If proof was needed of the rising status of the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, look no further than a special event held at the House of Commons this week.
Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd welcomed guests to celebrate the Cultural Renaissance of Hastings and its development into a strong classical music hub.
Now one of the UK’s most prestigious classical music competitions, the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition (HIPCC) was recognised as a major contributor to the growing classical music scene in town.
The competition, together with venues specialising in classical music, the creation of the professional Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra and the many concerts and recitals around the town have created a centre for classical music on the South coast.
This year’s competition will take place at the White Rock Theatre from Thursday, February 21 to Saturday, March 2. The winner will receive a cash prize of £15,000 and the opportunity of engagements with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Past winners of HIPCC have also gone on to win prizes at some of the world’s other top international competitions.
This reflects how the competition, which will become a biennial event after 2019, has grown in stature over the past 14 years.
Artistic director Professor Frank Wibaut, who is also chairman of the International Jury, described the competition’s global impact by revealing that in 2019 there were over 176 entries from 26 countries, with live auditions held in Japan, China, USA, Italy and in the UK. From those, 49 contestants have now been invited to play live in Hastings.
At the House of Commons event, chief executive Helen Winning announced that the HIPCC has entered into a five-year partnership agreement with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as the competition’s resident orchestra.
The collaboration will include biennial performances by the orchestra at the competition final in Hastings and concerts as part of the Festival of Piano in non-competition years, in addition to providing performance opportunities for the winner, both in London and as part of the Orchestra’s UK touring programme.
In the coming months the HIPCC will announce details of the inaugural Festival of Piano in 2020, which will develop the competition’s outreach programme and complement its year-round calendar of concerts and events.
All stages of this year’s competition will take place at the White Rock Theatre and will be open to the public. Tickets are now on sale from the White Rock box office (01424 462288) or online from www.whiterocktheatre.org.uk. For further information please go to www.hipcc.co.uk.