First Round of The Leeds to take place in 16 cities across Asia, Europe and North America

17 March 2021
By Ellie Palmer
Originally due to take place in five cities, the First Round of The Leeds International Piano Competition is now taking place in an additional eleven cities on three continents to ensure all competitors can take part amid extensive travel restrictions

The Leeds International Piano Competition will present its International First Round between 28 March - 8 April in 16 cities worldwide, accommodating all 62 competitors from 28 different countries.

Each competitor’s 25-minute recital will be performed under identical conditions with all of them playing a Steinway Model D, and with the same camera and audio set up. There will be no audience or jury present. Instead each recital will be filmed and viewed remotely by the jury, and later online by audiences worldwide.

The 16 venues will accommodate anything between one and 14 competitors, and a detailed production brief for local film crews will ensure the same stage layout, audio-visual equipment, camera angles, microphone positioning and recording/editing style.

The Competition is working with London-based producer Classical Media who will coordinate all aspects of the filming remotely. Every venue will be complying with their local COVID-19 regulations, ensuring the utmost safety of everyone taking part.

The First Round jury consists of:

  • Adam Gatehouse, Artistic Director of The Leeds
  • Pianists Simone Dinnerstein and Noriko Ogawa
  • Record producer Martin Sauer 

The jury will judge the films remotely from their own homes, with final voting taking place by 18th April. 24 musicians will then be selected to travel to Leeds in September to take part in the Second Round, Semi-Finals and Finals.

Not only will this plan allow the safest possible participation of each of the 62 competitors and four jurors, but a further benefit of the new strategy is a reduction in the Competition’s carbon emissions. The Leeds wishes to play its part in tackling climate change and is happy that by substantially reducing long-distance air travel of both competitors and jury it can aid the reduction of its carbon footprint.

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The competition's last edition back in 2018 was won by Eric Lu, who subsequently appeared on the cover of issue 106 of Pianist. 


The Leeds 2018 winner Eric Lu on the cover of issue 106 of Pianist


Artistic Director of The Leeds, Adam Gatehouse, comments: “In this year which has been so dark and difficult for performing artists everywhere, we are thrilled to provide a beacon of hope to this important group of young aspiring pianists, and enable The Leeds to go ahead as planned for its 20th edition in 2021."


Find out more about the 2021 Leeds International Piano Competition here.

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