The judges: Madam Yeong Yoon Ching, Dorothy Chia and I, were treated to an afternoon of delightful piano-playing, with varied and interesting programmes. When it comes to allocating prizes, it was not very clear-cut as there wasn't any player who was outstanding that stood out from the crowd. Hence, we had to deliberate and come to a compromise in our decision. The result was not unanimous in all three of the prizes. (One competitor played with great poise and professionalism and was my choice for a prize, but i was outnumbered, another competitor perhaps did not quite perform with adequate control of the instrument to deserve a prize, but i was again outnumbered). But it is important to remember that judging a competition is a very subjective matter.
A bit of advice for competitors: 1)When performing only a single piece, choose pieces that show versatility and musicianship. 2) Avoid modern-living composers as some adjudicators have little to say about them. (If you are playing a variety of works, including a modern-living composer is fine) 3) do not be disheartened if you do not win any prizes. Even top musicians like John Nakamatsu, (winner of Van Cliburn Compeitition 1997) said that he was knocked out of hundreds of competitions before he found success!
Believe in yourself and play with sincerity and integrity.