The inaugural Nashville International Chopin Piano Competition will be held in October 2023 and is planned as a biannual event. Bringing talented young pianists of different ages in front of a renowned international jury of leading Chopin interpreters and music industry experts, we are excited to welcome this first-of-a-kind event to Nashville. Artistic Director, Dr. Graciella Kowalczyk, and Administrative Director Joshua Izzard, along with our jury and organizers have been a part of the competition world for decades and are bringing this wealth of experience to deliver a new type of competition providing unparalleled opportunity.
How it all began
World-renowned Nashville, America's own "Music City", has been a center of culture since the 1850s when it earned the nickname "Athens of the South" as the first southern city to establish a public school system and as an educational mecca thanks to the number of colleges and universities located in the city. Today's Nashville is a thriving, bustling cultural center filled with art galleries, noble estates, museums, and of course concert halls including the Nashville Symphony's home at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Surprisingly, there has been no major international piano competition - until now. The genesis of the idea for the Nashville International Chopin Piano Competition (NICPC) goes back more than 20 years ago when the founders Dr. Graciella Kowalczyk and Joshua Izzard met during their studies at the Tchaikowsky Conservatory in Moscow, Russia. Both would become international competition prizewinners and performing artists. While Dr. Kowalczyk cemented her place as one of the most in-demand piano professionals in America, Mr. Izzard left the performance world following a hand injury and became a leading technology finance executive. The two share not only their passion for music but also an understanding of the challenges they faced building careers and connections. The desire to create a new, ethical and transparent competition with unbiased judging and a "clean slate" opportunity to showcase and promote young pianistic talent with life-changing prizes became the seed idea of NICPC. NICPC offers a very generous prize fund and opportunities for exposure to leading music industry professionals. It is the ideal setup for launching a highly successful international career. The Nashville International Chopin Piano Competition makes a dynamic contribution to the cultural enhancement of Nashville. It is inclusive and impressive, bringing the competitors on a unique journey with a rewarding result. Chaired by renowned Polish-American pianist Graciella Kowalczyk, who also serves as Artistic Director, the Competition attracts an enormous international entry and is adjudicated by distinguished members of the music profession from around the world. Corporate sponsorship and community involvement are key to our mission. The Nashville International Chopin Piano Competition is a member of the Alink-Argerich Foundation and is applying for membership to the World Federation of International Music Competitions.
The Nashville International Chopin Piano Competition was established in 2022 with the following aims: • To provide an opportunity for young pianists to participate in an international competition of the highest standard • To bring to Nashville the world’s best young professional pianists • To offer the competitors the opportunity of being heard by international agents and press under concert conditions which will help launch them on a successful professional performing career • To provide generous cash prizes that allow prizewinners to focus on developing their repertoire • To generate more widespread interest and awareness of the work of Chopin • To promote the cultural identity and diversity of Nashville