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Artistic director Adam Gatehouse: ‘We are here to support all our pianists on their Leeds journey’

Owen Mortimer

Leeds Competition announces Virtual First Round shortlist

4:03, 25th January 2021

The Leeds International Piano Competition has selected 63 pianists from 28 countries to take part in this year’s Virtual First Round, which will be held in cities around the world from 6 to 10 April 2021.

The competition’s pre-selection jury, chaired by artistic director Adam Gatehouse, listened to 264 applicants – a 43 per cent increase in applications since the previous competition in 2018. Four British nationals have been selected as well as competitors from Morocco, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Iran, Israel and Peru.

Local film crews have been lined up to capture the first round performances in high-definition sound and vision. The jury will hear a 25-minute recital from each of the 63 pianists before selecting 24 to go through to the second round in Leeds.

The second Round, semi-finals and finals of the 20th Leeds International Piano Competition are scheduled to take place in Leeds from 8 to 18 September 2021. Cash prizes worth over £90,000 are up for grabs, together with a prize package that includes artistic management with Askonas Holt, concerto and recital engagements with leading international orchestras and venues, a studio recording with Warner Classics and mentoring from the performer-led jury, chaired by Imogen Cooper.

All rounds will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and streamed worldwide by medici.tv, while BBC Four TV will cover the finals. The concerto final with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic will be conducted by Andrew Manze, the orchestra’s principal guest conductor.

Adam Gatehouse said: ‘It is clear from the large increase in the number of applicants we’ve received that musicians have a strong need to be heard and connect with audiences. We are here to support all our pianists on their Leeds journey, and will provide a programme of advice, masterclasses and industry insights to help build their careers, no matter how far their journey with the competition takes them. We aim for everyone to be transformed by the experience of coming to our city and taking part, whether that’s through the friendships they make or the opportunities they find.’

The full shortlist of 63 pianists chosen to take part in the Virtual First Round can be found on the Leeds Competition website.

Leeds International Piano Competition

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