Backstage there is increased activity, apart from the organizers and stagehands the media throng is increasing with a microphone, camera or video camera in everyone’s face. You must be careful what you say or do as all of a sudden a camera will appear or a microphone on a boom is behind you! 

The throng is the pianos in the warmup area is relentless. Chopin Etudes being played with ever increasing speed, List being hammered with ever increasing volume and a complete lack of understanding that a piano can actually be played at pp! I hope that this changes on stage! 

There is the usual talk of a favourite, an anointed one….. he is due to play first in the evening and there is standing room only as his fan club and other students have come to hear him. He walks on stage showing no emotion. The next 40 min resembles a jack hammer connected to mallet attached to a formula 1 engine. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, List, Rachmaninov or even Tchaikovsky don’t stand a chance. The piano goes into meltdown and eventually gives into to the abuse and bites back with an increasing jangle. The favourite is out. Whatever pressure there may or may not have been in the Jury no one could tolerate such players, at least to save their ears for the second round!