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Murray Perahia announced as new patron of the Leeds International Piano Competition


The Leeds International Piano Competition is delighted to announce that Murray Perahia KBE has accepted an invitation to become its new Patron, succeeding Dame Janet Baker, who stepped down after the 2015 Competition.

His tenure begins on 1 June 2017, when the application process for the 2018 Competition opens.

Murray Perahia is one of the greatest and most revered pianists in the world and has enjoyed a high-profile career spanning more than 45 years. He first shot to fame as winner of the fourth Leeds International Piano Competition in 1972, since when he has been at the forefront of the international music world, performing with the greatest soloists, conductors and orchestras in all the major music centres.

Here he is performing at the Leeds Finals in 1972: 

As Patron of the Leeds International Piano Competition he will provide special encouragement and support to the applicants and winners of the Competition. 

Here’s what Perahia had to say‘I am delighted to become the next Patron of the Leeds International Piano Competition. The Leeds has a special place in my heart as it gave me undreamt of opportunities that I am forever grateful for; not only important concerts but also the chance to meet leading musicians and people I very much admired. I wish the same for the competitors today. Music is a difficult vocation and at a certain point, pianists need a platform from which they can perform and a chance to meet other musicians. The Leeds is constantly developing in different ways to meet the needs of young artists and I am very happy to be part of that.'

Paul Lewis, co-Artistic Director, Leeds International Piano Competition, responded'I am absolutely thrilled that Murray Perahia has accepted our invitation to become the new Patron of the Leeds International Piano Competition. From the moment he won The Leeds in 1972 it was obvious that he was a true musician among pianists, and he has only continued to cement and enhance that reputation over a career spanning more than 40 years. We are honoured to welcome him to the Leeds family.’

Dame Fanny Waterman, Life President and Founder Director Emeritus, said‘Seeing Murray’s career flourish and mature over the years to the stature of one of the world’s greatest pianists has given me immense satisfaction and pleasure. I know that he will give the talented team running the Competition now the same inestimable support, encouragement and gift of friendship as I received from his predecessor as Patron, Dame Janet Baker.’

Dame Fanny certainly manages to get everywhere. Here she is with some rather distinguished VIPs at the launch of the 2008 Competition at No 10 Downing St: 


The announcement comes as The Leeds prepares to open the application process for the 2018 Competition. Pianists, aged between 20 and 29 at the time of the Competition, are invited to enter from 1 June 2017 and full details of how to apply and repertoire for the 2018 Competition are available NOW

Under the new artistic leadership of pianist Paul Lewis and Adam Gatehouse (pictured below), The Leeds has entered a new phase of its history. A range of enhancements and innovations are likely to make the competition more attractive than ever to the world’s finest young pianists.


Among the developments is an outstanding winning package which aims to help winners develop significant long-term careers. It includes management from Askonas Holt, one of the world’s leading management agencies; concert and recording possibilities through an enhanced partnership with BBC Radio 3; a debut recording with the Champs Hill label; engagements with leading international promoters, festivals and orchestras including Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic; a personal mentoring programme from Paul Lewis and other leading international pianists, as well as a rich cash prize.


The best talent worldwide will have a greater opportunity to participate than ever before with the First Rounds in Berlin, Singapore and New York. Participants will be able to share their work internationally through global streaming. They will also have the chance to participate in a much-enriched and fulfilling programme of events and activities during the competition itself, including master classes, talks, discussions, films and the introduction of a new chamber music element in the semi-finals.

Alongside these advances, Lewis and Gatehouse will also continue to nurture the Competition’s hallmark qualities of excellence and integrity with a high benchmark for the selection of participants and a jury led by internationally renowned performers, including Paul Lewis (Chairman), Imogen Cooper, and Lars Vogt.

Adam Gatehouse, co-Artistic Director of The Leeds said: ‘In developing a truly nurturing package for prize-winners, we are seeking to create a richer and more fulfilling experience for participants and audiences alike. And in extending the international scope of the Competition by taking the first round out to the world and by streaming globally, we hope to inspire and attract the very best talent from around the world to take part. I look forward to welcoming them to The Leeds in 2018.

The 2018 Competition will run from 6-15 September in Leeds, with First Rounds in Berlin, Singapore and New York in April 2018.

Online applications open 1 June 2017 and close 31 October 2017. 


Read Pianist magazine's full-length feature on the future of the Leeds Piano Competition inside issue 94.  The issue is available in print and digital format.

An interview with Anna Tsybuleva, the 2015 Leeds winner, appears inside that same issue.



Here's Anna performing at the Wigmore Hall at the launch of the 2018 Competition: 


Pianist looks forward to supporting the Competition and will definitely be there at the Finals! 


Photo of Perahia: © Felix Broede


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