In the new edition of the Leeds International Piano Competition we have now enjoyed the diversity of the ten Semi-Finalists. Just in “the middle of the battle” Piano Street’s Patrick Jovell had the chance to ask the competition’s Co-Artistic Director, Adam Gatehouse a few questions.
Patrick Jovell: The friendly ”piano festival” feeling is evident for the audience as well as for the contestants. Which are your impressions so far?
Adam Gatehouse: We could not be more delighted with the atmosphere of a friendly festival that is being created around the competition. Many different communities in Leeds have really become involved through playing the pianos on the Piano Trail, and visiting the World’s Smallest Concert Hall in the Shipping Container. There is already a much more inclusive feeling around the city regarding the Competition that is being held.
PJ: The offered Master-classes and lectures are something we usually don’t see at the most prominent piano competitions. How were these received by the participants and competition goers?
AG: Both competitors and competition audiences have responded very favourably to the masterclasses – these have been quite an attraction for the very keen members of the audience and many competitors have thrown themselves into it with huge enthusiasm. One competitor was even dancing during his masterclass!
PJ: You have connected the competition to the international world and auditions were earlier held in Berlin, New York and Singapore. Has this effected the width of participation?
AG: We had 27 countries represented among the 68 pianists chosen for the First Round. This was a fantastic breadth of representation from across the world and surely illustrates huge global reputation of the Leeds International Piano Competition. we know no boundaries!
PJ: The five finalists now face the momentum with the jury’s choice of a concerto with orchestra. What would you say is the most important quality to communicate as a contestant in this specific and crucial moment of the competition?
AG: I think the most important thing is to communicate how they feel in their souls about the music and to bring across to all the listeners their joy in making music with this wonderful orchestra. That is what it is all about isn’t it?
PJ: We will leave you to your busy schedule now, but we know that the Leeds Competition is not closing up when Mr. Lang Lang has given out the prizes. Which Leeds projects are coming up after the competition for us to keep our eyes open for?
AG: Leeds Piano Festival in March/April 2019 in Leeds and London, and then again in 2020. And of course there will be the many appearances worldwide of our winner(s) including Liverpool next week, Eindhoven in October, Bristol in November, and then in 2019 appearances with the Halle Orchestra, at Wigmore Hall and tours of Europe (Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and Denmark) and South Korea in 2019.
The Final Round
After the semifinals the Leeds International Piano Competition has now announced the five finalists who will play concertos chosen by the jury as follows:
Final 1: Friday 14 September
7.00 pm (GMT): Aljoša Jurinić (Croatia)
Mozart – Concerto in C minor K491
7.50 pm: Anna Geniushene (Russia)
Prokofiev – Concerto No. 3 in C major Op.26
9.00 pm: Mario Häring (Germany)
Beethoven – Concerto No. 1 in C major Op. 15
Final 2: Saturday 15 September
7.00 pm: Xinyuan Wang (China)
Schumann – Piano Concerto in A minor Op.54
7.50 pm: Eric Lu (USA)
Beethoven – Concerto No. 4 in G major Op.58
9.00 pm: Results and Presentations
Follow the live stream at leedspiano2018.medici.tv
Read more about the Leeds Piano Competition 2018