Tuning up for imaginative new piano competition programme

The Leeds International Piano Competition (LIPC), supported by the University, reveals its hugely expanded programme for this year’s event.

Langlang performing in primary school July 2018

From a wide range of concerts and events to the world’s smallest concert hall, the imaginative line-up aims to celebrate the instrument like never before.

Running from 17 August to 15 September 2018 – with many events taking place on campus – ‘The Leeds’ hopes to reach new audiences in the build-up to and during the triennial event, with a host of talks, masterclasses, exhibitions, free family events, concerts and other opportunities providing chances for people from Leeds and beyond to get involved with the competition.

Tickets are now on sale for the events, as well as for the competition’s final rounds, which take place from 6-15 September.

Dubbed Piano +, the new programme includes masterclasses and talks with world-famous pianists who make up the competition jury, such as Paul Lewis, Lars Vogt and Imogen Cooper.

Other events will feature eminent musicians and piano-loving celebrities, including musician Alfred Brendel, former politician Ed Balls and actor and Leeds alumnus Alistair McGowan.

All Piano + events are hosted by the University, which is the competition’s principal partner, with masterclasses and talks taking place in the Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall. The Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery will host an exhibition of remarkable historic pianos – including those owned and played by Chopin and Haydn – from the Cobbe Collection, brought to Leeds especially for the competition.

Elsewhere in the city The Leeds, working with Leeds Business Improvement District (LeedsBID), is preparing the Leeds Piano Trail: twelve beautifully decorated pianos stationed in iconic locations across the city centre from 17 August.

These will be available for the public to play and will host 'mini recitals' by local music students and pianists, as well as pop-up performances by competition alumni, competitors and celebrity guests to spark the imagination of the millions of visitors, residents and workers who will visit, hear and play the pianos this summer.

Classic FM, as media partner for the Leeds Piano Trail, will broadcast its popular More Music Breakfast show, presented by Tim Lihoreau – another University alumnus – from Leeds on Friday 14 September.

The world's smallest concert hall will be installed in the city centre – a customised shipping container, strikingly decorated and located in Victoria Gardens in front of Leeds Arts Gallery from 10-14 September.

It will play host to an engaging daily programme of free events including 10-minute recitals by competitors and jury members, taster piano lessons, talks and educational activities for local community groups.

The installation, provided by LeedsBID, will also enable passers-by to learn more about the competition, pick up Leeds Piano Trail maps, watch footage from competitions past and present, and generally engage with the world-famous event in a new way.

Adam Gatehouse, The Leeds’ Co-Artistic Director, said: “We are thrilled to be finding such exciting new ways of connecting the competition to the city of Leeds, its residents and visitors as well as the wider Yorkshire community.

“We want to celebrate and champion the piano by creating accessible and innovative piano-centred activities, events and programmes and share our passion for the piano engagingly and imaginatively with the widest possible audience. We also want everyone to have fun in the process."

A list of events and activities is published today as the ticketed public events go on sale at leedspiano.com. Details of free events as part of the Piano Trail and in the World’s Smallest Concert Hall will be announced in due course.

University staff can get 25% off tickets for the second round and semi finals of the LIPC. You will need to log in to access the offer.

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