The Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition is an international competition for young professional concert pianists that’s a must-visit for classical fans. Hosted by the White Rock Theatre in the seaside Sussex town of Hastings, 50 contestants including 10 from the US compete over 10 days to win cash prizes and – just as valuable – professional engagements. Best of all for us, all stages of the competition are open to the public.
The Semi-Final, in which each contestant plays a solo recital, happens today (Wednesday February 27). A Masterclass given by members of the International Jury follows tomorrow. In the Two Night Final on Friday and Saturday evening (March 1 & 2) six finalists each perform a concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. See below for ticket information. We thought it would be fun to introduce you to the American pianists who are competing this year:
Alison (26) is currently pursuing her Doctorate Degree in Piano Performance at the Eastman School of Music with Natalya Antonova, where she also received her Bachelors (with Nelita True) and Masters degrees. Her most recent honors include top prizes in the 2014 Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition, 2015 Lennox International Young Artists Competition, 2017 Wideman International Piano Competition and 2018 Lewisville International Piano Competition.
Born and raised in New York City, 27 year old pianist and figure skater Vincent Ip completed a 35-city tour through Europe with Holiday On Ice. During his studies at Rice University under the tutelage of Jon Kimura Parker, Vincent was invited to perform Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 3 with the MFSO at the Chautauqua Institution. He went on to claim the bronze medal at the 2017 Seattle International Piano Competition, 2nd prize at the 2018 Shepherd School Concerto Competition and was invited to perform the Saint Saens Concerto No. 2 with the Galveston Symphony.
Hungarian-American pianist Peter Klimo has been playing piano since the age of nine. He earned his Bachelor’s from the Eastman School of Music with Nelita True, his Master’s from the Yale School of Music with Peter Frankl, and an Artist Diploma from TCU with Tamás Ungár. In November 2014, Peter, now age 28, won 2nd prize in the 10th International Franz Liszt Piano Competition. Highlights in recent years include concerto performances in Seoul, Los Angeles, and Budapest. Peter is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts at Eastman with Alan Chow.
Praised for his engaging presence at the piano, Timothy Ledger (28) maintains an active performing, teaching, and research career. Ledger has won numerous awards and competitions in North America, and is currently teaching and pursuing doctoral studies at McGill University. He holds music degrees from the University of Cincinnati and Indiana University, where he also served as an instructor in the music theory department. His primary teachers include Brent Schloneger, Elisabeth and Eugene Pridonoff, Jean-Louis Haguenauer, and Ilya Poletaev.
Since his orchestral debut at age fourteen, Robert Levinger (now 22) has since performed with orchestras around the U.S. Born in Wisconsin, Robert has performed in concert venues throughout America, including San Jose, Los Angeles, Houston, and New Orleans. He has performed with orchestras including the Madison Symphony Orchestra and most recently the Moores Symphony Orchestra. Following the completion of his BM degree at the University of Houston with Nancy Weems, Robert currently pursues an MM with Logan Skelton at the University of Michigan.
Born in 1999, Michael Lu (19) currently studies with Antonio Pompa-Baldi at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He also studied with Stanislav Ioudenitch and Seth Carlin. He won First Prize in the Midwest International Piano Competition in 2014 and has performed with the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra in Missouri (USA) and the Orchestre re´gional de Cannes in France, among several other orchestras across three continents. Michael has also performed chamber music with members of the Chicago Symphony and St. Louis Symphony Orchestras.
Hailed for his "mastery, precision, and passion", 24 year old Dominic Muzzi began training in the art of classical piano at the age of four, having shown keen aural ability before that age. Presently, Dominic has performed across the and Europe, holding over a dozen top prizes in solo piano and concerto competitions. He is now enrolled in the doctoral program at Indiana University, studying with internationally acclaimed concert pianist Roberto Plano.
Hailed as “spine-tingling” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram
) and “breathtaking” (Boston Musical Intelligencer
), Kyle Orth (28) is widely recognized as a captivating soloist and chamber musician. He has appeared with numerous orchestras and in concerts across the US, Israel, Mexico, and Europe. In January, he performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra on their subscription series, a performance which the Star Tribune described as being “thrillingly visceral." He is a doctoral student at NEC under Wha Kyung Byun.
24 year old pianist, Colton Peltier began taking piano lessons at the age of three. At the age of nine, he made his orchestral debut with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and has since performed extensively as a soloist and has performed numerous concerti under the batons of conductors such as Gianandrea Noseda, Lawrence Leighton Smith and Osmo V?nska. He has earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Degrees from The Juilliard School studying with Yoheved Kaplinsky. He is currently working under the tutelage of Lydia Artymiw.
Praised by the New York Times as a pianist with "assurance and vitality," Alan Woo (27) has appeared as soloist and chamber musician throughout the and Europe. He made his Lincoln Center debut in 2010 with the Juilliard Orchestra under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and has since collaborated with conductors Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Daniel Hege, and Tito Muñoz in performances with the Fort Worth and Houston Symphony Orchestras. Alan is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the Peabody Institute under the guidance of Yong Hi Moon.
Tickets are still available at
Costs: Semi-Final £6.50 session / £20.00 day ticket. Masterclass: £10.00 session / £15.00 day ticket. Two Night Final: £15.00*, £20.00*, £27.50* each evening. Bundle deals: Whole competition season ticket £100.00; £45.00 (for both finals on prime seats), or £60.00 (for semi-final and both finals on prime seats). Please call the box office on 01424 462288 for these.
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