Universally cherished as the ‘Grand Dame of the piano,’ our irreplaceable co-Founder, Dame Fanny Waterman passed away at the age of 100 on the 20th December 2020. Her legacy to the musical landscape of the UK and beyond is profound. She was the UK’s most loved piano teacher and a national treasure of the musical community.

Honouring Dame Fanny and her contribution to the world of music, we invite you to join The Waterman Circle – a group of individuals who share a deep passion for the piano. Together, they are helping us to secure the future of our First Prize and the Dame Fanny Waterman Gold Medal – one of the most prestigious musical awards in the world.

Leave a Legacy

We are asking for a minimum pledge of £10,000 to join this close family of supporters – all you need do is include a letter of wishes or attach a codicil to your Will.

Email us or send a letter to confirm your intentions and you will become a Waterman Circle member.

By email:

By post:
Leeds International Piano Competition
169b Woodhouse Lane
Leeds LS2 3AR


Members of the Waterman Circle will receive VIP priority booking and our grateful acknowledgement in the Competition souvenir programme.

Any gift will be deducted from your inheritance tax liability (IHT) which is normally 40%. If you give 10% of your estate to charity, IHT is reduced to 36%

Download codicil legacy form.

A Lifetime of Achievements

Following a promising early career as a concert pianist Fanny Waterman gave up her solo ambitions to focus on helping others to master the instrument. She always championed the universal and musical benefits of learning the piano and her ground-breaking teaching method for young children remains a worldwide best-seller.

One of her defining moments was the founding of The Leeds International Piano Competition (‘The Leeds’) in 1963 which brought Fanny and her teaching reputation to a global stage. She made the name of Leeds synonymous with excellence through a succession of prize-winners who went on to achieve legendary status including Murray Perahia, Radu Lupu, Mitsuko Uchida, András Schiff, Dmitri Alexeev, Artur Pizarro, Lars Vogt, Kathryn Stott and many others.

The Leeds’ reputation as one of the leading and most prestigious piano competitions in the world has cemented its role as a global ambassador for the city of Leeds and our festival programming ensures that the joy of the piano can be shared with the widest audience possible.

Read more…

We’re expressing everything that a human being is capable of feeling and sharing it with other people – making music is about life.

Imogen Cooper

Chair of 2021 Jury

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