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The Leeds International Piano Competition

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A message from the Artistic Director

Ever since it was founded nearly 60 years ago by Dame Fanny Waterman, The Leeds has had a reputation for being a competition that above all cares for its musicians, where who you are as a musician and a person comes first. This has never felt more important or pertinent than in these difficult, challenging times, when so many musicians and artists are alone, unable to perform and exercise their art and craft before a grateful public.

In launching the applications for our 20th Competition at this time, I am acutely aware of how we, as a world-renowned institution, can remain true to the guiding principles that have governed The Leeds since its inception, whilst innovating to meet the needs of the young artists of today and tomorrow.

With the help of our world-class partners, we share a joint vision which is dedicated to:
  1. Cultivating and developing young artists
  2. Inspiring the widest audiences
  3. Building digital innovation and engagement
This combination of world-leading career development our commitment to partnership and innovation and a deep sense of community responsibility has established The Leeds at the pinnacle of piano competitions in the world.

We hope you will join us and discover for yourself, what makes ‘The Leeds’ so very special.

Adam Gatehouse

About The Leeds

The Leeds International Piano Competition has launched the careers of some of the greatest pianists of our time. Drawn by the challenge of performing a stimulating repertoire to an international performer led jury, Competitors undertake the First Round in Berlin, Singapore, and New York. Successful candidates then compete in Leeds through individual and collaborative rounds, featuring solo work, chamber music performances, and a concerto finale with the world-renowned Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, HD global streaming of the competition with medici.tv reaches audiences of over 1 million in some 190 countries.

Developing Young Artists

Helping our artists to develop is at the heart of what the Competition stands for. We seek not only to discover the finest young pianists in the world, but to nurture and cultivate their talents in as broad a way as possible, and to equip them for the swiftly changing world we are living in.

A World-leading Prize Package

We offer a prize package that is truly transformative, including worldwide management with Askonas Holt, a debut recording with Warner Classics, recitals at Wigmore Hall and the Southbank in London, tours of Europe and the Far East in association with Steinway & Sons, broadcast opportunities with the BBC and an extensive package of national and international engagements with a range of promoters and orchestras, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Building Your Career

Competitor + is a unique programme that provides career-enhancing opportunities and support packages for Competitors, and equips pianists to become more resilient in a fast-changing competitive environment. This offers access to masterclasses, mentoring from our world-class Jury members, Jury feedback and a programme of expert tailored industry advice. In addition, the 24 Competitors who progress to Leeds will receive broadcast-quality footage of their Competition performances to use on their own promotional platforms.

Connecting Communities

We are passionate about the role of the piano to inspire diverse communities and bring people together, both locally and around the world. We offer unique opportunities for Competitors and Prize winners to reach out to and connect with audiences. These include:

  • Recitals in the Leeds International Piano Series
  • Recital opportunities in our urban Piano Fringe festival
  • Participation in our enriching programme in schools and other community settings

Digital Innovation and Engagement

We aim for audiences in every corner of the world to have access to our music. In 2021 we will develop our video broadcast content, working with medici.tv and other partners to generate visibility for our Competitors and reach a global audience:

  • Live-streaming with medici.tv broadcasts the Competition in over 190 countries
  • Warner Classics ensures the global distribution and high profile of our winners’ music
  • High impact social media gathers the interest of millions of viewers to experience our young pianists
  • Developing innovative ways of using digital content and experiences to reach the next generation of audiences


Friendships for life

Most importantly, the city of Leeds offers a warm Yorkshire welcome to all its pianists! Hosted by the University of Leeds, you will meet members of our audience and may even be sponsored by a member of our ‘family’. Lifelong friendships are built in our city, and may keep you coming home to Leeds for many years to come...


If you have program guideline questions please contact Linda.wellings@leedspiano.com