The Leeds International Piano Competition has announced that 68 pianists, eight more than originally planned, have been shortlisted for the First Round of its 19th edition.
The selection jury, chaired by Co-Artistic Director, Adam Gatehouse, unanimously selected all 68 for the newly introduced international First Round, which will take place in Berlin, Singapore and New York in April 2018, declaring that paring down nearly two hundred applications to just 60, as originally planned, had been impossible due to the ‘extraordinarily high quality of applicants’.
The 68 pianists represent 28 nationalities, nine more than in the last edition of the triennial competition in 2015. Five British nationals have been selected as well as the first ever competitor from Syria.
While half of the competitors are Asian nationals (led by China and South Korea, with 11 competitors each), almost two-thirds of the pianists are based in Europe, including 11 UK and 15 German residents. The fact such a high proportion of competitors live or study in Europe has caused ‘The Leeds’ to add an extra day to the First Round in Berlin, enabling 43 competitors to take part there. The remaining 25 are split between New York and Singapore.
The First Round jury, chaired by Adam Gatehouse and including Thomas Hübsch, Noriko Ogawa and Marna Seltzer, will hear a 25-minute recital from each of the 68 pianists in the three global centres before selecting 24 to go through to the Second Round in Leeds in September 2018.
An enhanced programme of activities during the Second Round, Semi-Finals and Finals aims to create an enriched experience for both competitors and audiences – with masterclasses, lectures from major figures in classical music, exhibitions and a new chamber music element – while the Concerto Final performances, with the Hallé, will be conducted by Edward Gardner for the first time. All rounds will be streamed worldwide by medici.tv and BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four will cover the Finals.
Other developments in 2018 include:
- a range of new partnerships
- a greater range of concerts and education work, including a new Leeds Piano Festival to take place annually in London and Leeds
- an enhanced post-competition prize package with long-term career strategy in mind
With cash prizes worth over £90,000, the prize package includes:
- artistic management with music management agency, Askonas Holt
- concerts and engagements with venues and orchestras including the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Oslo Philharmonic
- concert and recording engagements with media partner, BBC Radio 3
- a major European tour organised with partner, Steinway & Sons
- a recital CD with a leading recording label
- a programme of recital engagements in Yorkshire and other UK venues
- mentoring from Co-Artistic Director, Paul Lewis, Patron, Murray Perahia, and other members of the performer-led jury, including Sa Chen, Imogen Cooper, Adam Gatehouse, Henning Kraggerud, Thomas Larcher, Gillian Moore, Simon Trpčeski and Lars Vogt
Adam Gatehouse, Co-Artistic Director and juror, said:
‘We are thrilled that so many extraordinary young pianists applied, particularly considering that the entry requirements are tougher than before, with the introduction of a chamber music element and with candidates having to prepare more repertoire than ever. Although The Leeds has such a strong track record in identifying and supporting new talent, we were astonished by the sheer quality of applicants and are delighted that our many developments have yielded so much potential. All of the 68 players selected have something special to bring and the selection process has been extremely rigorous and difficult. We greatly look forward to hearing them live in the first ever international First Round in Berlin, Singapore and New York and we are sure that some truly exceptional talents will come to the fore in what promises to be a hugely exciting competition.’
A full list of competitors can be viewed here.
Competition dates and locations
Second Round, Semi-Finals & Finals: Leeds, 6-15 September 2018