Pianists invited to head down to Priory Meadow to play a tune

Matthew Gouws and Ethan Richardson playing at last year's event
Matthew Gouws and Ethan Richardson playing at last year's event

Budding pianists are invited to try their hand at the piano in Priory Meadow.

From Friday, February 27 to Sunday, March 1 a concert grand piano will be installed in the shopping centre, courtesy of Sussex Pianos, to showcase local talent.

Pianists of all ages and standards are invited to come along and perform music of their choice.

Adults can play for up to 20 minutes but children can play for as short a time as they wish. Anyone who wants to bring a friend and play a duet will be encouraged to do so. Music teachers are also welcome to bring a group of pupils. The piano will be available from 9am to 5.30pm on Friday and Saturday and from 10am till 4pm on Sunday.

Pianists can apply for a pre-booked slot by emailing pianoevent@hastingsconcertocompetition.co.uk or texting 07788 723003. Or people can just turn up when they can, as they will be fitted in at the first opportunity.

The event, which is part of Hastings Musical Festival, is a curtain-raiser for the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition which begins at the White Rock Theatre on Saturday, February 28.

For the first stage of the competition, which will continue until the afternoon of Monday, March 2, competitors from around the world will play excerpts from their chosen concerto. There will be three sessions each day, starting at 10am, 2pm and 6pm. Tickets are £5 per session or £12 for a whole day.

Professor Frank Wibaut, artistic director of the competition and chairman of the jury, said: “This is the first time we’ve been able to hold part of the first stage at the weekend. This is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to come along and hear these highly talented young musicians play.”

Another first this year is that children under 16 accompanied by an adult will be able to attend free for all the first stage sessions and for the Stage two sessions, when the 12 contestants who go through will play a complete Mozart or Beethoven concerto. Stage two will take place in the morning, afternoon and evening of Wednesday, March 4.

This year schools are also being invited to send groups to the first two stages of the competition free of charge. To book a group in for one or more sessions, schools should apply to Hannah Deeble at info@hastingsconcertocompetition.co.uk.

The semi-final will take place at the White Rock on Thursday, March 5 at 5pm. The grand final, when the three finalists will play their complete concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, will take place on Saturday, March 7 at 5.50pm for a 6pm start. Tickets are available from the White Rock on 01424 462288.