Hastings piano competition sees record number of entries

Kenneth Broberg, previous winner of the competition, in action
Kenneth Broberg, previous winner of the competition, in action

The Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition has once again attracted a record number of entries for this year’s event, which begins at the White Rock Theatre on February 21.

A total of 176 young pianists from 25 different countries applied to take part.

Live auditions were then held in the autumn in Japan, China, the USA, Italy and the UK. At the end of the process, 49 contestants were invited to come and play live in Hastings – more than ever before.

“The number of entries has increased year on year now for several years,” said Professor Frank Wibaut, Artistic Director and chairman of the International Jury.

“This says a huge amount about how well the competition is regarded.”

Once again this year the six contestants who reach the two-evening final will have the opportunity to play one of their chosen concertos with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO).

“This is a very rare opportunity for these young pianists,” said Professor Wibaut, “something they could remember for the rest of their lives. And this year the winner will have the chance to play two further concerts with the RPO, one regional and one at the orchestra’s home venue, Cadogan Hall in London.

“On top of that, the winner will be given a trip to the USA to play in the wonderful auditorium of Ball State University in Indiana. It’s these opportunities that make the competition so attractive.”

Stage 1 of the competition will run from Thursday, February 21 to Saturday, February 23, when contestants will play excerpts from one of their chosen concertos. After this, the number of competitors will be reduced to up to 24.

Stage 2 will take place on Monday, February 25 and Tuesday, February 26, when contestants will play their second chosen concerto with an accompanist. Up to 12 will then go to the next stage.

The semi-final, in which contenders will play a solo recital, will take place throughout the day on Wednesday, February 27. Six young pianists will then be chosen for the final.

The final will take place on March 1 and 2, when each of the six finalists will play the whole of one of their chosen concertos with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

All stages of the competition will take place at the White Rock Theatre and will be open to the public. Tickets are on sale from the White Rock box office (01424 462288) or online from www.whiterocktheatre.org.uk. See www.hipcc.co.uk for more.

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