The present era of Internet, mobile phones and Nintendo games makes it increasingly difficult to preserve the traditional cultural values. In order to guarantee a high standard of musical practice also for the future, some elements are indispensable such as a thorough musical education. Traditions in musical education show a great diversity in the various parts of the world though it is evident that talent does not know any national borders. International music competitions enable us therefore to compare the different �schools�. The worldwide increase in piano contests proves that this way of making music remains essential and enjoys a wide popularity not only with the participants but also with the audience.
You may compare a piano competiton with a sports event (or Olympic Games) but you can also consider it a cultural event; a genuine music festival! Both aspects are very attractive for the audience and highly instructive for the candidates. The additional advantage of a youth competition is its educational function which is indispensable for piano students and forms an essential part of their studies. Particularly in Western Europe where the demands on music school pupils are not too high, youth competitions are practically the only means to reach a perfect repertoire and an maximum artistic level. During such piano contests young musicians meet other youngsters of the same age from different countries, but sharing the same interests. They can listen to each other, learn from each other and taste the world level of piano playing. This is an unforgettable experience which they can take home and will give them a lasting source of inspiration for their future studies. Therefore, this contests does not know any losers apart from the results achieved.
This year, the Enschede piano competition is held for the fifth time. And again, both the number of candidates and the artistic level of the young pianists show an upward trend. I do hope that the 2008 competition will become a true music festival for all those concerned. I wish all candidates good luck and the audience much pleasure in listening to them!