Popular Hastings piano contest to run every two years

Roman Kosyakov, winner in 2018
Roman Kosyakov, winner in 2018

The prestigious Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, which has been growing in stature every year for the last 14 years, is to become a biennial event after next year’s competition.

The announcement was made at the official launch of the 2019 competition on Tuesday (September 11) at the preview of a new exhibition of photographs and film of this year’s event, being held in the crypt of St Mary’s in the Castle in Hastings.

“The most exciting thing about going every two years is that we’ll have the time to develop the competition and make it better,” says Professor Frank Wibaut, the competition’s artistic director.

“We’ll be able to make it more exhilarating for the audience and offer more opportunities – including concerts – for our contestants.“

Many of the most important piano competitions in the world do not take place every year. The highly-regarded Leeds International Piano Competition, for instance, takes place every three years, while the Van Cliburn, the leading competition in the US, happens every four years.

“Going biennial will also help us develop our outreach and education programme,” added Professor Wibaut.

“And it will help us develop our very important relationship with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.”

In the year between competitions, HIPCC will continue to offer excellent piano performances to the local community. Around February/March 2020, there will be a major concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra featuring three concertos played by past competition prize winners.

The 2019 competition will take place from Thursday, February 21 to Saturday, March 2 at the White Rock Theatre. Once again the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will play on the two evenings of the final, on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2. The conductor for 2019 will be Rory Macdonald.

Entries are already being accepted. Live auditions will be held in Japan, China, USA, Italy and London. Competitors who are unable to travel are invited to submit videos.