BBC News reports that Webber stated in an interview on Radio 4 that winning competitions has nothing to do with ability, and that to win you must know someone on the jury. He goes on to suggest that many who enter competitions are gullible, obviously not knowing that the fix is in.
"I entered one once when I was 21" he said. "It was the so-called Munich International Cello Competition and I was knocked out in the first round with the only other cellist who went on to do anything internationally."
The BBC report indicates that Webber didn't single out any particular competition, but in a separate interview as reported in The Telegraph, he pulled no punches. The Telegraph reports that Lloyd Webber said corruption was rife in Britain and abroad, singling out the Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow, held every four years and open to musicians between the ages of 16 and 30, as the most prestigious example of unscrupulous judging.
I might mention here that the General Director of the Tchaikovsky competition is Richard Rodzinski, former director of the Cliburn competition in Fort Worth. I met Rodzinski a few years ago when attempting to work on a project with him and the Cliburn organization. And in all fairness to the Tchaikovsky, the Telegraph reports that since the last time the competitions was held in 2011 reforms have been introduced, including in the jury – now made up of well-known international performers and artists to ensure the competition is skewed less in favor of native (Russian) musicians. In the piano category, only one non-Russian has won since 1990.
As Ivan Hewitt points out in a separate commentary in the Telegraph, many young musicians are avoiding competitions altogether, finding other more creative ways to launch their careers. In my humble view, theirs is the better idea. Making your own way and finding your own audience to me seems