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(c) Lisa-Marie Mazzucco/Giorgia Bertazzi/Marco Borggreve

The Leeds International Piano Competition launches annual Leeds Piano Festival

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Inaugural event takes place across 14-23 May 2018 in Leeds and London

Top-level recitals from distinguished past winners and alumni – Alessio Bax, Sunwook Kim and Lars Vogt – and Young Scholars of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation

Additional events in both cities strengthen The Leeds’s vision to make the piano accessible to all and build the Festival spirit

The Leeds International Piano Competition presents the first of what is to be an annual Leeds Piano Festival in May 2018.

The inaugural event, taking place across ten days in Leeds and London (14-23 May), brings together past winners and alumni including Alessio Bax (winner of the 2000 Competition), Sunwook Kim (winner of the 2006 Competition) and Lars Vogt (2nd prize in the 1990 Competition), who each perform recitals at both Leeds’s Howard Assembly Room and London’s Wigmore Hall.

These recitals contrast the core repertoire of Bach, Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven, on which The Leeds has always built its reputation, with works from eminent 20th-century composers such as Janáček, Schoenberg, Debussy and Dallapiccola.

The Festival forms an important part of the vision of The Leeds’s new artistic leadership, Paul Lewis and Adam Gatehouse, to expand its activities beyond the triennial competition and provide a much enriched programme of events for both pianists and audiences alike.

Three Young Scholars from the Lang Lang International Music Foundation – all teenagers from the United States, personally selected and mentored by Lang Lang –  also perform a recital in both venues in Leeds and London as the first stage in a new partnership between the Foundation and The Leeds, who both share a passion for educating and inspiring the next generation of pianists and music lovers.

In addition to recitals from the exceptional pianists, the Leeds Piano Festival includes a number of events and activities which aim to bring The Leeds’s passion for the piano to wider audiences. A particular highlight promises to be ‘Discover the Piano: Piano Fantasia’: hundreds of local primary schoolchildren from all over Leeds are invited to Leeds Town Hall to explore and discover the piano in a family performance from creator and pianist Will Pickvance. They will also get to take part in various piano workshops and hear exceptional performances from the Lang Lang Scholars in a fun and accessible celebration of the piano.

The Lang Lang Scholars also participate in a public masterclass run by Alessio Bax at the Howard Assembly Room on 15 May, as well as Education and Learning programmes in both Leeds and London; the latter, in collaboration with Wigmore Hall’s Learning Programme, is a significant extension of The Leeds’s longstanding partnership with Wigmore Hall. This includes workshops and a visit to a primary school piano club, a visit to a dementia care setting in London, and a visit to the Rodillian Academy in Leeds, where every child plays a musical instrument. This focus on taking the piano out into the community not only embodies The Leeds’s vision of making the piano accessible to all, but also allows the Young Scholars to share their passion for the piano with a wide range of people outside the concert hall.

Paul Lewis and Adam Gatehouse, co-Artistic Directors of The Leeds International Piano Competition, said:

“We are hugely looking forward to welcoming back Alessio Bax, Sunwook Kim and Lars Vogt to The Leeds as part of our inaugural Leeds Piano Festival, and are delighted that they have the opportunity to delight audiences once again in Leeds as well as London. The Festival not only celebrates the rejuvenation of the Competition and the incredible legacy that The Leeds has built over the last 55 years, but also demonstrates the Competition’s ethos to nurture young artists and to provide opportunities for professional development both on and off the stage. To this end we are tremendously excited to be welcoming the exceptional Young Scholars from the Lang Lang International Music Foundation to the Festival, and for them to share their passion and talent with us. This new Festival allows us to bring The Leeds’s vision of making the piano accessible to all to more people than ever on a local, national and international level.”

The Leeds recently announced the shortlist of 68 pianists for the First Rounds of the Competition, taking place internationally for the first time in the Competition’s 55-year history in Berlin, New York and Singapore in April 2018. The Second Round, Semi-Finals and Finals will run from 6-15 September in Leeds.

For more information and to book tickets to recitals, please visit https://www.leedspiano.com/2018-leeds-piano-festival/.

 

Full listings for the Leeds Piano Festival 2018

14 May – ALESSIO BAX

Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds, 7.15pm

Marcello               Oboe Concerto in D minor, S D935 (arr. JS Bach, BWV 974)

Rachmaninov      Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42

Dallapiccola         Quaderno musicale di Annalibera

Liszt                       St. François d’Assise: La prédication aux oiseaux, S. 175/1 

Liszt                       Après une Lecture de Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata, S. 161

 

15 May – Lang Lang Young Scholars Masterclass with Alessio Bax

Howard Assembly Room, 11am

 

16 May – LARS VOGT

Wigmore Hall, London, 1pm

Mozart                   Piano Sonata No. 2 in F Major

Janáček                 On an Overgrown Path

Schoenberg          Six Little Piano Pieces

Beethoven            Appassionata Sonata

 

17 May – SUNWOOK KIM

Wigmore Hall, London, 1pm

Bach-Busoni        Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major, BWV564

Beethoven            Pathétique Sonata

Brahms                 Handel Variations, Op.24

 

18 May – ALESSIO BAX

Wigmore Hall, London, 1pm

A Marcello            Oboe Concerto in D minor, S D935 (arr. J.S. Bach, BWV 974)

Rachmaninov      Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42

Dallapiccola          Quaderno musicale di Annalibera

Liszt                       Après une Lecture de Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata, S. 161

 

19 May – LANG LANG INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FOUNDATION YOUNG SCHOLARS

Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds, 7.15pm

Programme to be confirmed

 

21 May – DISCOVER THE PIANO: PIANO FANTASIA
Leeds Town Hall

Performance of ‘Anatomy of the Piano’ by curator and pianist Will Pickvance
Performance from Lang Lang International Music Foundation Young Scholars

Full details to be confirmed

 

21 May – SUNWOOK KIM  

Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds, 7.15pm

Bach-Busoni        Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major, BWV564

Schumann            Humoreske Op. 20

Debussy                Suite Bergamasque

Brahms                 Handel Variations Op. 24

 

22 May – LARS VOGT

Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds, 7.15pm

Mozart:                 Piano Sonata No. 2 in F Major

Janáček                On an Overgrown Path

Schoenberg         Six Little Piano Pieces

Beethoven           Appassionata Sonata

 

23 May – LANG LANG INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FOUNDATION YOUNG SCHOLARS

Wigmore Hall, London, 1pm

Programme to be confirmed


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