‘To let people fly’: Former President of The North West International Piano Ensemble Competition (NWIPEC) Winfried Rompf is embracing a new role at the upcoming competition

The 7th Northwest International Piano Ensemble Competition will be led by new board members and executives, but Mr. Winfried Rompf – Win as he prefers, will stay on as Musical Advisor.

By Daria Krasnomovets

While Winfried Rompf may be stepping into a new role as Musical Advisor this year, the legacy of his passion, expertise, and influence while President will continue as NWIPEC embarks on its 7th year. As one of the founding organizers, Win has been a part of the competition since the start of its story. He sits down with me to discuss its past, present, and future.

‘How did the idea pop up?’

‘The Pacific Piano Competition – a contest for solo players – runs every second year in Vancouver. The organizers thought that it might be a good idea to have a duet piano competition that would go an alternate year.  I was excited about the idea when they contacted me, and we started negotiating the details and setting up a charitable organization, The North West Piano Ensemble Society. Since the first competition was held in 2009, the decision was made that from that time on we were independent.’

‘It seems that it was necessary to have a separate event for ensembles.’

Yes, we felt that we should be focusing our attention on the specific type of competition and not too much going on at the same time. As a matter of fact, piano duets became incredibly popular during the 1900s and certainly into the XXI century. In addition, there is a very rich repertory of duets that is available, almost as large as solo piano. You could specialize in romantic, contemporary, entertainment type of piano music. In general, the competition we are talking about gave a career boost to many professional duettists.’

‘This is another chance for musicians to develop their skills, isn’t it?’

Definitely, it is.From my experience, students who have tried playing duet usually gravitate to it whenever they can. The reason is that they really do much better in their solo work as a result, because in the process they learn things they would never learn as a solo player.’

‘Remembering past competitions, could you tell us about the most impressive performances?’

This is the tough one, as there were so many of them I really enjoyed. The last competition was an incredibly high level. For example, the performance of Brahm’s Sonata for two pianos was unbelievable. Another one was played by couple of Russian pianists who amplified a version of Danse Macabre, although it wasn’t originally written for two pianos. They demonstrated terrific talent.

‘In order to embrace the challenges posed by the pandemic, The 7th NWIPEC will be a virtual one. In your opinion, how will the competition evolve?’

There are challenges with virtual competitions too, but at least travelling is not going to be an issue. Therefore, people who would have had to travel to the competition but could not afford to cover all the expenses will have a chance to join us. You can also have judges from all over the world. Although we will miss the audience this time, participation will be still beneficial for everyone involved.

It is worth mentioning that we were not trying to make it a sort of light festival. Even if participants are young, we are asking people to perform pieces that were actually written for piano duet or duo piano. Arrangements of symphonies and overtures would not qualify. It really forces participants to search the literature a little bit more.’

‘What is your role in organizing the upcoming 7th NWIPEC?’

For the past six times, I was the President of the Association that sponsored it, being responsible for much of what was going on in terms of administration as well as actually running it, except for the last one. We were very fortunate to have as the master ceremony Mr. Jeff Alexander, President of The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, who did a brilliant job in negotiating the competition through its final phase of the award-winning ceremonies.

Since the pandemic has developed, it became clear to me that things are not going to be the same, and we need new leadership for that. I felt that I would probably not be the best person to lead in a new direction. So, my role now has become a Musical Advisor, which means I will be dealing with questions that have to do with musical aspects of the competition: repertory, qualifications, suitability of music that has been chosen.

Of course, I am always available for the new board, especially to the new President and Vice-President. I am very excited that Tanya Tyuleneva is the new President; she will bring new ideas and a lot of good direction to this competition. She is working with Dr. Bruce Lin, Professor in Texas. He will be taking on the USA directed coordination. I feel that my role is to loosen to some extent and to let people fly.’

Videos from the 6th NWIPEC have been posted

First Round: Full playlist

Final Round: Full playlist

Editing for the videos have finally been completed and they have been uploaded to our YouTube channel, with the links provided above.

Due to the live nature of the recordings, some videos may have a lower-than-expected quality. Please accept our sincere apologies if this has impacted you.

Thank you very much for your patience and understanding as we worked on editing and uploading the videos from the competition. As the NWIPEC grows, we will continue to work on better management and organization of various aspects, which includes the media portion of the competition.

Planning for the 7th NWIPEC is in progress!

The success of the last competition still rings in our ears.

Thanks to the excellent competitors and the judges who excelled in their professional judgement and their willingness to meet all the participants in a special Debriefing Master Class.

All that came felt this to be a very informative and educational session.

With the adrenaline still rushing, we have started on the preparations for the next competition—that is, the 7th NWIPEC! As the NWIPEC grows each year, we have learned a lot from the 6th NWIPEC and will be bringing these into consideration for the upcoming competition in 2020.

more “Planning for the 7th NWIPEC is in progress!”

Delayed Website Updates

With the closing of the competition, we are working on updating the website to include photos, videos, and other detailed information about what had transpired from the 6th NWIPEC, which took place on November 23-25, 2018.

Thank you all for your understanding and continued patience!

The 6th NWIPEC has officially ended

We hope everyone has enjoyed the performances and talent that was displayed in both the First and Final Rounds of the 6th NWIPEC. We were astounded by all the applicants’ level of skill and maturity.

If you were not present, then do not worry: photos and videos from the competition nights will be posted shortly. Please bear with us as the editing and uploading of the media is taking some time.

Thank you for your support and patience!

Letter of Support from Mayor Gregor Robertson

“On behalf of my colleagues on Vancouver City Council, I am pleased to extend my greetings to everyone attending the 6th North West International Piano Ensemble Competition hosted by the North West Piano Ensemble Society (NWPES).

This North West Piano Ensemble Society was formed in 2006 in order to provide an opportunity for talented amateur pianists to explore the piano duet and piano duo repertoire and to demonstrate both, to themselves and audiences, the rich legacy of this type of piano music. The experience of playing as teams is very worthy and helpful to young performers. This competition is the only one of its kind in Canada and we are so proud to host it in Vancouver.

I would like to welcome everyone to this competition. Participants have come from Asia, Europe, across Canada and, of course, locally. We are fortunate in Vancouver to have a thriving arts community and we all agree that music is a wonderful way to bridge the gaps between cultures and ages.

I wish all the participants the best of luck for a successful and enjoyable competition.”

Registration is now closed

The competition is now in full swing of final preparations and we are happy to report that this will be a super show! Excellent teams have joined to make our competition an amazing display of talent and skill. Anyone wishing to hear what duets and duos are capable of, should not miss this opportunity to witness some of the world’s best amateur teams. Needless to say, the competition executive is excited, and we know you, the audience, will be too. Please visit our Facebook page and see our posters for details. Tickets for the final round are now available on Eventbrite.

To the competitors, we want to express our support for a great experience. You are what makes the North West International Piano Ensemble Competition a recognized Canadian event.

We, the NWPES, want to thank our sponsorsespecially Tom Lee Musicfor their great support. Without them, this kind of a competition would not be possible or as successful as it is.

Winfried Rompf
President, NWPES

Early Bird Application Deadline Approaching!

It is less than two weeks away until July 1st!

This means that we are nearing the deadline for NWIPEC’s early bird application date—as well as, of course, the 151st anniversary of Canada’s birthday.

So far, we have received interesting applications and inquiries from several countries and for the various categories of this competition. We are excited to have performers coming from Europe, Asia, and North America and we look forward to welcoming all of you to Canada.

If you want to benefit from the early bird registration fee, please apply as early as possible or be in touch with us before July 1st, 2018. Details are in the Rules and Regulations page of this website.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.

 

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