Those who loved last year's small-but-perfectly-formed The Hiss will thrill to this new show from its creator James Kim. The premise is so obviously good that we're surprised it hasn't been done before (the closest thing that comes to mind is Ilya Marritz's addictive 2015 hit, The Season). In each series of The Competition, Kim will document one contest from beginning to end. This time it's the Van Cliburn, one of the world's most prestigious competitions for young pianists. Success in the Cliburn virtually guarantees a career as a professional pianist. Failure dooms one to obscurity. And just to ratchet up the pressure another notch, this thing is a ticking clock: the contest only takes place every four years and competitors age out at thirty. In two instalments to date, Kim has introduced us to a few of the 146 young pianists who will compete in this year's Cliburn and their specific, high-stakes world, while subsequent episodes will follow them through the elimination rounds to come. Listen now and join us in the impatient wait for more.
Gateway episodes: 1. The Stakes (6 Feb 2017)