About The Leeds

The Leeds International Piano Competition is one of the world’s foremost music competitions.

Since the first edition in 1963, ‘The Leeds’ has attracted the world’s finest young pianists and prize-winners include the Competition’s Patron Murray Perahia KBE, Radu Lupu, Mitsuko Uchida, András Schiff, Lars Vogt, Anna Tsybuleva, Federico Colli and Eric Lu.

The founders were three friends – Dame Fanny Waterman, Marion Thorpe and Roslyn Lyons – who attracted young musicians to Leeds by the opportunities offered by an outstanding prize package, the challenge of demanding repertoire, a stellar jury, and the very warmest welcome from the people of Yorkshire.

In bold defiance of the pandemic, the 2021 International First Round reached 17 venues around the globe and The Leeds was the first major European competition to bring its live audiences back. Online, viewers around the world experienced The Competition in HD sound and video through medici.tv, BBC Four, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 3, amadeus.tv, mezzo.tv and Classic FM, attracting over 4.7 million views and listens across more than 140 countries during our 2021 Edition.

Helping our artists to develop is at the heart of what the Competition stands for. We seek not only to discover the finest young pianists, but to nurture and equip them for the swiftly changing world we are living in. Competitor + is a unique programme that provides career-enhancing opportunities and support packages for all our Competitors, and our Tabor Young Ambassadors programme supports the next generation of young competitors prepare for their competition journey.

We offer a prize package that is truly transformative, including worldwide management with Askonas Holt, a debut recording with Warner Classics, recitals at Wigmore Hall and the Southbank in London, tours of Europe and East Asia in association with Steinway & Sons, broadcast opportunities with the BBC and an extensive package of national and international engagements with a range of promoters and orchestras, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Perhaps most importantly, we are passionate about the role of the piano to inspire diverse communities and bring people together, both locally and around the world. We offer unique opportunities for Competitors and Prize-winners to connect with audiences beyond the concert hall and develop year-round programmes with our community and educational partners, including our famed Leeds Piano Trail. 

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 the 2021 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

University of Leeds logo

City Partners

Leeds City Council
Leeds BID

Broadcast Partners

Classic FM
BBC Radio 3

Artistic Partners

Steinway & Sons
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Warner Classics logo
Askonas Holt
Leeds Conservatoire

Funding Partners

Liz & Terry Bramall Foundation
Arts@Leeds logo
Leeds Inspired
Emerald Foundation logo
Jack Lyons Charitable Trust
Foyle Foundation logo
Holdback Charitable Trust
Skip to content