Some interesting observations from this year's Cliburn winner can be found here.
"Not surprisingly, the 25-year-old Russian has strong opinions about the contests that pit pianist against pianist as though music were just another form of athletic endeavor. "First of all," he said at the outset of an interview by phone last weekend from Fort Worth, "I must say that I hate competitions......"We have to do them," Kobrin said. "The situation now is that you have to win the competition, then you can get some career. You can find just a few big pianists who have a career without doing any competitions -- like (fellow Russian Evgeny) Kissin, for example. His case was exceptional because he came out of the political situation at that time."
I sometimes think competitions are doing more harm than good, but it's symptomatic of a much larger problem or condition.