I’m in Graz, Austria, on the jury of a piano trio competition, ‘Franz Schubert and modern music’. Graz is a beautiful city and even more so in the snow.
The competition has several parallel categories: piano trio, string quartet and Lieder. The idea behind it is that all the entrants have to perform contemporary works as well as the music of Schubert, who was of course an Austrian composer. In the first round, for example, where time was limited, we had piano trios playing the Schubert ‘Nocturne’ or the ‘Sonatensatz’ and Wolfgang Rihm’s ‘Fremde Szene III’, or Kelly-Marie Murphy’s ‘Give me phoenix wings to fly’. It’s so interesting to see how the groups respond to the challenge of these very different historical periods, and to the challenge of switching from one to the other within half an hour’s performance. Some of them are clearly more at home in Schubert, while others seem to come alive when playing new music. Last night we whittled the number of groups down to ten for the second round, which begins this morning. I’m looking forward to hearing the trios play longer works and ones of their own choosing.
In the photo is the new concert hall, MUMUTH (Music and Musical Theatre) where the competition takes place.