Concert featuring Martha Argerich opens 2nd international Chopin competition on period instruments

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A gala concert featuring Argentinean pianist Martha Argerich was the opening event Thursday for the 2nd Chopin Competition on Period Instruments in Warsaw.

Launched in 2018, the competition is intended to promote historically informed performances of 19th century piano music, chiefly by Polish composer Frederic Chopin.

Just like the century-old International Chopin Piano Competition, it is meant to promote music talents and help launch international careers, and 35 young pianists are taking part.

The competition begins Friday with a performance by Derek Wang of the United States. Contestants come also from Japan, China, Italy, Poland, South Korea, Russia, Australia and some other European countries.

They will be playing on original 19th century instruments or on replicas made by U.S. builder of historic pianos, Paul McNulty. The winner will be announced Oct. 14.

The opening concert Thursday of music chiefly by Ludwig van Beethoven also featured Poland's Tomasz Ritter, winner of the contest’s first edition, the runner up in that competition, and Japanese Naruhiko Kawaguchi, who played a piece written for the gala opening by Japanese composer Dai Fujikura. Canada's Bruce Liu, who won the 18th International Chopin Piano Competition in 2021 also played in the concert that ended with a standing ovation.

Chopin was born in 1810 in Zelazowa Wola near Warsaw to a Polish mother and a French father, but he spent half of his life in Paris, composing, giving concerts and teaching the piano.

He died there on Oct. 17, 1849 and is buried at the Pere Lachaise cemetery. His heart is at the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw.