Over the past week, while the city hunkered down into a second week of lockdown, 32 pianists aged from 20 to 33 from 14 countries have been competing virtually for a place in the finals of The Sydney, better known as the Sydney International Piano Competition.

Cancelled last year and postponed to 2021, the four-yearly event with its 50 recitals had be to held online this year with viewers logging on to a virtual playlist for tickets at $15 a pop or a season ticket for $350. The recitals – three of them, one each for the preliminary, semi and final rounds – had to be recorded by the contenders as and where they could under strict COVID conditions. They then had to put the videos in a Dropbox, scrutinised online by Piers Lane, The Sydney’s Artistic Director and non-voting Chair of the seven judges – Olivier Cazal (France), Mark Coughlan (Australia), Dang Thai Son (Vietnam), Olga Kern from Russia/US, Seta Tanyel from Austria, Vladimir Tropp from Russia, and Mira Yevtich from Serbia.

Calvin Abdiel