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.

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Latest News

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

Evgeny Kissin: A Timeline

9 October 2015


To celebrate Evgeny Kissin’s birthday, we’ve put together a short timeline highlighting some of the key dates and honours in his illustrious career:

  • Kissin was born in Moscow to a Russian Jewish family in 1971
  • He began to play by ear at age two
  • Aged 6 he started to study at the Gnessin State Musical College for Gifted Children
  • Aged 10 he made his debut performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto K466 with the Ulyanovsk Symphony Orchestra
  • Aged 12 he gave his first recital in Moscow
  • In 1984 he performed and recorded both Chopin piano concertos with the Moscow Philharmonic and started to gain international attention
  • 1985 saw Kissin’s first appearance outside Russia
  • In 1986 he was awarded the Crystal Prize of the Osaka Symphony Hall for Best Performance of the Year
  • In 1987 he made his UK debut performing with conductor Valery Gergiev and violinists Maxim Vengerov and Vadim Repin
  • In 1988 he performed at a New Year’s Eve concert with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic
  • In 1990 he made his first appearance at the BBC Proms and made his Carnegie Hall debut
  • In 1991 he opened the Carnegie Hall centennial season and received the Musician of the Year Prize from the Chigiana Academy of Music in Siena
  • In 1997 he gave the first ever solo piano recital in the history of the BBC Proms in London
  • In 2000 Christopher Nupen released a documentary film entitled ‘Evgeny Kissin: The Gift of Music’ and he was the first concerto soloist to be invited to perform in the opening night of the BBC Proms
  • In 2002 he was named Echo Klassik Soloist of the Year
  • In 2003 he was awarded the Shostakovich Award
  • In 2005 he was awarded an honorary membership of the Royal Academy of Music
  • In 2006 he won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Soloist for a recording of works by Scriabin, Medtner and Stravinsky
  • In 2009 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from the Hong Kong University
  • Earlier this year he received the musician award at the Premio Abbiati awards
  • In 2010 he won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance for his recording of Prokofiev’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy with the Philharmonia Orchestra


Kissin is a Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist for the 2015-16 season. The video below shows him in conversation with the hall’s Executive and Artistic Director, Clive Gillinson.



External links:

Joseph Moog named Gramophone young artist of the year

18 September 2015

Catherine Bott presents Joseph Moog with his award
Catherine Bott presents Joseph Moog with his awardBenjamin Ealovega

Piotr Anderszewski receives the instrumental recording award
Piotr Anderszewski receives the instrumental recording awardBenjamin Ealovega

Pianist Joseph Moog received the young artist of the year Gramophone award.

He was presented with the award by broadcaster Catherine Bott at the ceremony, which took place at St John’s Smith Square on 17 September. 

During the course of the evening, Moog performed The Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes from Johann Strauss II's 'Die Fledermaus' by Leopold Godowsky.

James Ehnes presented Piotr Anderszewski with the instrumental award for his recording of Bach's English Suites Nos 1, 3 & 5 (Warner Classics). Maria João Pires won the concerto category for her recording of Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos 3 & 4 with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Harding (Onyx), but was not present on the night.

The other awards went to:

Recording of the year [sponsored by Qobuz Sublime]
Bruckner: Symphony No 9
Lucerne Festival Orchestra / Claudio Abbado
[DG 4793441]

Lifetime achievement

Bernard Haitink

Artist of the year

Paavo Järvi

Label of the year

Channel Classics

New generation of pianists set to benefit from Maria João Pires signature edition Yamaha pianos

17 September 2015, London, UK

Maria João Pires adds her signature to one of the limited edition Yamaha CF4 pianos
Maria João Pires adds her signature to one of the limited edition Yamaha CF4 pianos(Photo: Martin J. Bieling)

Yamaha and Maria João Pires have unveiled a Pan-European initiative to provide scholarships for leading educational establishments across the continent.

The scheme centres on a limited number of 6’3” Yamaha CF4 handcrafted grand pianos that have all been personally selected and signed on the frame by the legendary Portuguese artist. As each of the pianos is sold it will trigger the scholarships for organisations in the European country of sale, aimed at inspiring and supporting the next generation of pianists. Each instrument will also be accompanied by a special certificate of authenticity.

Maria João Pires said: 'Selecting the pianos for this exciting scholarship programme was not an easy task. All the instruments I auditioned had exceptional sound qualities. I was particularly struck by the way the pianos were were able to produce a beautiful sound across the entire tonal and dynamic spectrum from pianissimo to fortissimo.'

Alongside a limited number of dealerships throughout Europe, the piano will be on display in the UK at Yamaha Music London’s historic Piano Hall in Wardour Street, Soho, from 1 October. The instrument is priced at £53,894. For further details call +44 (0)207 432 4400.

Yamaha Music London

Songs My Grandmother Taught Me: Q&A with Artur Pizarro

15 September 2015

Artur Pizarro
Artur Pizarro©Sven Arnstein

A young Artur sits proudly atop his grandmother’s Fiat 850 Sport, pictured outside the family home in Cascais with Campos Coelho and Berta da Nóbrega
A young Artur sits proudly atop his grandmother’s Fiat 850 Sport, pictured outside the family home in Cascais with Campos Coelho and Berta da Nóbrega

The Portuguese pianist Artur Pizarro grew up in a household filled with music and made his first public appearance in Lisbon at the tender age of three. He introduces a very personal project inspired by his grandmother and first teacher, Berta da Nóbrega 

What are your first memories of the piano?
I don’t have any memories of me ‘pre-piano’. My family lived in a beautiful apartment in Cascais, around half an hour from Lisbon, where music was very important because my maternal grandmother, Berta da Nóbrega, was part of a piano duo with her teacher Campos Coelho. As a baby, I would sit listening to her at the piano whenever she looked after me, so it was piano duo and four-hand repertoire that really got me hooked.

Your grandmother was also your first teacher. How did she begin channelling your youthful enthusiasm into structured learning?
My grandmother would give me little lessons at the end of her rehearsals, or would sit with me at the piano on rainy days when we couldn’t go out. At the time it didn’t feel very structured, which was ideal, because the aim was to whet my appetite and awaken my fascination without me realising that I was receiving a lesson. As far as I was concerned, the piano was just my latest toy – I loved playing with it, and enjoyed the fact that I could get a bit better each time. It was also an opportunity to spend time with my grandmother.

What else did your grandmother do to encourage and inspire you?
It was very exciting for a child to be taken seriously from a very young age. She was never condescending and never underestimated my ability to do things. Of everyone in my entire family – on either side – I think we were the closest in terms of our personalities. We were best buddies and adored getting into trouble together!

She used to drive a burnt orange Italian sports car and would pull up in her latest Dior glasses, say to me ‘you don’t have to be in school for a few hours’, then whisk me off somewhere to have fun. She was that kind of grandmother!

The story of how she became a pianist is also quite interesting. She graduated from the Lisbon Conservatory and married an army man, who went on to have an illustrious career. She lived the life of an army wife for a number of years until a mid-life crisis, when she decided that the piano should enter her life again. She went in search of a teacher and approached Campos Coelho, who took her on and later became her musical partner.

Which qualities best describe your grandmother? Has her influence shaped your own ‘life philosophy’? 
She was not afraid to speak her mind in any way, shape or form and taught me the joy of standing up for myself and following my dreams. Her attitude was: don’t be afraid to make changes or change people’s expectations of who you are, to reinvent yourself. She was a very forward-looking person, but always looking far into the future. 

The value of tasting every moment of your life is probably the most important thing I learnt from her, and that’s something I’ve really tried to honour.

On 29 September, you’ll be giving a Rhinegold LIVE recital inspired by your grandmother. Can you offer us a glimpse of any highlights to look forward to? 
The title of this project is ‘Songs My Grandmother Taught Me’ (Dvořák wrote a collection of songs with the same title, but I don’t think he’d mind me borrowing it since it’s for a good cause!). The subtitle is ‘My Grandmother’s Songbook’. It’s basically a programme of her party pieces that she would play for friends and family, but not on stage. The whole playlist would last around three hours so I’ve got to whittle this down to 40 minutes for Rhinegold LIVE – it’s a bit like asking a child ‘what will you leave behind in the sweet shop?’

The project is really a history of the first nine years of my life in music. It’s my story, so I’m hoping it will be very intimate and bring the audience very close to me – which is what any performer dreams about. It’s also very special for me to be bringing this to London, a city where I’ve lived for so many years of my life.

I can’t tell you exactly what I’ll be playing: you all have to show up! I want people hanging from the chandeliers at Conway Hall and for this to be a very happy event.

Artur Pizzaro’s Rhinegold LIVE recital ‘Songs My Grandmother Taught Me’ will take place at Conway Hall in London on Tuesday 29 September. The evening includes a drinks reception at 6.15pm followed by the performance at 7.00pm. Sign up for a free ticket at www.rhinegold.co.uk/live/tickets

Pizarro's forthcoming CDs include the third volume in his survey of the complete works of Rachmaninov, and a piano duet disc with Rinaldo Zhok dedicated to the memory of their teacher Aldo Ciccolini. Both discs will be released in the autumn by Odradek Records. www.odradek-records.com

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