The Leeds

The Leeds is one of the world’s foremost music competitions. Since the first Competition in 1963, it has attracted the world’s finest young pianists, drawn by the opportunities offered by the outstanding prize package, the challenge of demanding repertoire, a stellar jury – and a warm welcome from the City of Leeds.

A bold new vision, launched in 2016 by Co-Artistic Directors Paul Lewis and Adam Gatehouse, has seen The Leeds spread its wings. Internationally, in 2018 First Rounds were held in Berlin, New York and Singapore. And for the first time the whole Competition was broadcast online with medici.tv, attracting over 1 million views across more than 190 countries.

Locally, the Leeds Piano Festival took place in Leeds and London and partnerships have been built and strengthened. Our Leeds roots are deepened with Piano+, an imaginative programme of city-wide activity, and our year-round Learning & Engagement work.

The Leeds is led by Adam Gatehouse, who became sole Artistic Director in 2019, and is honoured to have the support of Murray Perahia as Patron and Lang Lang as Global Ambassador.

Read about this year’s Competition here.


2021 Competition

1st prize – Alim Beisembayev
2nd prize – Kaito Kobayashi
3rd prize – Ariel Lanyi
4th prize – Dmytro Choni
5th prize – Thomas Kelly

2018 Competition

1st prize – Eric Lu
2nd prize – Mario Häring
3rd prize – Xinyuan Wang

2015 Competition

1st prize – Anna Tsybuleva
2nd prize – Heejae Kim
3rd prize – Vitaly Pisarenko
4th prize – Drew Peterson
5th prize – Tornoki Kitamura
6th prize – Yun Wei

2012 Competition

1st prize – Federico Colli
2nd prize – Louis Schwizgebel
3rd prize – Jiayan Sun
4th prize – Andrejs Osokins
5th prize – Andrew Tyson
6th prize – Jayson Gillham

2009 Competition

1st prize – Sofya Gulyak
2nd prize – Alexej Gorlach
3rd prize – Alessandro Taverna
4th prize – David Kadouch
5th prize – Wai-Ching Rachel Cheung
6th prize – Jianing Kong

2006 Competition

1st prize – Sunwook Kim
2nd prize – Andrew Brownell
3rd prize – Denis Kozhukhin
4th prize – Siheng Song
5th prize – Sung-Hoon Kim
6th prize – Grace Fong

2003 Competition

1st prize – Antti Siirala
2nd prize – Evgenia Rubinova
3rd prize – Yuma Osaki
4th prize – Igor Tchetuev
5th prize – Chiao Ying-Chang
6th prize – Sodi Braide

2000 Competition

1st prize – Alessio Bax
2nd prize – Davide Franceschetti
3rd prize – Severin von Eckardstein
4th prize – Cristiano Burato
5th prize – Ashley Wass
6th prize – Tatiana Kolesova

1996 Competition

1st prize – Ilya Itin
2nd prize – Roberto Cominati
3rd prize – Aleksandar Madzar
4th prize – Sa Chen
5th prize – Armen Babakhanian
6th prize – Ekaterina Apekisheva

1993 Competition

1st prize – Ricardo Castro
2nd prize – Leon McCawley
3rd prize – Mark Anderson
4th prize – Filippo Gamba
5th prize – Maxim Philippov
6th prize – Margarita Schevchenko

1990 Competition

1st prize – Artur Pizzaro
2nd prize – Lars Vogt
3rd prize – Eric le Sage
4th prize – Balazs Szokolay
5th prize – Haesun Paik
6th prize – Andrei Zheltonog

1987 Competition

1st prize – Vladimir Ovchinnikov
2nd prize – Ian Munro
3rd prize – Noriko Ogawa
4th prize – Boris Berezovsky
5th prize – Hugh Tinney
6th prize – Marcantonio Barone

1984 Competition

1st prize – Jon Kimura Parker
2nd prize – Jo Hee Suh
3rd prize – Junko Otake
4th prize – Louis Lortie
5th prize – David Buechner
6th prize – Emma Tahmizian

1981 Competition

1st prize – Ian Hobson
2nd prize – Wolfgang Manz
3rd prize – Bernard d’Ascoli
4th prize – Daniel Blumenthal
5th prize – Christopher O’Riley
6th prize – Peter Donohoe

1978 Competition

1st prize – Michel Dalberto
2nd prize – Diana Kacso
3rd prize – Lydia Artymiw
4th prize – Ian Hobson
5th prize – Kathryn Stott
6th prize – Etsuko Terada

1975 Competition

1st prize – Dmitri Alexeev
2nd prize – Mitsuko Uchida
Joint 3rd prize – Andras Schiff and Pascal Devoyon
4th prize – Michael Houstoun
5th prize – Myung-Whun Chung

1972 Competition

1st prize – Murray Perahia
2nd prize – Craig Sheppard
3rd prize – Eugen Indjic

1969 Competition

1st prize – Radu Lupu
2nd prize – Georges Pludermacher
3rd prize – Arthur Moreira-Lima
4th prize – Boris Petrushanksy
5th prize – Anne Queffelec

1966 Competition

1st prize – Rafael Orozco
Joint 2nd prize – Viktoria Postnikova and Semyon Kruchin
3rd prize – Aleksei Nasedkin
4th prize – Jean-Rodolphe Kars

1963 Competition

1st prize – Michael Roll
2nd prize – Vladimir Krainev
3rd prize – Sebastien Risler
4th prize – Armenta Adams

Our Heritage

The first Leeds International Piano Competition took place in 1963.

The idea of staging a piano competition in Leeds was that of local piano teacher and former concert pianist, Fanny Waterman. In bringing that idea to fruition Fanny Waterman was assisted by her husband Dr Geoffrey de Keyser and by Marion Thorpe, then Countess of Harewood. The first Competition was won by Michael Roll before a jury chaired by Sir Arthur Bliss. In 1966 and 1969 the chair of the jury was William Glock, who was followed by Lord Boyle of Handsworth for the next three competitions. In 1981 Dame Fanny Waterman, as she was to become in 2005, chaired the jury for the first time, continuing to do so until her retirement in 2015.

Leeds Town Hall has hosted all but one of the Competition’s finals (the exception being in 1975, when it was closed for extensive renovation). It provides a magisterial backdrop to the conclusion of the Competition, and it plays host to many notable Competition alumni every year.

The concerto finals have been supported by a number of major UK orchestras over the years including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Hallé. Sir Mark Elder has conducted the Hallé Orchestra at all the finals since 2003, with the exception of 2018 when the conductor was Edward Gardner. Other conductors with long associations with the Competition have included Sir Charles Groves and Sir Simon Rattle. The BBC has broadcast all Competitions since 1966 on television and radio. In 2018 the Competition was streamed live online for the first time with medici.tv.

The list of eminent past Competition winners includes Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia. The roll call of other Competition finalists is equally illustrious as that of the winners and includes Mitsuko Uchida and Sir Andras Schiff (1975), Peter Donohoe (1981), Louis Lortie (1984), Lars Vogt (1990), Denis Kozhukhin (2006) and Louis Schwizgebel (2012).


Partnerships lie at the heart of The Leeds, helping us to ensure that our pianists have the very best opportunities to progress their careers and that the Competition reaches the widest possible audience.

Principal Partner


Media Partner

Broadcast Partner

Artistic Partners