Controversy @ 2007 Euro Solo Contest?

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by Mr_Euniverse, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. Mr_Euniverse

    Mr_Euniverse Member

    I entered this years' European Solo Competition. The testpiece for the first round out of four was "Pantomime" for my section, that I played really well (I thought) and so did a few people from the audience & fellow competitors. (There weren't all that many people there in the 1st round to be honest!)

    I was quite gob-smacked to find (without being big-headed) that I hadn't made it through to the 2nd round. It was a few days until I read the adjudication notes.

    It said hardly anything negative about how I played mentioning technical and musical strengths. However, several times it mentioned about the way I stood.

    Quotes like "you stand with poor posture" and "you look very tense".

    This seems to me the only thing they picked up on in a negative way in their adjudication.
    I have a very rare back/shoulder condition called "Sprengel's Shoulder". This can make me look stiff/tense even when I am not.
    So basically it seems from that, I was not put through because of the way I look.

    However, I am not entirely blaming the adjudicators for being rather ignorant. At the bottom of the adjudication sheet is states catagories for the judges to follow. Whether points come with these catagories is another thing. However the first catagory was "POSTURE" (with it being first on the list, makes it look as if it is the most important). Whether I would have gone through to the later stages is another thing but it would have been nice to be judged on solely my musical skills.

    My question is:-
    Is POSTURE such an important factor in judging a music contest?
    If someone in a wheelchair entered the contest, would they be marked down for their "POSTURE"?

    I have emailed and written a letter to the EBBA complaining of this situation and I am still awaiting reply.
  2. Raspberry

    Raspberry Member

    Hi Mr Euniverse

    I was disturbed to read your thread and can understand how you feel. It seems to me there seems to be a certain amount of ignorance surrounding your shoulder condition.

    Can you clarify if the entry form asked if you have any disabilities or whether you have any requirements? You should be able to state if there is any condition that the organisers should be aware about.

    Also did the entry details state that you were going to be marked on Posture?

    Surely you should only be marked on your musical skills?

    I am curious as to how long it took for you to receive your adjudication comments. Where you able to collect them on the day and you decided not to read them or were they posted to you?

    I will be very interested to hear about your response from the EBBA. Do post on tmp with the outcome. Situations like these needs to be looked at to ensure that such scenarios do not happen again!
  3. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Hi Martyn,
    I can completely sympathise! You're one of the best euph players I've heard in a long time and fully deserve to have gone through against any opposition. It just goes to show how ignorant some adjudicators can be. Just to give you an example, when I played in the final of the British Open Solo contest a couple of years back, one of the adjudicators (who insists on being called Dr. ........ and should know better) accused me of playing a wrong note, when the truth was he couldn't read tenor clef:mad:

    We are all at the mercy of opinions, unfortunately. Whether they are informed ones or not.

    I'm not saying you don't have a valid gripe, you do, but I think if you complain too much, you might find yourself in a worse-off position than before. I think you should shake it off and put it down to experience.

    I was on the LPO extra list for years. When the principal job came up, I was hoping to go in and trial for it, but they didn't even offer me an audition! I've never found out why. I thought it best to just put it down to experience. Suffice to say, when the 2nd job came up, I was wary about applying, but luckily I was invited to trial before I even applied.
  4. Mr_Euniverse

    Mr_Euniverse Member

    I totally agree. However I'm a little miffed at getting no reply back from them.
  5. Raspberry

    Raspberry Member

    How long ago it since you wrote to them?

    You are entitled to a response.

    I agree with Bass Trumpet in a way however would you want the same situation to happen to anyone else?
  6. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    I disagree with this for soloist contests. For me presentation, as well as musical ability, is a large part of what it takes to be a great soloist.
  7. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Oh yes, you definately deserve some sort of explanation. They won't change the result, but at least you could get an apology.
  8. *sign* that's the thing that divides a good musician from a good soloist.
  9. Mr_Euniverse

    Mr_Euniverse Member

    So, you saying I'm a good musician but a bad soloist????!!! ;)
  10. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Don't quite understand what you mean. I was making the point that most good soloists present themselves impecably on stage. This attitude invariably carries over into their general playing in ensemble and adds to their ability as a musician.
  11. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    You're great at both, mate :clap:
  12. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    I second the above. Anyone who has the guts to even consider entering such a prestigious event can consider themselves as both. :)
  13. EIBB_Ray

    EIBB_Ray Member

    hhhmmm, while I'll agree that presentation is a factor, can it not be overcome by superior performance? So, I wonder how you'd feel about Itzhak Perlman tottering out on his crutches and sitting to play the violin without benefit of a quartet or orchestra? Not trying to pick on your response, just food for thought....
  14. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I remember Martyn from the NYBBW and he was a fine player then, so I'm surprised to read his post. I think in this case an explanation of the remarks would be a reasonable expectation.

    That said (as with band contesting generally), if you have the guts to enter a solo contest - something I've never done - you kind of put yourself up there to be shot at. While the criticisms made sound unfair, even foolish, it wouldn't be the first time that a competition has been won or lost based on decisions that don't make sense.

    Nail struck firmly on the head - regrettably.
  15. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    I agree that some kind of reply should be forthcoming from the EBBA, even if it is to acknowledge your letter and then follow with the usual "the judge's decision is final and no correspondence can be entered into" sort of thing which is usual for music competitions. It does seem from what Martyn is saying that the crit is not what one might expect; but, as people have said here and elsewhere in as many words, "that's contesting".

    The only thing I would say for the 'other side' is that posture is a part of presentation which is a factor in judging these things, though it shouldn't be the primary one. Although Martyn's percieved 'bad' posture is caused by a medical condition, the judges can't take it into account if they don't know about it - and even if they do, they may not have much choice but to lessen its account. Decisions have to be made somehow...

    By the by, I played in a youth band with a chap in a wheelchair. He had excellent posture, much better than mine. It's perfectly possible to have good or bad posture in a chair - look round your bandroom next practice!
  16. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Not 100% sure what your getting at Ray, but all I know is that when Diana and depped with Tongwynlais (apologies for the spelling) at the French Open in '05, and Martin won the best soloist...there was no surprise!

    He is a world class player! Now granted I wasn't at the Euros, so I would expect to hear other world class players there, but if he was just marked down for posture that is rubbish!

    Not to say Martyn would've won, but in general...I hat e when you go to a contest, get judged, don't finish well and there is no proper explanation.
  17. Steve Walsh

    Steve Walsh New Member

    Hi Martyn.
    I was shocked to find out you didn't make it through to the second round of the solo comp after hearing your performance ( with no dots!! ) and not putting a foot wrong. I think its fair to say that we had the hardest pieces to perform in the competition from beginning to end out of all the instruments. After listening to several other Euph players ( who got through to the second round and further ) I was more than confident your performance would be through. Its quite disturbing to find out that a performer has been knocked out when they clearly do a better job than others.
    Yes posture and stage presence are a major factor when performing as a soloist, but surly the notes and music are more important in the early stages of a comp like this?
    Hopefully see you at the British open solo's in November.
    Try and remember your music this time!!!

  18. Bunnymonster

    Bunnymonster Member

    I feel that presenting oneself properly on stage is an important part of playing, whether as a solist or ensemble member. In effect Martyn has been discriminated against, however, ONLY if the judges knew about his condition. If the judges were unaware of this problem they were unable to take this into account.

    Medical problems do not need to hamper careers, just look at Andrea Bocelli, David Helfgott, even Beethoven! Count this as one minor set-back, draw a line under it, and aim for the top!
  19. I didn't rate anything here. Just wanted to point out that many outstanding musicians (having a musical/technical ability that I couldn't even dream of) lack that extra bit "stage charisma" when playing a solo piece. From a psychological point of view, many soloists still underrate the visual impression on the audience, although many studies (business presentations,...) have shown the importance of the visual part of a presentation.

    Still the best example coming to my mind in order to unterline my statement is Mr. R. Webster. All recordings of and with Mr. Webster and his contributions as a band principal are stunning and pure world-class and send shivers down my spine (in my opinion, he's simply the best principal cornet player "on the market"). However, as a soloist, playing in front of a band, I sometimes tend to get carried away and become a bit bored although I have never heard him put a foot wrong during a performance and his musical and technical approach ist of sheer brilliance.

    That's the only thing I wanted to say. The remarks from the adjudicators seem to head for the same. However, if I were you, I would go with Bunnymonster and draw a line under it.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2007
  20. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    The other side of the coin, of course, is the soloist who thinks he is putting a lot of emotion into his or her performance, but in fact only succeeds in making the audience dizzy: many's the time I've closed my eyes so I can concentrate on the music, rather than the theatricals.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2007

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