Movie director making film on piano competition

Mike Figgis
Mike Figgis

An Oscar-nominated movie director is to make a film about this year’s Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.

From tomorrow (Saturday) Mike Figgis, whose films include

An accomplished jazz musician and composer himself, Mr Figgis said: “The competition has a lot of drama built into it by the very nature of how it works, It has a strong emotional appeal which I hope will make a really interesting film.”

The director will be setting up a dedicated YouTube channel for daily streaming of the different stages of the competition. He added: “We want to create a little TV station which will give access to young people who might not otherwise think of getting involved with classical music. People are familiar with

Professor Frank Wibaut, artistic director of the competition and chairman of the jury, said: “This is a very exciting development. It will help us to build new audiences and encourage greater participation in what is fast becoming one of the premier classical piano competitions in Europe.”

More than 30 young musicians from as far afield as Australia and Kazakhstan are descending on Hastings this weekend to take part in the competition, playing live at the White Rock in front of a distinguished international jury. Stage One starts on Saturday at 10am, with further sessions at 2pm and 6pm. The young pianists will have 25 minutes each to play excerpts from the concerto they have chosen from the competition’s list. The orchestral part will be played on a second piano.

There will be further morning, afternoon and evening Stage One sessions on Sunday, March 1 and morning and afternoon sessions on Monday, March 2. A dozen competitors will then go forward to Stage Two on Wednesday, March 4, when they will play the whole of a Mozart or Beethoven concerto. There will be sessions at 10am, 1.15pm and 6pm. Again, the orchestral part will be played on a second piano.

Tickets for Stages On and Two will be available at the White Rock. They cost £5 per session or £12 for a whole day. Children under 16 accompanied by a paying adult will be given free entry.

Six young musicians will then go forward to the semi-final on Thursday, March 5 at 5pm, when they will give a 25-minute recital of music of their choice. Three will then be chosen to go through to the final on Saturday, March 7.

On Friday, March 6 the three semi-finalists who do not go through to the final will be given a Masterclass by members of the distinguished international jury in the Recital Room at Fairlight Hall. Tickets are £20 and available from or from the Hastings Tourist Information Centre on 01424 451111.

On Saturday the three finalists will play a complete concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra conducted by Brian Wright. Members of the audience are asked to take their seats by 5.50pm for a prompt 6pm start. The winner will receive a 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