International Piano is a unique bi-monthly publication written for and loved by pianists and discerning fans of piano music all over the world.

Each bi-monthly issue includes interviews with top pianists and rising talent, performance tips, news, features, analysis and comment. You will find exclusive tutorials by concert artists, in-depth articles on piano recordings and repertoire, masterclasses on piano technique, and festival, concert and competition reports from around the globe.

Every edition includes a five-page Symposium, hosted by Jeremy Siepmann, which brings together leading experts and international pianists for a round-table debate.

Our comprehensive reviews section examines the latest recordings, books, DVDs, sheet music and concerts.

Plus, each issue includes free sheet music – often rare or newly released works – for readers to add to their collections.

Give the gift of a magazine this Christmas!

Music Pages


Proud Media Partner of the International Piano Series

Southbank Centre, London

View the 2015/16 brochure

Competition Calendar

See the major 2014 and 2015 piano competition deadlines.

Summer School Round-up

See the major 2015 international summer school offerings.

Latest News

Seong-Jin Cho wins the 2015 Chopin Competition

21 October 2015

Seong-Jin Cho
Seong-Jin Cho

Seong-Jin Cho has been named as the winner of the 2015 International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition.

The 21-year-old South Korean pianist received a cash prize of €30,000 (£22,000), and won a further €3,000 (£2,200) for the best performance of a Polonaise.

Cho confessed that he had wanted to take part in the Competition since the age of 11. ‘It became my dream to participate in the Competition and I cannot believe this moment,’ he said after the results were announced. He described the Competition as ‘really tough’, but said that he was ‘not so nervous’ in the final round.

Cho won first prize in the 2009 Hamamatsu International Piano Competition at the age of 15, making him the youngest winner in the Competition’s history. He came third in the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition and third in the 2014 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition.

Cho began to play piano at the age of six, and gave his first public recital when he was 11. He now studies at the Paris Conservatoire with Michel Beroff.

Stephen Wigler was in Warsaw to cover this year's Chopin Competition for International Piano and had this to say about Cho's performances: 'Cho has brilliant equipment and he's solid as a rock musically and rhythmically. His immense competence made him easily the most professional of all the competitors, though he's still only 21.'

Describing Cho as 'a stealth contestant for much of the Competition', Wigler felt that Kate Lu and Eric had made a stronger impression during the rounds. 'Yet when the final round came', says Wigler, 'Cho's brilliant performance of the E Minor Concerto was a shock. One tended to forget that ever since his medals at the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein in 2011, he had been playing big dates with important orchestras and conductors. Thus his playing had a finish and confidence in the concerto that put the others in the shade. That Cho was the first of the 10 finalists to play sealed the deal, so to speak. It's usually thought that going last is best – but only if the performance makes you forget most of those that preceded it. No one ever forgets the performance that was first, however, and Cho's performance became the gold standard against which the others were measured and failed to match.'

This year's second prize went to Charles Richard-Hamelin (Canada), with Kate Liu (USA) in third place.

Richard-Hamelin also won the Krystian Zimerman prize for the best performance of a sonata (worth €10,000, or £7,362), and Liu received the Polish Radio Prize for the best performance of mazurkas (worth €5,000, or £3,700).

Ten pianists from eight countries competed in the final round of the competition, each performing one of Chopin’s piano concerti with the Warsaw Philharmonic (conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk). Nine finalists performed the concerto in E minor, with only Richard-Hamelin choosing the concerto in F minor.

The winners were selected by a 17-person jury led by Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń, professor of piano at the Gdańsk Academy of Music.

The competition has been running for 88 years. Previous winners include Martha Argerich (1965), Krystian Zimerman (1975) and Yundi Li (2000).

International Fryderyck Chopin Competition

New Issue Out Now!

20 October 2015

With recordings ranging from the Bach Preludes to The Pink Panther, virtuoso pianist Cyprien Katsaris speaks to IP about his all-embracing approach to repertoire and the artistic freedom that comes from setting up his own label; Stephen Kovacevich looks back over a career of triumph over adversity; and we examine the enduring legacy of Van Cilburn, grappling with the contradictions of an idolised but often misunderstood artist. Plus, BBC Young Musician Martin James Bartlett on adjusting to the musical limelight at the age of 19; our symposium panel consider the influence of Bach and Mozart on Chopin and the ramifications for performance; the digital piano revolution and whether keyboards can ever hope to match the glories of acoustic pianos; Philip Mead prepares for the first performance of Bax’s Nympholept for piano; the importance of preparing yourself psychologically as a precursor to successful performance; reports from piano competitions at Leeds and Honens; and free sheet music of 9-11 After by Christos Papageorgiou.

buy the digital version here.

buy the print here.



Ivo Pogorelich: London Calling

19 October 2015

This article was originally published on pp.19-21 of the January/February 2015 edition of International Piano. You can buy the full January/February 2015 issue here

Ivo Pogorelich enters the foyer of a luxurious Paris hotel with an easy feline grace. He is unexpectedly heavily built, still striking even if the luxuriant dark locks familiar from dozens of LP covers in the 1980s and are now ‘poivre et sel’ and cut in the style favoured by Rachmaninov. His dress is ultra-casual: loose-fitting grey cord trousers and a greyish fleece top zipped up to his chin.

A fountain tinkles as we head into the hotel’s garden and towards a table at the far end of the paved courtyard. Cushions are brought. Pogorelich’s agent hovers while his publicist takes me aside and reminds me that the maestro likes to be asked questions but doesn’t like the fluff in between. I have, as requested, already provided a list of questions in advance. Sadly, I have forgotten to bring them with me. I have a present for him – a copy of Alkan’s Nocturne, Op 22 (we’re in Paris, after all). He examines it at arm’s length. ‘Hmm. When was this written? ‘Some time in the 1840s,’ I say. He puts it aside and that’s that. If he has any views on Alkan or his music, they are not up for discussion, so I fall back on my half-remembered prepared questions. We are here to talk about the pianist’s eagerly awaited London recital, the first he has given in the capital for some 15 years. It is, I suggest like a comeback. He frowns. ‘In what sense?’

‘You haven’t played in London for a great many years,’ ‘I have played in London, but not a recital. I played in London as recently as three or four years ago as a soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra. So that’s not entirely accurate information. I would avoid such terms as “comeback”. I cannot come back because I never left.’ ‘Well, let’s call it a return, then, after 15 years.’ ‘Or just an appearance,’ he counters firmly. ‘An artist appears.’



The Croatian pianist has chosen a big programme for his upcoming recital: the first half will feature Liszt’s ‘Dante’ Sonata and the Schumann Fantasy; and in the second half, he will perform Stravinsky’s Petrushka and both books of the Paganini Variations by Brahms. For 30 minutes, Pogorelich discourses on his programme, with few prompts from me. He speaks slowly and thoughtfully in a musical Russian accent, with the kind of precise and accurate English that is spoken only be someone for whom it is a second or third language.

 ‘In describing this programme, which I started working on as recently as April of last year, it is perhaps noteworthy to say that, seemingly, there is not any unifying element to it,’ he says. ‘But there is. On the one hand you can say that these are staple pieces of the repertoire; any pianist capable of performing any of these pieces should be seen as an accomplished artist. However, the underlying and unifying factor is the modernity of each piece – modernity at the time when each was written. If we look at the Liszt, for example, what he did was absolutely revolutionary, even the title: Fantasia quasi Sonata. What he did was to create the most extraordinary architecture, turning it into one of the most unusual concert pieces for the piano.

It is unbelievably taxing. It will open the recital, which will be seen by many as a very unusual choice. Then, after that, another fantasy: Pogorelich then expounds on the origins of the work and the fact that its sales contributed to the funds for a statue of Beethoven in Bonn. ‘The civil connection between the ‘Dante’ Sonata and the Fantasy is that the Schumann Fantasy is dedicated to Liszt, but what in reality links both works is the same invisible face – and that is Beethoven.’

So what, I interject, is the link between the Stravinsky and Brahms works? But Pogorelich has not finished. ‘Fantasy but at the same time Sonata,’ he continues. ‘Then Fantasy but in reality a Sonata, with displaced movements. To whom would it have occurred to have put the slow movement at the end of the work? Would you say that it was totally and completely revolutionary?’

‘Not entirely,’ I submit. ‘Beethoven? Op 109 and 111?’

‘Yes,’ agrees Pogorelich, ‘but not in such a demonstrative way, with the second movement being a triumphant march. So in following that, the unusual thing in this programme is that before the intermission, you get slow music. Normally, an artist will try to present something that, shall we say, provokes applause.’ Pogorelich smiles wryly. ‘Well, the third and fourth pieces of the programme are again about this modernity. We go to smaller forms. Petrushka is a suite and each work in itself is episodic. I strongly believe at the time of composition it was almost unplayable by any contemporary, much less the pianist to whom the work was dedicated [Arthur Rubinstein}. So what was behind Stravinsky’s audacity? It’s almost as if this work was presented as a form of challenge. It challs for modern solutions. There is a similarity between certain sections of Petrushka and certain variations from the two books of variations of Brahms. Now, Brahms has given his work two titles. The first is Etudes for Piano. The second is Variations on a Theme of Paganini. So these works were meant to enhance the arsenal of a pianist including himself. In fact, when I was learning both works last year, I realised how much one helped the other. It’s extraordinarily athletic and difficult.’

Pogorelich’s recital is much anticipated. People’s expectations will be riding high after such a long absence. Is that, I ask him, a rather scary feeling? ‘No, absolutely not. Look, I really wanted to present a recital programme that has a concept behind it. It is not playing to the tastes of anyone, not even my own taste. These are new works. I am satisfied that I am not forever repeating the pieces of old, et cetera. My artistic obligation is to present something that will cost me. If it doesn’t cost me as an artist then… I mean, try to imagine: I could have lived without these bloody Variations!’

I notice that his hands are very much the same as Liszt’s. ‘Yes, apparently. I’ve been told that before. They’re big hands. Not ideal for piano playing. Neither were Liszt’s. It’s an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time. It has less to do with anatomy and more to do with the fashion in which you employ the fingers.’


Born in Belgrade in 1958, the son of a double bassist, Ivo Pogorelich has long been a controversial figure. Indeed he first came to international prominence at the 1980 Chopin Competition in Warsaw, when Martha Argerich, who was on the jury, declared him ‘a genius’ and walked out in protest after he was eliminated in the third round, an event that somewhat diverted attention from the eventual winner Dang Thai Son. Pogorelich’s early recordings for Deutsche Grammophon won ecstatic reviews. Those of Gaspard de la nuit, Prokofiev’s Sixth Sonata and Schumann’s Toccata are among the greatest piano recordings of all time. His discs of Scarlatti Sonatas sparkle with wit; his personal take on Bach’s English Suites Nos 2 and 3 is the work of an original artist; and, for all its idiosyncrasies, his Chopin Scherzo No 3 is a persuasive reinvention.

With his acclaim as a pianist and adulation as the brooding poster boy of classical music came a reputation for arrogance and self-importance. Jaw-droppingly, he refused to be part of the iconic multi-label 200-CD series Great Pianists of the 20thCentury realised by Philips in 1999. Not for nothing is he known in some quarters as ‘Ivo the divo’. While punters fell on his recordings like locusts and his concerts sold out wherever in the world he was playing, some critics began wondering about an increasing number of eccentric readings with extreme tempo fluctuations.

The personal tragedy struck. After lessons in Belgrade until the age of 12, in 197 Pogorelich was invited to study in Moscow. When he was 17, he began lessons with the Georgian pianist Aliza Kezeradze, 21 years his senior. For years later they married. ‘She shaped me the way you sharpen a knife every day,’ he admitted. In 1996 she died from liver cancer. In 2006 interview, Pogorelich described how ‘her liver exploded and in her last kiss she showered me with black blood. I looked like the Phantom of the Opera. My hair was completely clotted. I didn’t want to wash it off.’ For a long time he couldn’t touch the piano.

Pogorelich’s agent appears. ‘Two more minutes, maestro.’ ‘No, no,’ Pogorelich consults his watch. ‘We haven’t finished yet.’ The agent vanishes. ‘I’ve never lost her,’ he emphasises to me. ‘She’s somewhere behind now [he indicates the back of his chair]…In terms of piano playing, a short time before her illness I said to her, isn’t it time for me to change pianism? I no longer feel capable of doing things. And she said to me yes, I will teach you but you need to withdraw for a period of time as it will get worse before it becomes better. She never had time because life and career interfered. However, I had the enormous courage to follow that conversation. She was no longer there, but look what I did. I met a contemporary, a colleague who was trained by the same teacher as my wife, in the same tradition and in the same school, going back to Liszt and Beethoven. This was at the conservatory of St Petersburg. And I said, I want the fundamentals again.’

‘What is their name?’ I ask.

‘It won’t help,’ replied Pogorelich. ‘It is a person who is absolutely unknown, who married and had children and abandoned performing and didn’t even teach for a while. But I said, I want the fundamentals. And she said, fine, but you have to forget everything. I thought, am I ready for that? It was the fourth time in my life I had to change technique. I just felt that my technique was insufficient for any further progress. ‘Well,’ I say, perhaps ingenuously, ‘I don’t understand, when you have one of the great techniques of any living pianist.’

‘Why only living?’ he bridles. ‘Try to imagine you want to fly but in your own estimation you are unable to walk.’

Since the period of reappraisal, Pogorelich’s playing has attracted some positively vitriolic reviews from distinguished crititics: ‘An immense talent gone tragically astray,’ opined the New York Times after a 2006 recital, an estimation with which you might concur if you listen to a live performance (date unknown) online of Rach 2 with which even a brief encounter will have you screaming at the speakers.

How long did it take him before he felt confident enough to resume playing in public after his wife’s death? More refutation and contradiction: -‘No, no, I didn’t stop playing. No, no.’ ‘The impression is that you did.’ ‘It doesn’t correspond to actual facts in the form of dates, programmes and countries,’ he replies tetchily. ‘This is just hearsay! I don’t even feel like contradicting it. First, it was stretched from one year to two, then three, then to seven, and finally 17 years according to some internet sources. I never stopped. So.’ ‘My point is that in the 1980’s and early 1990’s you were one of the top five most high-profile pianists in the world, and now…’ ‘What does that mean? High profile?’ ‘There are young music students who have never heard of you.’ ‘I have nothing to do with that. I have not contributed to that perception. Neither am I interested in changing that. What I am doing is my work and it’s important for you to understand that this work is very, very real.’

Pogorelich rises. He has been more than generous with his limited time. We walk back through the garden into the hotel. With impeccable manners, he escorts me to the front desk, shakes my hand, graciously bids me farewell and heads back for his next interview.




Bloomsbury Festival offers a feast of piano music in venues across London WC1

19 October 2015, London, UK

Noted Chopin interpreter Anna Zassimova performs at this year's Bloomsbury Festival
Noted Chopin interpreter Anna Zassimova performs at this year's Bloomsbury Festival(Photo: Rainer Koehl)

The 2015 Bloomsbury Festival takes place this week at venues across London WC1, offering a wide-ranging cultural programme that includes five solo piano recitals and a evening of music for piano quartet.

The University of London's iconic Senate House building is the venue for recitals by two talented young artists. Anna Zassimova (23 October, 7pm) has been praised for her period instrument recordings of Chopin and will present a programme of Schumann, Chopin and Russian music, together with a world premiere commission by Bloomsbury composer-in-residence Adam Donen. Marios Panteliadis (24 October, 7.30pm) recently completed a masters at the Royal Academy of Music and can be heard in Schumann’s Kreisleriana and Scriabin's Sonata No 3.

The Music Room at 49 Great Ormond Street plays host to two young talents from Asia in a pair of free lunchtime concerts: Singaporean pianist Abigail Sin presents a programme of Schumann and Griffes with the intriguing title 'Sunlight, Shadows and a Symphony of Colour' (22 October, 1pm), while Grace Oh from South Korea will perform Beethoven's turbulent Tempest Sonata alongside works by Rachmaninov and Ravel (23 October, 1pm).

Elsewhere, the British-born pianist James Brawn can be heard in a recital of Chopin and Beethoven at the Foundling Museum (24 October, 4pm), Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 2 will be performed by the young Italian artist David Malusa as part of a symphonic programme by the Goodensemble at Goodenough College (22 October, 7.30pm), and the Primrose Piano Quartet plays Beethoven, Chausson and Brahms at the Conway Hall (25 October, 6.30pm).

The Bloomsbury Festival was established in 2006 to celebrate the area's unique blend of academic institutions, businesses, cultural organisations and diverse communities. Led by festival director Kate Anderson with patronage from the Duchess of Bedford, the annual event is billed as 'a creative explosion of performance, arts, music and heritage events held in the streets, parks, museums, galleries, laboratories and public and private buildings of one of London’s most vibrant cultural quarters'.

Bloomsbury Festival (22-25 October 2015)

17th International Chopin Piano Competition finalists announced

17 October 2015, Warsaw, Poland

Chopin at 28 by Eugène Delacroix
Chopin at 28 by Eugène Delacroix

The names of the ten finalists in this year’s Chopin Competition have been announced following three days of rounds featuring 20 pianists from 12 countries.

International Piano contributor Stephen Wigler is reporting live from the Competition in Warsaw and offers his prediction of which competitor is likely to emerge as the overall winner:

‘The pianist I would predict as the winner is the 21-year-old Singapore-born American, Kate Liu, a student of Robert McDonald at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia,' says Wigler. 'Her performances of the F minor Ballade, Polonaise-Fantasy, Fantasy in F Minor and Sonata in B Minor impressed me as among the very best throughout the first three rounds. She's a real pianist in every sense of the term – a genuine talent, not something that is manufactured.  I love the sincerity of her playing.  There is an overall simplicity to what she does, but if you listen carefully you realise how beautifully everything is nuanced.

‘The 17-year-old Chinese–born American, Eric Lu – also a student of McDonald’s at Curtis – is almost as impressive. Lu obviously adores the playing of Grigory Sokolov. His performance of Chopin’s 24 Preludes in the third round much resembled the great Russian’s. Often very slow – his ‘Raindrop’ Prelude, like Sokolov's, lasted nearly seven minutes – and always very intense, what Lu achieved was not merely a carbon copy, but a performance energised by tremendous conviction.

‘Perhaps the greatest virtuoso among the ten finalists is the youngest, the 16-year-old Canadian-born Yike (Tony) Yang, who studies with Julian Martin at the Juilliard School in New York. Certainly, one could not imagine more brilliant performances of the Polonaise in A-flat (‘Heroic’), the Scherzo in C-sharp Minor or the B-flat minor ‘Funeral March’ Sonata. He's probably the most formidably equipped 16-year-old pianist since Evgeny Kissin, though he may have met his match in the F minor Ballade – a work that he threw off with ridiculous ease but which was emotionally light years beyond him. Yang plays Chopin’s E Minor Concerto in the final round, an age-appropriate work for this Wunderkind, and I would hesitate to vote against his chances for First Prize.

‘A personal favorite was the 26-year-old Croatian, Aljoša Jurinić , a student of Eliso Virsaladze, whose B minor Sonata made my hair stand on end.’

In summary, Wigler adds: ‘All but one of the 10 finalists would maker a worthy first-prize winner. The exception is the only Polish pianist, Szymon Nehring, whose over-loud, somewhat vulgar and not always accurate playing makes his presence in the finals a mystery.’

The finals of the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition run from 18 to 20 October 2015. Each of the finalists will play one of the Chopin piano concertos: No 1 in E minor, Op 11, or No 2 in F minor, Op 21. The artists will be accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of the Warsaw Philharmonic conducted by Maestro Jacek Kaspszyk.


  • Seong-Jin Cho (South Korea)
  • Aljoša Jurinić (Croatia)
  • Aimi Kobayashi (Japan)
  • Kate Liu (United States)
  • Eric Lu (United States)
  • Szymon Nehring (Poland)
  • Georgijs Osokins (Latvia)
  • Charles Richard-Hamelin (Canada)
  • Dmitry Shishkin (Russia)
  • Yike (Tony) Yang (Canada)

The Chopin Competition was launched in 1927 and takes place every five years in Warsaw. It has helped to discover such talents as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Garrick Ohlsson, Mitsuko Uchida, Krystian Zimerman, Yundi and Daniil Trifonov.

The 17th International Chopin Piano Competition Finals will be streamed live by Medici.tv on 18, 19 and 20 October, together with the Prizewinners’ Concert on 21 October. Watch online at http://chopin2015.medici.tv/en/

17th International Chopin Piano Competition

Sign up to enews

Click here to sign up for free e-newsletters from Rhinegold magazines.

Sydney International Piano Competition

The Boston Conservatory

mitsuko uchida workshop

Queen Elisabeth Competition

University of Stavanger

British Music Education Yearbook

Customer Service

Our dedicated customer service team is here to help.

Please click for full details of how to contact us.

©2015 Rhinegold Publishing | Website by Semantic