Thursday 24 January 2019

Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition

Hastings International Piano Competition logo
Last night (24 January 2019) the 2019 Hastings International Piano Competition was launched in the august surroundings of the Houses of Parliament. The 2019 competition runs from 21 February to 2 March 2019 at the White Rock Theatre in Hastings. For this year's competition there were originally 176 entrants from 26 countries, aged between 18 and 30, of whom 50 have been invited to play at Hastings. The competition culminates in the final (spread over two nights, 1 and 2 March 2019) when the six finalists are accompanied in a piano concerto by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

But one of the distinguishing features of the competition is its focus on concertos, both the first and second rounds are also piano concertos, with just the semi-finals being a piano recital. The winner receives not only a cash prize but also concert engagements including playing a concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra during its regular concert season. Past winners of the competition have gone on to compete successfully in the Leeds International Piano Competition and the Van Cliburn Competition.

The venue for the festival, the White Rock Theatre in Hastings, was built as the White Rock Pavilion in 1927 to house performances by the Hastings Municipal Orchestra, and originally had 1066 seats (!) Recent renovation work to the theatre has uncovered the venue's original wooden flooring.

After this year, the competition is becoming biennial, so that the next competition will be in 2021 and in alternate years there will be a festival of the piano with a series of piano-themed events and recitals, including a concerto concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Further details from the competition website.

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