The Leeds International Piano Competition reveals imaginative new programme for 2018

Content by Albion Media

The Leeds International Piano Competition has revealed a rich programme of events around the Competition that will provide a much-enhanced experience for audiences in the build up to and during the triennial event, which takes place in Leeds 6-15 September 2018.

With a host of talks, masterclasses, exhibitions, free family events and concerts adding to the Competition, as well as a range of opportunities for the people of Leeds and beyond to get involved, The Leeds, as it is affectionately known, is opening up to the widest possible audience in an unprecedented way. 

Piano+, designed to offer a new layer of entertainment and insight to music lovers and Competition audiences, includes masterclasses, talks and insight events with the world-famous pianists of the distinguished Competition Jury, such as Paul Lewis,Lars Vogt and Imogen Cooper. There will also be conversations and events with other eminent musicians and piano-loving celebrities, including Alfred BrendelEd Balls and Alistair McGowan.

All Piano+ events are hosted by the Leeds International Piano Competition’s principal partner, the University of Leeds. The University’s beautifully restored Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall will host the numerous masterclasses, talks and conversations, while its Treasures of the Brotherton gallery is the venue for an exhibition of remarkable historic pianos – including those owned and played by Chopin and Haydn – from the Cobbe Collection, brought to Leeds especially for the Competition.

The Competition, working in collaboration with Leeds Business Improvement District (LeedsBID), is opening its arms to the people of Leeds with the Leeds Piano Trail: twelve beautifully decorated pianos stationed in iconic locations across the city centre from 17 August. These will be available for the public to play, and will host ‘mini recitals’ by local music students and pianists, and see pop-up performances by Competition alumni, competitors and celebrity guests to spark the imagination of the millions of visitors, residents and workers who will visit, hear and play the pianos this Summer. Besbrode Pianos are supplying all of the instruments for the Trail.

Classic FM, the UK’s most popular classical music station, is media partner for the Leeds Piano Trail and will broadcast its popular More Music Breakfast show, presented by Tim Lihoreau, from its studios in Leeds on Friday 14 September.

The Leeds will also create the ‘World’s Smallest Concert Hall’ in Leeds city centre – a specially-fitted shipping container, strikingly decorated, equipped and located in Victoria Gardens in front of Leeds Arts Gallery/Leeds Town Hall from 10-14 September. It will play host to an engaging daily programme of free events including 10-minute recitals by competitors and jury members, taster piano lessons, talks and educational activities for local community groups. The installation, provided by LeedsBID, will also enable passers-by to learn more about the Competition, pick up Leeds Piano Trail maps, watch footage from the Competition’s past and present, and generally engage with the world-famous event in a new way.

Full details of the Piano Trail and World’s Smallest Concert Hall will be announced in due course. People are being encouraged to follow The Leeds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.

The addition of this imaginative programming around the Competition is among the striking innovations introduced by Paul Lewis and Adam Gatehouse since their appointment as Co-Artistic Directors in 2015 to transform the Leeds International Piano Competition. Other developments include creating an unrivalled post-competition prize package, designed with young pianists’ long-term career strategy in mind; a new annual Leeds Piano Festival based in London and Leeds; new global centres for its First Round, the introduction of a Learning & Engagement programme, and worldwide live-streaming of all rounds on medici.tv. They have also forged a range of powerful new partnerships which, with the other enhancements, have invigorated the Competition and consolidated its position as among the most coveted prizes in the musical world.

Adam Gatehouse, Co-Artistic Director commented:

“We are thrilled to be finding such exciting new ways of connecting the Competition to the City of Leeds, its residents and visitors as well as the wider Yorkshire community. We want to celebrate and champion the piano by creating accessbile and innovative piano-centred activities, events and progammes and share our passion for the paino engagingly and imaginatively with the widest possible audience. We also want everyone to have fun in the process. In so doing we are providing a much-enhanced experience for auidences and competitors in Leeds, as well as reaching out to the world with a global First Round on three continents, international broadcasting and worldwide concert engagmenets. And last but not least we are also looking forward to sharing this great city with the world.”

Leeds International Piano Competition

A list of Piano+ events and activities is now published and the ticketed public events are now on sale .The fianl rounds of the Competition itself run from 6-15 September in Leeds. Medici.tv stream all rounds internationally, while BBC Radio 3 broadcast the final rounds live. 

Details of free events as part of the Piano Trail and in the World’s Smallest Concert Hall will be announced in due course.

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