Owen Mortimer

American pianist Eric Lu wins 2018 Leeds Competition

8:08, 17th September 2018

American pianist Eric Lu, 20, has been awarded first place and the Dame Fanny Waterman Gold Medal at the Leeds International Piano Competition 2018. Lu also won the Terence Judd Hallé Orchestra Prize

Lang Lang, global ambassador of the Leeds Competition, presented the prizes following the concerto final with the Hallé, conducted by Edward Gardner in Leeds Town Hall.

In addition to a cash prize of £25k, Lu will receive a portfolio of benefits designed to support his long-term career development. These include worldwide management by Askonas Holt, an international album release on Warner Classics, and a range of performance and recording opportunities with BBC Radio 3. Lu will also give a series of engagements with high profile promoters, including London’s Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre, the Hallé and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras.

On 20 September, Lu opens the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s new season under the baton of Vasily Petrenko, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4 in G major, Op 58. This will be followed on 21 September by the release of a digital single of highlights from Lu’s competition performances, and, on 2 November, a full album, including Lu’s live concerto performance from the competition final  – both on Warner Classics.

Second place, £15k and the Yaltah Menuhin Award for the greatest collaborative chamber performance, was awarded to 28-year old German pianist, Mario Häring.

Xinyuan Wang, 23 from China, was third and received £10k. The Audience Award, which was open to a global audience through online streaming by medici.tv, also went to Wang, who will have a concert broadcast on medici.tv.

All the prize winners will receive long-term mentoring from patron Murray Perahia, co-artistic director Paul Lewis, and other members of the performer-led jury which included Sa Chen, Imogen Cooper, Adam Gatehouse, Henning Kraggerud, Thomas Larcher, Gillian Moore, Lars Vogt and Shai Wosner.

Paul Lewis said: ‘All the pianists  have shown extraordinary  talent, passion and  dedication throughout the competition, and the standard of playing has been remarkable. Many of the world’s greatest pianists have started out at The Leeds and I’m certain all the 2018 finalists have bright futures ahead. We look forward to supporting what we believe will be successful and fulfilling careers.’

The Leeds hugely expanded its programme for 2018, going beyond a single competition to become a city-wide celebration of the piano. With a new programme of talks, masterclasses, exhibitions, free family events, schools projects, and concerts – as well as The Leeds Piano Trail, which invited the public to play on 12 beautifully decorated public pianos in the city centre – The Leeds reached more people than ever before. The majority of the public pianos will remain in place for the foreseeable future, continuing the competition’s legacy for new and wider audiences.

Medici.tv’s extensive coverage, supported by the University of Leeds was viewed by audiences in more than 3,700 cities in 140 countries. It was particularly popular in the UK, USA, China, Japan and Germany. Millions more enjoyed the finals on BBC Radio 3, which broadcast live from Leeds Town Hall and also covered all the semifinals.

All rounds of The Leeds remain available to watch at leedspiano2018.medici.tv for three years, and BBC Radio 3’s extensive coverage of the semifinals and finals is available via BBC iPlayer Radio. The finals will be broadcast on BBC FOUR television on Sunday 23 September.

The next Competition will take place in 2021.



A full report on the Leeds International Piano Competition 2018 will be published in the Nov/Dec issue of International Piano

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