Who are the pianists in this year’s Leeds International Piano Competition?

Everything you need to know about the 2021 Leeds International Piano Competition, from the schedule and how you can watch the rounds to the names of this year's competitors

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This year’s line-up for the Leeds International Piano Competition is more internationally diverse than ever, thanks to the fact that the earliest stages of the competition were held in more cities than ever before. Competitors from 18 countries are making their way to Leeds for the subsequent rounds and finals.

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This will be the first edition of the competition that will take place without co-founder Dame Fanny Waterman, who died at the end of last year at the age of 100. She only retired from her role as chairman and artistic director in 2015, aged 94. There will be a memorial concert held in her memory on 16 September given by the competition’s most recent winner, Eric Lu.

Who are the competitors in the 2021 Leeds International Piano Competition?

Nour Ayadi
21, Morocco

Liszt: ‘Dante’ Sonata

Alim Beisembayev
22, Kazakhstan

Liszt: Transcendental Etude No. 5, ‘Feux Follets’

Alim Beisembayev is one of this year’s Leeds semi-finalists. 

Dmytro Choni
27, Ukraine

Liszt: ‘Dante’ Sonata

Dmytro Choni is one of this year’s Leeds semi-finalists. 

Federico Gad Crema
21, Italy

Scarlatti: Sonata in G, K. 146

Galyna Gusachenko
28, Ukraine

Scarlatti: Sonata in B flat, K. 551

Arseniy Gusev
22, Russia

Chopin: Étude, Op. 10 No. 10

Tyler Hay
26, United Kingdom

Rameau: Le rappel des oiseaux

So Hyang In
29, South Korea

Chopin: Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op. 22

Thomas Kelly
22, United Kingdom

Busoni: Élégie No. 2 ‘All’Italia!’

Thomas Kelly is one of this year’s Leeds semi-finalists. 

Elizaveta Kliuchereva
21, Russia

Liszt: Spanish Rhapsody

Elizaveta Kiuchereva is one of this year’s Leeds semi-finalists. 

Kaito Kobayashi
25, Japan

Ravel: Scarbo (Gaspard de la nuit)

Kaito Kobayashi is one of this year’s Leeds semi-finalists. 

Maximilian Kromer
24, Austria

Beethoven: Sonata No. 18 in E flat: IV. Presto con fuoco

Lucas Krupinski
28, Poland

Chopin: Polonaise-fantaisie in A-flat, Op. 61

Ariel Lanyi
23, Israel

Szymanowski: Variations in B flat minor, Op. 3

Ariel Lanyi is one of this year’s Leeds semi-finalists. 

Ying Li
23, China

Debussy: Images, Book I (III)

Yuzhang Li
21, China

Scriabin: Sonata No. 2 in G sharp minor, Op. 19

Yuzhang Li is one of this year’s Leeds semi-finalists. 

Lovre Marušić
28, Croatia

Scriabin: Sonata No. 2 in G sharp minor

Priscila Navarro
26, Peru

Rachmaninov: Étude tableau in E flat minor, Op. 33 No. 6

Priscila Navarro is one of this year’s Leeds semi-finalists. 

Hyunjin Roh
20, South Korea

Ravel: La valse

Hyunjin Roh is one of this year’s Leeds semi-finalists. 

Arash Rokni
27, Iran

Couperin: Prelude in G minor

Victoria Vassilenko
28, Bulgaria

Debussy: Feux d’artifice (Préludes)

Yike (Tony) Yang
22, Canada

Ravel: Sonatine (Animé)

Gabriel Yeo
22, Germany

Haydn: Fantasia in C: IV. Presto

Xiaolu Zang
21, China

Scriabin: Sonata No. 4 in F sharp, Op. 30

Xiaolu Zang is one of this year’s Leeds semi-finalists. 

The semi-finalists in this year’s Leeds International Piano Competition

The following pianists made it through to the semi-finals of the 2021 Leeds Piano Competition:

Alim Beisembayev (23, Kazakhstan)

Dmytro Choni (28, Ukraine)

Thomas Kelly (22, United Kingdom)

Elizaveta Kliuchereva (22, Russia)

Kaito Kobayashi (25, Japan)

Ariel Lanyi (23, Israel)

Yuzhang Li (22, China)

Priscila Navarro (27, Peru)

Hyunjin Roh (20, South Korea)

Xiaolu Zang (21, China)

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This year’s Leeds Piano Competition schedule

Second Round

8-10 September | Great Hall, University of Leeds, 2pm & 7pm
Solo recital performances

Semi Finals

12-14 September | Great Hall, University of Leeds 7pm (12 Sept), 2pm & 7pm (13 & 14 Sept)
Chamber music and contemporary repertoire

Interview: Jury Perspectives

12 September | Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, University of Leeds, 4pm
BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawney talks to Jury Chair, Imogen Cooper and Artistic Director, Adam Gatehouse

Masterclasses

15-16 September | Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, University of Leeds, 9.45am & 2pm (15 Sept), 9.45am (16 Sept)
Members of the Jury coach our semi-finalists

Dame Fanny Waterman Memorial Concert

16 September | Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, University of Leeds, 6pm
Dame Fanny Waterman exhibit & reception, followed by a special memorial concert by 2018 Winner, Eric Lu

Competition Gala Dinner

16 September | University of Leeds, 8pm
A celebration with audience, jury and competitors

Finals

17-18 September | Leeds Town Hall, 7pm
Concerto Finals and Awards Ceremony with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Manze

What’s the prize?

Cash prizes are up for grabs for finalists, worth over £90,000. The prize package also includes artist management with Askonas Holt, a studio recording with Warner Classics and a European tour with Steinway & Sons.

There will also be concert and recording engagements with BBC Radio 3 and at venues including Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre and with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mentorship from members of the jury including pianist Imogen Cooper will also be available to the finalists.

How to watch and listen to the finals of the Leeds Piano Competition

The second round, semi finals and finals of The Leeds will take place at the University of Leeds and Leeds Town Hall this September.

All the upcoming rounds of the competition will be streamed worldwide by medici.tv.

The semi finals and finals will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and the finals will be aired on BBC Four.

BBC Radio 3 schedule for Leeds International Piano Competition

Tuesday 14-Friday 17 September: 1-2pm; 7-10pm

In the Lunchtime Concert and Radio 3 in Concert slots throughout this week, Andrew McGregor is joined by former Leeds winner Katya Apekisheva to present coverage of the final stages of this year’s competition, with highlights from each of the recitals given by the semi-finalists. The pianists will perform both solo works and chamber music, teaming up with the 2019 RPS Young Artists of the Year, the Castalian String Quartet, along with violinist Jack Liebeck and cellist Laura van der Heijden.

Friday 17 September: 6.30-10pm
Concerto Finals, Part 1

Andrew McGregor and Katya Apekisheva move to the Leeds Town Hall to hear the first three (of five) finalists perform their concertos with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Andrew Manze.

Saturday 18 September: 6.30-10pm
Concerto Finals Part 2

Andrew McGregor and former Leeds winner Katya Apekisheva introduce the final two pianists in the Concerto Finals of this year’s Leeds International Piano Competition. The finalists will perform with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Manze.

They’ll also look back on some of the performances from earlier in the competition. The 2018 winner and BBC New Generation Artist Eric Lu will open the programme with a recorded recital.

Who was the last winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition?

American pianist Eric Lu won the competition in 2018 with a vibrant rendition of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. Since then, he went on to be named as one of the next intake of BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists and has performed with the UK’s top orchestras.