We are delighted to announce the 24 pianists who have been selected to enter the Second Round in Leeds this September. Competitors from 18 countries are represented – Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Germany, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Ukraine & UK – displaying the widest ever diversity of countries in the history of the Competition. 

Originally due to take place in three cities, the International First Round recently took place in 17 locations around the world with our Jury remotely viewing all 62 competitors’ 25-minute recitals under identical conditions with all of them playing a Steinway Model D, and the same HD camera and audio set up.

Adam Gatehouse, Artistic Director and juror, commented:

As the Leeds International Piano Competition prepares to celebrate its 20th Edition in September this year it’s particularly fitting that the Competition, which has transformed the lives and careers of so many pianists from all over the world, should be welcoming its most internationally diverse group of brilliant young pianists in its history to go forward to the Second Round in Leeds.


Despite the huge logistical challenges posed by the global pandemic, The Leeds’ First Round Jury was able to view and listen online to all 62 First Round pianists performing in identical conditions from 17 cities across the world, and I wish to thank everyone involved for ensuring that this could take place within a very strict timetable and schedule. It is I believe a sign of hope and optimism for the future that we have been able to harness the best of digital technology, combined with the best of young pianistic talent worldwide, to make this happen in such a ground-breaking way.

This September, the Second Round and Semi-Finals will again be hosted by the University of Leeds, our Principal Partner, and the Finals will take place at the iconic Leeds Town Hall. All rounds will be streamed worldwide by medici.tv, with the Semi-Finals and Finals broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and the Finals aired on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer.

The Concerto Final performances will be performed with our new orchestral partners, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Manze, alongside an enhanced programme of activities. With a city-wide festival across our community piano trail, piano workshops for schools, masterclasses, discussions, industry lectures from major figures in classical music, and a special exhibition on the life and work of the late Dame Fanny Waterman, the Competition aims to create a much enriched experience for both our Competitors and our audiences.

The Finalists are competing not just for generous cash prizes, worth over £90,000, but for a career-changing prize package which has redefined what a competition can offer young artists, and which has helped to attract young international pianists of the very highest calibre, promising a thrilling 20th Competition.

The portfolio prize includes artistic management with Askonas Holt, one of the world’s most renowned music management agencies; recordings, including a studio recording with Warner Classics; a major European tour organised with partners Steinway & Sons; concert and recording opportunities with some of the world’s premiere venues and orchestras, including London’s Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; concert and recording engagements with BBC Radio 3, broadcast partner of The Leeds; a programme of recital engagements in Yorkshire and other UK venues; and mentoring from members of the performer-led Jury, chaired by Imogen Cooper (England), which includes Artistic Director Adam Gatehouse (England), Silke Avenhaus (Germany), Inon Barnatan (Israel/ USA), Adrian Brendel (England), Gaetan Le Divelec (France), Ingrid Fliter (Argentina), Ludovic Morlot (France/ USA) and Steven Osborne (Scotland).

A full list of the 24 Competitors can be viewed here: www.leedspiano.com/2021-competitors

Download the press release in full here.

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