Curious about the piano and want to know more? Our brand new events programme Piano + opens up the lid, dusts off the keys, and offers everyone a host of ways to get closer to the instrument, its music and its people. Whether you’re seven or seventy, experienced in music or an absolute beginner, leave your expectations behind and come and join in. You will be informed and entertained, enlightened and – we hope – amazed!

Talks and Conversations

Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, School of Music
University of Leeds, LS2 9DA

Five sessions bringing new perspectives to the piano, its music and its people.

Welcome to The Leeds 2018. Bringing the repertoire to life!

Across two days, pianist and broadcaster David Owen Norris takes an informal look at the competition repertoire, tells some of its stories, and illustrates the most fascinating moments at the piano.

Psychology of performance and competition

Performance coach and pianist Charlotte Tomlinson shares the secrets of her pioneering work. Her approach enables musicians to find freedom and a sense of wellbeing in practising, and to achieve their peak in performance.

A pianist’s life

Pianists and Jury members Paul Lewis and Imogen Cooper talk to presenter and broadcaster Petroc Trelawny about the trials and tribulations of a solo pianist’s career, and the importance of collaboration.

The piano and me

Petroc Trelawny chairs an entertaining session in which celebrity pianists Ed Balls, Alistair McGowan, and Sophie Raworth what playing the piano means to them and how it helps them in their busy ‘other’ lives.

On playing Mozart

One of the greatest pianists of our time, and a supreme interpreter of the music of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, Alfred Brendel brings his unique perspective to how he approaches playing Mozart.


Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, School of Music
University of Leeds, LS2 9DA

Jury members work with competitors on Competition repertoire.

Sa Chen was prizewinner at The Leeds in 1996, at the Chopin Competition in 2000, and winner of the Crystal Award in the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, making her the only pianist in history to be awarded prizes in all three major piano competitions.

Shai Wosner is a pianist whose virtuosity, musical integrity and intellectual curiosity have established him as a favourite with audiences and critics worldwide.

Lars Vogt, Leeds Prizewinner in 1990, has an enviably eclectic repertoire ranging from the classics to the dazzling Lutoslawski concerto. Now conducting too, Lars is Music Director of Royal Northern Sinfonia at Sage, Gateshead.

Henning Kraggerud, violinist and jury member, presents a masterclass with a twist, inviting participants and audience to question all pre-judgments about what makes a musician tick. Expect something different!

Imogen Cooper CBE is regarded as one of the finest interpreters of classical and romantic repertoire. She is particularly admired as a musical colourist, and for her expressive use of characterisation.

Paul Lewis CBE, Chair of the 2018 Jury and co-Artistic Director of the Leeds International Piano Competition, is known as one of the leading musicians of his generation.

Historic Keyboard Instruments: The Cobbe Collection

Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, Parkinson Court
University of Leeds, LS2 9JT

Imagine seeing and hearing the actual pianos owned and played by Haydn and Chopin… These are just two examples of the several remarkable instruments you will have the opportunity to experience at The Leeds this year.

These unique instruments are part of the Cobbe Collection, the largest group assembled anywhere of tangible and audible links with the musical minds of the past.

All are maintained in playing order, allowing us to hear the actual sounds that inspired musicians for centuries.

The Collection is based at Hatchlands in Surrey, and its owner, Alec Cobbe, has carefully selected a group of instruments to bring up for us to enjoy at The Leeds. Alec is the expert musical guide on the hour-long tour.