Seattle Symphony Piano Competition: Q&A with Efe Baltacıgil

The Seattle Symphony presents its first-ever Piano Competition, September 15–18 at Benaroya Hall. One of the seven judges will be Seattle Symphony Principal Cello, Efe Baltacıgil. We asked Efe about his advice for young artists, suggestions for what they should do while they're in town and what it's like to be judging rather than performing. More information about tickets, contestants and judges can be found here.  

As an alum of the Young Concert Artists program, what does it feel like to be on the jury side of the table rather than on stage?

Having been on both sides, I can easily say that it is so much easier to judge than perform. Therefore, I take my hat off to all the musicians!

One of the pieces in the Recital Round is a brand new composition which has never been performed before. How do you recommend people balance learning a new piece with preparing the more traditional repertoire? 

This is a good and fresh opportunity to find your own unpolluted interpretation of a brand new work. I always enjoy finding new details and connections, both within the new work, and also discovering what other composers, recent and past, may have influenced them.  

Do you have any advice for these young artists? Win or lose, how should they be thinking about this experience? 

Winning and losing are both equally ephemeral, for sure. What stays out there is your accumulation of the experience, so enjoy!

Many of these contestants will be in Seattle for the first time, what’s something they should do while they’re in town? 

Pike Place Market, around the corner from our beautiful Benaroya Hall, is fantastic for good food and great sunsets with the Olympics as a backdrop.

Posted on August 12, 2015