• Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Leeds to form major new partnership
  • Andrew Manze to conduct Concerto Finals
  • Imogen Cooper appointed Chair of Jury
  • Ken Beaty appointed Chair of Trustee Board

The Leeds International Piano Competition today announces major artistic and administrative developments which build on the success of the previous Competition in 2018 and further strengthens its global status as a pinnacle of musical excellence and an ever-stronger platform for young pianists and music lovers.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Leeds deepen their long-standing relationship – which began at the inaugural Competition in 1963 – to create an unprecedented new-style partnership that will enhance the ongoing artistic and educational contributions of both the Orchestra and the Competition to pianists and audiences alike.

At the next Competition in September 2021, the Liverpool Philharmonic will return for the first time since 1975 to accompany the Concerto Finals. It will also extend the range of performance opportunities it offers The Leeds pianists. These will include a concerto performance for the winner to open the Liverpool Philharmonic’s 2021/22 season and lunchtime concerts for the second and third prize winners, all in the week immediately following the Competition Finals. In further supporting The Leeds’s vision of developing long-term careers for its pianists, Liverpool Philharmonic will also offer the winners the chance to give additional recital and chamber music performances as part of the prestigious Liverpool Philharmonic Chamber Music series the following season.

Andrew Manze, Liverpool Philharmonic’s Principal Guest Conductor and widely celebrated as a hugely stimulating and inspirational musician, will conduct the Orchestra in the Concerto Finals in 2021. The winning pianist will join the Orchestra at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall to open its 2021/22 season a week later.

Both The Leeds and Liverpool Philharmonic share a vision to develop lasting and dynamic relationships with music lovers and provide creative and accessible projects to engage and inspire new audiences. The Liverpool Philharmonic’s award-winning In Harmony programme and the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Company provide some of the ways children and young people can get involved in performing, enjoying and creating music. The Leeds and Liverpool Philharmonic’s Learning and Engagement teams will work together to create new concerts and learning projects in Leeds and Liverpool as well as broadening access through streaming and digital work.

A further artistic development is the appointment of internationally renowned pianist Imogen Cooper as Chair of the Competition Jury. Cooper first worked with the Competition as a jury member in 2018 and will work closely with the Competition’s Artistic Director Adam Gatehouse to assemble an international artist-led jury and help shape the repertoire for the next Competition in September 2021.

The Leeds today also announces the appointment of Ken Beaty as Chair of the Board of Trustees, effective from July 2019, when Sir Vernon Ellis steps down after a highly successful tenure which began in 2015.

Following a successful 20-year career as a private equity investor, Beaty, who is also an ACMA qualified management accountant, brings his award-winning leadership skills to a range of private and publicly quoted companies as an independent chairman. He also donates up to half his time pro bono to working as trustee and Chair with charities in healthcare, education and the arts. A keen amateur pianist and choral singer, Beaty has lived in Leeds, with his wife and two daughters, since 1996.

Fiona Sinclair, Chief Executive of The Leeds, said:
This is an exciting new phase for The Leeds as we build on the successes of the last Competition and continue to surge forward with an ever-richer range of concerts, events and outreach work for audiences in Leeds, the UK and around the world.

“Ken Beaty brings excellent leadership experience, a broad strategic perspective and entrepreneurial flair which will help drive us to the international leading edge of our artform. In welcoming Ken, we would like to thank Sir Vernon Ellis for his tireless, enthusiastic and inspirational support during a time of such exciting change and growth in the history of The Leeds.”

Adam Gatehouse, Artistic Director of The Leeds, added:
“I am thrilled that Imogen Cooper, an artist I have long admired, will chair the Jury and bring all of her artistic integrity, authority and international repute to us and the wonderful pianists who participate in the Competition. I am also hugely excited about the new partnership with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which promises a richer and deeper partnership that will bring new and wide-ranging benefits to both competitors and the wider community.”

Ken Beaty said:
The Leeds is one of the world’s leading international music competitions and is renowned globally for its excellence, quality, integrity and passion. The Competition has launched the careers of some exceptional world class pianists since it was founded in 1963 and I am proud and delighted to have been asked to chair the Board of Trustees.  I look forward with huge optimism and enthusiasm to working with the executive team and trustees as we continue to build The Leeds’ global position and influence.

Michael Eakin, Chief Executive, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra said:
“We’re delighted to partner once again with The Leeds in 2021 and look forward to the opportunity of bringing these extraordinary Competition winners to our Liverpool audiences each year.”

Imogen Cooper said:
My experience of being on the jury for the 2018 Competition was invigorating and fascinating. I am greatly honoured to take on the Chair in 2021, as The Leeds continues to evolve in energy and ideas, stretching ever further through global streaming to inspire and involve others.

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