Musicians launch accessible online competition

Two young musicians are attempting to shake up the traditional competition model with a new accessible contest that takes place entirely online.

The World Competition, launched by Australian pianist Chris Alomes and cellist William Hewer, allows musicians from around the world to compete for an annual prize pool of AUD120,000 (€85,000).

TWC runs over 12 contests per year: four each in classical, jazz and contemporary disciplines. Each contest runs for three calendar months, with individual prize money of AUD10,000 up for grabs.

Speaking to ArtsHub, Alomes said of the traditional competition model: ‘You make your 45 minute DVD, pay your €200 and fire it off.  You don’t hear anything for three months and then if you do get accepted you have to find the money to travel for a competition you may or may not get anything out of.’

He added: ‘We wanted to break down all the barriers and make it accessible.’

Musicians aged between 15 and 30 can enter TWC by creating an online profile featuring their recordings. The website includes an interactive page allowing them to share their clips. It also features a crowd-funding widget, meaning players can raise cash for costs – including the AUD100 entry fee.

Judges, who include vocalist Jane Edwards, conductor Benjamin Northey and percussionist Gary Wain, will assess the performances at the end of each month.

Alomes and Hewer secured private funds for the prize money.

Alomes said: ‘It’s completely privately funded. Not being attached to a university or a funding body that requires government involvement and everything that goes with that guarantees that we can remain in control and make it the kind of competition we would want to enter. We wanted to create an arts organisation that does not rely on funding, which is important given the state of the economy.’