Pianists compete in international competition

Quang Hong Luu (Vietnam), one of the eleven selected pianists to go through to Stage 2. Picture by John Cole
Quang Hong Luu (Vietnam), one of the eleven selected pianists to go through to Stage 2. Picture by John Cole

A host of talented pianists of all ages seized the opportunity last weekend to play the music of their choice on a beautiful grand piano in the middle of Priory Meadow Shopping Centre.

The immensely popular event was a curtain-raiser for the 11th Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, which took place at the White Rock Theatre throughout this week.

At Priory Meadow the youngest pianist was Lujane Smallman, who is just five years old. She came along with her brother Yusif, who is 12. Both of them charmed the enthusiastic audience, who seemed to savour all the music being played, from classical to show tunes, jazz and pop.

For the second year running Sam Mileberg, aged 11, came all the way from Shoreham to display his talent. He first heard about the event through the Facebook page of Sussex Pianos, which generously provided the elegant concert grand.

One of the highlights on Sunday was a six-hander session played by Arran Keith, Mark Bromley and Mary Moore.

Throughout the week, the various stages of the concerto competition at the White Rock Theatre have been filmed by Oscar-nominated film director Mike Figgis, who is himself an accomplished composer and musician.

He and his team have been posting a short film on each day of the competition on a dedicated YouTube channel. His aim, he said, is to create a mini television station which will bring the competition to people who might not otherwise think of getting involved with classical music.

To view the films and to find out more about the project, go to the competition website at www.hastingsconcertocompetition.co.uk.

The concerto competition will reach its climax tomorrow night (Saturday) when the three finalists will each play the whole of their chosen concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra on the stage of the White Rock Theatre. Members of the audience are asked to take their seat by 5.50pm for a prompt 6pm start.

The finalists were chosen from more than 30 talented pianists from around the world who came to Hastings to perform live in front of the distinguished international jury.

The winner will receive a cash prize of £10,000 plus the opportunity to play Beethoven’s

Tickets are available from the White Rock’s box office on 01424 462288 or www.whiterocktheatre.org.uk.