by us to try something innovative. We understand that these talented young musicians, their fans and some of our patrons were upset by our decision. We apologize for any ill will this might have caused.