Over the next few days, more than 40 of the best young concert pianists in the world will play their hearts out in the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition (HIPCC) and compete for a first prize of £15,000.
176 pianists entered this year’s competition, more than ever before. Live auditions were held in China, Japan, the USA, Italy and the UK. Those who couldn’t attend in person submitted video auditions. At the end of this process, 45 were invited to come and play live in Hastings.
The ever-growing interest in the competition reflects its increased status in the international piano world. Prizewinners from Hastings have been doing outstandingly well in other major international competitions.
For instance, at the most recent Cliburn competition – the most prestigious in America which takes place just every four years – the 2017 Hastings winner Kenny Broberg came second to Yekwon Sunwoo, the runner up in the 2014 Hastings competition.
The other great attraction of the HIPCC is the chance to play with one of the greatest orchestras in the world, the Royal Philharmonic (RPO). They play with each of the six finalists over the two evenings of the grand final - an opportunity any young concert pianist would give a great deal for.
It has recently been announced that HIPCC has signed a new five year agreement with the Royal Philharmonic. This confirms the RPO as the competition’s resident orchestra from 2019 onwards. It also expands the opportunities to be offered to the victor. This year’s winner will play a concerto with the RPO at Cadogan Hall, its London home, as well as a concerto with the orchestra at a regional location.
The winner will also be invited to play a further concert in the United States and a number of other events elsewhere in the UK.
This year’s competition started at the White Rock Theatre on Thursday February 21 and runs across ten days until Saturday March 2.
Eleven stages of the competition will take place at the White Rock Theatre and will be open to the public. Tickets are on sale from box office on 01424 462288 or www.whiterocktheatre.org.uk.