Pianists from around the globe to descend on Hastings in March

The finale at last year's International Piano Concerto Competition. Picture by Alexander Brattell
The finale at last year's International Piano Concerto Competition. Picture by Alexander Brattell

PIANISTS from all around the world will be arriving in 1066 Country in March to compete in the 10th Anniversary Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.

But before they come to Hastings, local musicians are going to be given the chance to show what they can do in the main concourse of the Priory Meadow Shopping Centre.

Organisers of Hastings Musical Festival are hosting three days of live piano performances on Friday, February 28, Saturday, March 1 and Sunday, March 2. Players of all ages are invited to come and play on a grand piano provided by Sussex Pianos.

Adults will be given the chance to play for up to 30 minutes, but children and beginners can play for as short a time as they want.

Pianists of all levels who would like to perform – from full-time professionals to novices just starting out on Grade One - can email pianoevent@hastingsconcertocompetition.co.uk to find out more and book themselves a slot.

There will also be open sessions each day when shoppers will be encouraged to join in.

The event is the appetiser for the International Piano Concerto Competition which starts at the White Rock Theatre on Monday, March 3.

The initial stage will involve each of the entrants, aged between 16 and 30, playing extracts they pick from their chosen concerto for 25 minutes.

There will be morning, afternoon and evening sessions from Monday, March 3 to Wednesday, March 5.

All of them will be open to the public and tickets will cost just £5.

Six contestants will then be chosen to take part in the Semi-Final Recitals on Thursday, March 6.

Professor Frank Wibaut, artistic director and chairman of the internationally renowned jury, said: “This is now one of the highlights of the event.

“Each of the six are given 25 minutes to play music of their choice, which means there is a tremendous variety and it’s always very exciting.”

The competition will reach its climax on Saturday, March 8, when the three finalists will play the whole of their chosen concerto accompanied by the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.

The winner will receive a prize of £10,000 plus the amazing opportunity and experience of appearing as soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

They will also be asked to play at several other concerts throughout the year.

Tickets for all stages of the competition are available from the White Rock Theatre on 01424 462288 or www.whiterocktheatre.org.uk.

Hastings Musical Festival runs for three weeks from March 3.