The stage is set, the keys are polished and cameras are poised – the Leeds International Piano Competition is back with a resounding flourish in 2024. The competition, renowned for its pianistic legacy and unwavering commitment to nurturing talent, has opened its applications with a Digital Launch.
As the global music community eagerly awaits this prestigious event, aspiring pianists are invited to apply for one of the most transformative competition packages in the world and embrace the opportunity to ignite their musical careers on an international stage.
Fiona Sinclair, CEO said:
‘The Leeds International Piano Competition stands as a pinnacle platform for pianists to showcase their artistry in front of an esteemed international jury, reaching an audience of millions through medici.tv and the BBC. The warm welcome of the Yorkshire community has always been one of the hallmarks of The Leeds, where participants are cheered on by an enthusiastic audience, volunteers and jury, and lifelong friendships are forged.
‘We take pride in our female heritage, established in 1963 by three remarkable women pianists – Fanny Waterman, Marion Thorpe, and Roslyn Lyons whose names are on our gold, silver and bronze medals. The 2024 jury comprises a majority of women, and the repertoire has increased the number of works by women composers. We’re also thrilled that a new concerto by composer Eleanor Alberga will be premiered in 2024, specially commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for Alim Beisembayev, our most recent Gold Medallist.’
The Principal Partner of the competition is the University of Leeds, which is one of the world’s top universities and has been a welcoming host to the competition from the start. The partnership offers students an array of internship and volunteering opportunities, builds city engagement programmes and is supporting the Competition to reduce its carbon footprint with the world-leading Priestley Centre for Climate Futures. Thanks to the School of Music’s All-Steinway status, the University of Leeds also ensures that participants have access to the best pianos on campus, expertly cared for by the highly skilled technicians of Steinway & Sons.
Competitors perform their choice of solo, 20th century/ contemporary repertoire and collaborate with the exceptional musicians of the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective in chamber music at the University of Leeds. The renowned Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under their Chief Conductor, Domingo Hindoyan, is an outstanding partner for the concerto finals which will be held in St.George’s Hall, Bradford.
The First Prize-winner will receive the legendary Waterman Gold Medal, an award that includes a cash prize of £30,000, concert engagements and international tours, a recording contract, management, and personalised long-term mentoring support. The other Prize-winners also gain engagements and receive mentoring, guided and supported by a dedicated team throughout their musical journey.
Central to The Leeds’ is the Competitor+ programme. Participants receive comprehensive support from the beginning of their application, recordings are provided for pianists’ personal use, while in Leeds, Competitors have the opportunity to attend industry insight sessions, connect with agents, record labels, and media experts, and receive constructive feedback from Jurors. A dedicated career coach will also be available to offer invaluable guidance in shaping their musical future beyond the competition.
Dame Imogen Cooper, the esteemed British pianist, will once again chair the jury in 2024. Joining her on the international jury are inspiring musical luminaries, predominantly pianists, from around the world. Together, they will carry forward the legendary Leeds lineage of prize-winners, following in the footsteps of illustrious pianists such as Radu Lupu, Murray Perahia, Mitsuko Uchida, Andras Schiff, Lars Vogt, Sunwook Kim, and more recently, Anna Tsybuleva, Eric Lu, and Alim Beisembayev.
The Leeds remains dedicated to ensuring music education remains accessible to all. The RPS award-winning Leeds Piano Trail, engaging 1.8 million people in 2023, will host a captivating sculpture and piano festival during the 2024 Competition.