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The Leeds International Piano Competition and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchetsra announce major new artistic partnership
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The Leeds International Piano Competition and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchetsra announce major new artistic partnership

Tuesday 11 June 2019
  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Leeds to form major new partnership
  • Andrew Manze to conduct Concerto Finals
  • Imogen Cooper appointed Chair of Jury
  • Ken Beaty appointed Chair of Trustee Board

The Leeds International Piano Competition today announces major artistic and administrative developments which build on the success of the previous Competition in 2018 and further strengthens its global status as a pinnacle of musical excellence and an ever-stronger platform for young pianists and music lovers.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Leeds deepen their long-standing relationship – which began at the inaugural Competition in 1963 – to create an unprecedented new-style partnership that will enhance the ongoing artistic and educational contributions of both the Orchestra and the Competition to pianists and audiences alike.

At the next Competition in September 2021, the Liverpool Philharmonic will return for the first time since 1975 to accompany the Concerto Finals. It will also extend the range of performance opportunities it offers The Leeds pianists. These will include a concerto performance for the winner to open the Liverpool Philharmonic’s 2021/22 season and lunchtime concerts for the second and third prize winners, all in the week immediately following the Competition Finals. In further supporting The Leeds’s vision of developing long-term careers for its pianists, Liverpool Philharmonic will also offer the winners the chance to give additional recital and chamber music performances as part of the prestigious Liverpool Philharmonic Chamber Music series the following season.

Andrew Manze, Liverpool Philharmonic’s Principal Guest Conductor and widely celebrated as a hugely stimulating and inspirational musician, will conduct the Orchestra in the Concerto Finals in 2021. The winning pianist will join the Orchestra at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall to open its 2021/22 season a week later.

Both The Leeds and Liverpool Philharmonic share a vision to develop lasting and dynamic relationships with music lovers and provide creative and accessible projects to engage and inspire new audiences. With Liverpool Philharmonic’s award-winning In Harmony programme and the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Company, The Leeds and Liverpool Philharmonic’s Learning and Engagement teams will work together to create new concerts and learning projects in Leeds and Liverpool as well as broadening access through streaming and digital work.

A further artistic development is the appointment of internationally renowned pianist Imogen Cooper as Chair of the Competition Jury. Cooper first worked with the Competition as a jury member in 2018 and will work closely with the Competition’s Artistic Director Adam Gatehouse to assemble an international artist-led jury and help shape the repertoire for the next Competition in September 2021.

The Leeds today also announces the appointment of Ken Beaty as Chair of the Board of Trustees, effective from July 2019, when Sir Vernon Ellis steps down after a highly successful tenure which began in 2015.

Following a successful 20-year career as a private equity investor, Beaty, who is also an ACMA qualified management accountant, brings his award-winning leadership skills to a range of private and publicly quoted companies as an independent chairman. He also donates up to half his time pro bono to working as trustee and Chair with charities in healthcare, education and the arts. A keen amateur pianist and choral singer, Beaty has lived in Leeds, with his wife and two daughters, since 1996.

Fiona Sinclair, Chief Executive of The Leeds, said:

"This is an exciting new phase for The Leeds as we build on the successes of the last Competition and continue to surge forward with an ever-richer range of concerts, events and outreach work for audiences in Leeds, the UK and around the world.

Ken Beaty brings excellent leadership experience, a broad strategic perspective and entrepreneurial flair which will help drive us to the international leading edge of our artform. In welcoming Ken, we would like to thank Sir Vernon Ellis for his tireless, enthusiastic and inspirational support during a time of such exciting change and growth in the history of The Leeds."


Adam Gatehouse, Artistic Director of The Leeds, added:

"I am thrilled that Imogen Cooper, an artist I have long admired, will chair the Jury and bring all of her artistic integrity, authority and international repute to us and the wonderful pianists who participate in the Competition. I am also hugely excited about the new partnership with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which promises a richer and deeper partnership that will bring new and wide-ranging benefits to both competitors and the wider community."


Ken Beaty said:

"The Leeds is one of the world’s leading international music competitions and is renowned globally for its excellence, quality, integrity and passion. The Competition has launched the careers of some exceptional world class pianists since it was founded in 1963 and I am proud and delighted to have been asked to chair the Board of Trustees.  I look forward with huge optimism and enthusiasm to working with the executive team and trustees as we continue to build The Leeds’ global position and influence.


Michael Eakin, Chief Executive, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra said:

"We’re delighted to partner once again with The Leeds in 2021 and look forward to the opportunity of bringing these extraordinary Competition winners to our Liverpool audiences each year."


Imogen Cooper said:

"My experience of being on the jury for the 2018 Competition was invigorating and fascinating. I am greatly honoured to take on the Chair in 2021, as The Leeds continues to evolve in energy and ideas, stretching ever further through global streaming to inspire and involve others."

For further press information please contact Victoria Bevan: victoria@albion-media.com / 020 3077 4947

Notes to Editors:

About Imogen Cooper

Regarded as one of the finest interpreters of Classical and Romantic repertoire, Imogen Cooper is internationally renowned for her virtuosity and lyricism. Imogen has a widespread international career and has appeared with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras. She also performs recitals on all the world’s great centres and as a committed chamber musician performs regularly with Henning Kraggerud and Adrian Brendel. As a Lieder recitalist, she has had a long collaboration with Wolfgang Holzmair in both the concert hall and recording studio. Her recent solo recordings for Chandos Records feature music by Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Wagner and Robert and Clara Schumann. Her latest release is of Beethoven's monumental Diabelli Variations.

Imogen received a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours in 2007 and was the recipient of an award from the Royal Philharmonic Society the following year. In 1997 she was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music and in 1999 she was made a Doctor of Music at Exeter University. Imogen was the Humanitas Visiting Professor in Classical Music and Music Education at the University of Oxford for 2012-13. The Imogen Cooper Music Trust was founded in 2015, to support young pianists at the cusp of their careers, and give them time in an environment of peace and beauty.

About Ken Beaty

Ken is a highly experienced board chair, having spent 25 years working with private and public companies in a variety of sectors as well as charities in healthcare, education and the arts.  As well as ensuring good corporate governance Ken has a reputation for helping successful, high growth and ambitious organisations to set strategic objectives and then challenging and supporting management teams and boards to ensure delivery of these objectives.  In 2019 Ken was shortlisted in the FTSE AIM category for “Non Executive Director of the Year” at the prestigious 2019 NED Awards in London.

Educated in Scotland (Greenock Academy and University of St Andrews) Ken worked in Aberdeen, London and Glasgow before moving to Leeds in 1996.  Despite his corporate work taking him all over the UK, Europe and into Asia, he has happily settled in Yorkshire with his wife and two teenage daughters.  Ken sings with Leeds Festival Chorus and is a keen amateur pianist when not indulging in his other passions as a cyclist and long distance runner, training and competing in and around Yorkshire and beyond.

About Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra www.liverpoolphil.com

The award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is the UK’s oldest continuing professional symphony orchestra.

Vasily Petrenko was appointed Principal Conductor of the Orchestra in September 2006 and in September 2009 became Chief Conductor. His dynamic music partnership with the Orchestra has attracted world-wide critical acclaim and drawn new audiences, including many young people, to live classical music.

The Orchestra gives over 70 concerts each season in its home, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. In recent seasons, the Orchestra has given world premiere performances of major works by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir John Tavener, Karl Jenkins, Stewart Copeland, Michael Nyman, Michael Torke, Nico Muhly, James Horner and Sir James MacMillan alongside works by Liverpool-born and North West-based composers.
Collaborations with international artists from rock and pop include Liverpool’s own Sir Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Ian Broudie and the Lightning Seeds, Echo and The Bunnymen and Cast.

The Orchestra tours regularly throughout the UK and world-wide and has an extensive discography featuring many critically acclaimed recordings.

About the Leeds International Piano Competition www.leedspiano.com:

The first Leeds International Piano Competition took place in 1963; the idea of local piano teacher and former concert pianist, Fanny Waterman. In bringing the competition to fruition, Dame Fanny, as she was to become in 2005, was assisted by her husband Geoffrey de Keyser and by Marion Thorpe, then Countess of Harewood. The first Competition was won by Michael Roll before a jury chaired by Sir Arthur Bliss. In 1981 Dame Fanny Waterman chaired the jury for the first time, continuing to do so until her retirement as artistic director in 2015, when she was succeeded by Paul Lewis (chair of the jury) and Adam Gatehouse as Co-Artistic Directors.

The concerto finals have been supported by a number of major UK orchestras over the years including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Hallé. The BBC has broadcast all Competitions since 1966 and in 2018 there was coverage on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four TV, as well as worldwide streaming by medici.tv.

The list of eminent past winners and alumni includes Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia. More recent winners with growing professional careers include Eric Lu, Alessio Bax, Sunwook Kim and Federico Colli. The roll call of other Competition finalists is equally illustrious as that of the winners and includes Dame Mitsuko Uchida and Sir András Schiff (1975), Peter Donohoe (1981), Louis Lortie (1984), Lars Vogt (1990), Denis Kozhukhin (2006) and Louis Schwizgebel (2012).

The Competition’s 1972 winner Murray Perahia became Patron in June 2017. Lang Lang is Global Ambassador and Dame Fanny Waterman was appointed Life President and Founder Director Emeritus in 2015.

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