Already in Greek times musicians competed: to get a job, to show off, or because an emperor thought it would be entertaining. Mozart competed with Clementi, Bach was challenged by Marchand, Scarlatti and Handel competed and many more did.
They vied with each other for beauty, for creativity, for virtuosity, for expressivity. Not for being ‘better’ than the other, but for being different; how many ways are there to throw the
ball- the ball being the theme in the playground of the improvisation.
Like today’s rap battles, improvisation and competition made classical music a scintillating experience, an inclusive experience!
One of the most special features of this programme is the way the audience is included. Because they create the themes, tell stories and pick winners, they are involved from beginning to end, and experience classical music on a new level.
Come, be the Emperor, and sit on the edge of your throne for classical music in the moment.
Competitions in the past
A well-documented competition is the one between Mozart and Clementi. Both musicians’ music is still played today, although nowadays one of them definitely eclipsed the other in terms of playing time and fame.
At the time, Clementi was also a well-respected musician. The emperor of the Habsburg empire invited both musicians to compete. We even know on which music they improvised! Read more about competitions from the past here.