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 some 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.

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 Mission: Celebrating the Piano!

The Leeds International Piano Competition has a mission to celebrate the piano and to unlock its transformative potential.

We want to be the global leader in giving opportunities to the world’s most gifted young pianists. We achieve this by staging a triennial competition which reaches around the world to identify the very best young artists and launch their careers.

We also are proud to be an exemplar in promoting the joys the piano to the widest possible audience, and we seek to inspire, educate and connect people through our music.

By creating and sharing great art which celebrates the piano, The Leeds is redefining what a 21st century music competition can offer and how it can benefit wider society.

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).

Adam Gatehouse | Artistic Director

Adam was born in London and studied conducting at the Guildhall School of Music in London, where his teachers included Sir Adrian Boult and Andre Previn. From 1974 to 1991 he enjoyed an international career as conductor, working as Music Director with Ballet Rambert, Dutch National Ballet and the Dutch National Youth Orchestra, and guest conducting at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Canada and the USA.


From 1991 to 2013, Adam was a producer and later Editor Live Music with BBC Radio 3, where he has worked with many of the leading artists of the time such as Mitsuko Uchida, Itzak Perlman, Ian Bostridge, Felicity Lott and Pierre Boulez. In 1998 he launched  the BBC Wigmore Hall Lunchtime Concert series, Radio 3’s flagship Chamber Music Series. He also started the LSO St. Luke’s Lunchtime Concert series in collaboration with the LSO. In 1999 he created and for 14 years was Editor of BBC Radio 3’s prestigious New Generation Artists scheme, which helped launch the careers of over 100 international artists and ensembles, including Paul Lewis, Stephen Osborne, the Belcea Quartet, Alison Balsom, Alice Coote, Janine Jansen and more recently Benjamin Grosvenor and Igor Levit. While at BBC Radio 3 he curated and edited several special composer series, including special days for Verdi, Janacek, Berlioz and Walton, and two “composer weeks” devoted to the music of Tchaikovsky (2009) and Schubert (2012). His programmes have won numerous awards, including the Sony Awards for documentaries about Prokofiev and Rudolf Nureyev.​

In July 2013 he  conducted the world premiere of “and the Crowd (wept)”, a new opera by Erick Flores and Afsaneh Gray, at Riverside Studios in London as part of the Tete à Tete Festival. He has served on the juries of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and the Leeds International Piano Competition. Adam Gatehouse was also the Founder and Director of the internationally acclaimed Festival de Valloires in Picardy, France.

Murray Perahia KBE  | Patron

In the more than 40 years he has been performing on the concert stage, American pianist Murray Perahia has become one of the most sought-after and cherished pianists of our time, performing in all of the major international music centers and with every leading orchestra. He is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, with whom he has toured as conductor and pianist throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and South East Asia.


Born in New York, Mr. Perahia started playing piano at the age of four, and later attended Mannes College where he majored in conducting and composition. His summers were spent at the Marlboro Festival, where he collaborated with such musicians as Rudolf Serkin, Pablo Casals, and the members of the Budapest String Quartet. He also studied at the time with Mieczyslaw Horszowski. In subsequent years, he developed a close friendship with Vladimir Horowitz, whose perspective and personality were an abiding inspiration. In 1972 Mr. Perahia won the Leeds International Piano Competition, and in 1973 he gave his first concert at the Aldeburgh Festival, where he worked closely with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, accompanying the latter in many lieder recitals. Mr. Perahia was co-artistic director of the Festival from 1981 to 1989.

Having completed a tour of North America with a debut recital in Mexico in the 2012-13 season, Mr. Perahia will embark on a recital tour of Japan followed by his historically first appearances in Australia where he will perform at the Sydney Opera House and in Melbourne in November 2013.

Mr. Perahia has a wide and varied discography. Sony Classical has issued a special boxed set edition of all his recordings including several DVDs entitled The First 40 Years. His recording of Brahms Händel Variations, which won the Grammophone Award in 2011, has been called “one of the most rewarding Brahms recitals currently available.” Some of his previous solo recordings feature a 5-CD boxed set of his Chopin recordings, Bach’s Partitas Nos. 1, 5, and 6 and Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, opp 14, 26, and 28. He is the recipient of two Grammy awards, for his recordings of Chopin’s complete Etudes and Bach’s English Suites Nos. 1, 3, and 6, and numerous Grammy nominations. Mr. Perahia has also won several Gramophone Awards.

Recently, Mr. Perahia embarked on an ambitious project to edit the complete Beethoven Sonatas for the Henle Urtext Edition. He also produced and edited numerous hours of recordings of recently discovered master classes by the legendary pianist, Alfred Cortot, which resulted in the highly acclaimed Sony CD release, “Alfred Cortot: The Master Classes.”

Mr. Perahia is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, and he holds honorary doctorates from Leeds University and

Duke University. In 2004, he was awarded an honorary KBE by Her Majesty The Queen, in recognition of his outstanding service to music.

Lang Lang | Global Ambassador

Very few artists can claim to have the same profound impact on the world of music as Lang Lang has had. As a pianist, educator and philanthropist, as well as an influential ambassador for the arts, Lang Lang has fully embraced new technology and innovation, leading the way in bringing classical music into the 21st century. Equally happy playing for billions of viewers at the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing or just for a few hundred children in the public schools, Lang Lang is a master of communicating through music. Gifted with unique artistic and communicative skills, Lang Lang unites excellence and accessibility unlike anyone else, and builds bridges between Eastern and Western culture.

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Heralded by the New York Times as “the hottest artist on the classical music planet”, Lang Lang works with the most excellent classical musicians of our time. He has formed ongoing collaborations with conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniel Barenboim and Christoph Eschenbach and performs with the world’s top orchestras, such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics as well as America’s leading orchestras. Lang Lang plays sold-out concerts in the major concert halls of every continent in the world. Recent memorable appearances include concerts at the prestigious Sydney Opera House, as well as a performance in the old town of Havana with Cuban jazz legend Chucho Valdés, fostering musical exchanges with Cuba. Lang Lang is known for thinking “outside the box” and frequently steps into different musical worlds, teaming up with artists from diverse genres. His performances at the GRAMMY Awards with Metallica, Pharrell Williams or jazz legend Herbie Hancock were hailed by millions of viewers. His video collaboration with dubstep dancer Marquese “Nonstop” Scott continues to inspire a global internet community.

For about a decade Lang Lang has contributed to musical education and support for children worldwide. In 2008 he founded the “Lang Lang International Music Foundation” aimed at cultivating tomorrow’s top pianists, championing music education at the forefront of technology, and building a young audience through live music experiences. Headquartered in New York City, the Foundation has implemented its programs in North America, Europe and Asia, and was awarded an ECHO Klassik special prize in 2015. In 2013 Lang Lang was designated by the Secretary General of the United Nations as a “Messenger of Peace” focusing on global education. He also currently serves on the Weill Music Institute Advisory Committee as part of Carnegie Hall’s educational program and is the youngest member of Carnegie Hall’s Artistic Advisory Board.

Lang Lang’s tireless energy and boundless drive to attract new audiences to classical music have brought him numerous titles and awards: he was presented with the 2010 Crystal Award in Davos and was picked as one of the 250 “Young Global Leaders” by the World Economic Forum. He is also the recipient of many honorary doctorates, notably from the Royal College of Music (presented by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales), the Manhattan School of Music and New York University. In December 2011 he was honored with the highest prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China. More recently, he has received the highest German civilian honor, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, in recognition of his distinguished services to music, and in January 2013 he was presented with the Medal of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

In 2016 Lang Lang was invited to the Vatican to perform for Pope Francis at the opening ceremony of the first Faith and Sports World Conference. He has also performed for numerous other international dignitaries and heads of state, including four US presidents and monarchs from many nations.

Lang Lang started playing the piano aged three, won the Shenyang Competition and gave his first public recital before the age of five, entered Beijing’s Central Music Conservatory aged nine, and won First Prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians and played the complete Chopin Études at the Beijing Concert Hall at thirteen. He left China for Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute, where he worked with the legendary pianist Gary Graffman. He was seventeen when his big break came, substituting for André Watts at the “Gala of the Century”, playing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach: he became an overnight sensation and the invitations started to pour in.

Lang Lang’s autobiography, Journey of a Thousand Miles, was released to critical acclaim and has been published by Random House in eleven languages. As part of his commitment to the education of children, Lang Lang also released a special version aimed at younger readers, entitled Playing with Flying Keys.

Lang Lang is leading the way in bringing music education into the 21st century through his highly regarded new publishing program, the Lang Lang Piano Academy, produced in collaboration with Faber Music. Mastering the piano, five progressive books exploring piano technique, launched the program, to which the latest addition is The Lang Lang Piano Method, an imaginative new tutor for complete beginners that is used in the public schools’ educational program “Keys of Inspiration”.

Dame Fanny Waterman | Life President and Founder, Director Emeritus

Dame Fanny Waterman

Fanny Waterman was born in Leeds; her father, Myer Waterman, a Russian Jew, had emigrated to England to work as a jeweller. A gifted concert pianist, she enjoyed considerable success as a soloist in her early career. But by the early 1960s, she had turned her passion to teaching. In 1961, jointly with her friend Marion, Countess of Harewood (later Marion Thorpe) and Roslyn Lyons, she founded the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition. She was Artistic Director and chairman of the competition jury until 2015 when she retired at the age of 95. Her contribution to the city of Leeds was recognised in April 2006, when she was given the Freedom of the City of Leeds. Dame Fanny turned 100 in March 2020.

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Staff & Trustee Board

Adam Gatehouse

Adam Gatehouse

Artistic Director

Fiona Sinclair

Fiona Sinclair

Chief Executive

Ken Beaty

Ken Beaty

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Linda Wellings

Linda Wellings

Operations Director

Jack Rush

Jack Rush

Fundraising Manager


Ed Anderson

Ken Beaty (Chair)

Cllr Judith Blake CBE

Francesca Horsfield JP DL

Martin Jenkins

Sir Alan Langlands

Kathryn McDowell CBE

Jonathan Moulds CBE

Chris Tait


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

The Cobbe Collection

First Round Partners