The ‘City of the piano’ celebrates its International Piano Competition at Leeds Town Hall.
Eric Lu has been awarded first place, together with the Dame Fanny Waterman* Gold Medal at the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition 2018, a triennial event which is widely regarded as among the most coveted prizes in the musical world. Eric also won the Terence Judd Hallé Orchestra Prize.
Lang Lang, international star pianist and Global Ambassador of the Competition, presented the prizes following the last Concerto Final with the Hallé, conducted by Edward Gardner in Leeds Town Hall.
Eric’s prize includes £25,000, worldwide management with leading arts management agency Askonas Holt, a Warner Classics album release and a variety of performance opportunities with BBC Radio 3. In addition, performance engagements are secured, with leading promoters at premier venues with some of the world’s best orchestras.
Significant dates to note are: 20 September, when Eric opens the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s new season; 21 September, with the release of a digital single of a highlight from his Leeds performances and 2 November, with a full album release.
Mario Haring won second place alongside the Yaltah Menuhim Award for the greatest collaborative chamber performance.
Xinyuan Wang gained third place and The Audience Award, for the first time opened up to a global audience.
Mario and Xinyuan will give major recitals in St George’s Hall, Liverpool on 17 and 18 September and will also have the opportunity to perform solo at London’s Wigmore Hall in 2019.
A full list of concert engagements for the prize winners is available here.
*Dame Fanny Waterman is Life President and Founder Director Emeritus of The Leeds International Piano Competition.
An honorary degree was conferred on Lang Lang from the University of Leeds, the Competition’s Principal Partner.
Lang Lang said:
“The Finals of The Leeds will stay in my memory for a long time. It has been a privilege to witness so much extraordinary talent on stage and an honour to receive a Doctorate from the University of Leeds. I’m extremely proud of my association with the City of Leeds, with the piano competition – which is doing so much to unite excellence and accessibility – and with the University. It truly is the City of the piano and I look forward to returning.”
Paul Lewis, Chair of the Jury and Co-Artistic Director of The Leeds, had this to say:
“All the pianists have shown extraordinary talent, passion and dedication throughout the Competition, and it goes without saying that the standard of playing has been remarkable. Many of the world’s greatest pianists have started out at The Leeds and I’m certain all the 2018 Finalists have bright futures, and we look forward to supporting what we believe will be successful and fulfilling careers.”
This year, the Competition became a City-wide celebration of the piano, adding talks, masterclasses, exhibitions, free family events, schools projects, and concerts – as well as The Leeds Piano Trail, which invited the public to play on 12 beautifully decorated public pianos in the City Centre. Many of the pianos will remain in situ for the foreseeable future.
All rounds of The Leeds remain available to watch at leedspiano2018.medici.tv for three years, and BBC Radio 3’s extensive coverage of the Semi-Finals and Finals is available via BBC i Player Radio. The Finals are broadcast on BBC FOUR television on Sunday 23 September.
The next Competition will take place in 2021.
For more information about the Competition visit www.leedspiano.com.
Feature photograph is Eric Lu, Edward Gardner and the Halle Orchestra. All photographs by Simon Wilkinson and provided by Albion Media.
Adam combines his interest in Leeds with a flair for writing discovered back in school days. He says he’ll tackle any topic as long as it’s Leeds.