Famous director to film piano competition
The 2015 Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition starts this week, kicking off with an event at Priory Meadow. Oscar-nominated British director Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas, The Browning Version, Time Code) has been commissioned to make a film about this competition and will be working with a film crew for 10 days at the White Rock Theatre and locations in and around Hastings from this Saturday, 28 February. HOT’s Chris Cormack explains how a dedicated YouTube channel for daily streaming of the competition stages and other related events will also be set up with HOT as host.
An accomplished jazz musician and composer himself, Figgis is keen to explore the issues surrounding the lives of young concert pianists working to establish a career, and equally what can be done to encourage younger audiences to experience classical music.
“This is a very exciting development for the competition and will help us continue to build new audiences and encourage greater participation in what is fast becoming one of the premier classical piano competitions in Europe,” said a spokesman for the competition.
Over 30 competitors from countries as far afield as Australia and Kazakhstan will be descending on Hastings from Friday to compete for over £15,000 in prize money and a chance to play a concerto live with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra on stage at the White Rock Theatre at the final on 7 March.
This Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Priory Meadow shopping centre will be ringing to the joyful sound of the people of Hastings playing whatever music takes their fancy on a magnificent grand piano. The fine instrument, provided by Sussex Pianos, will be available from 9.30am to 5.30pm on Friday and Saturday and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday. Pianists are welcome to play any style of music they want. Adults will be given 20 minutes or so to perform, while children can play for as little time as they choose. The organisers at Priory Meadow will have a limited number of free tickets to give away for the early stages of the competition.
This year’s competition stages run all day every day through the weekend, allowing visitors the chance to hear world-class young concert pianists perform concertos with an accompanist for as little as £5 a ticket, while under-16′s enter free when accompanied by an adult.
“We have deliberately kept our prices low to encourage new and broader audiences,” said competition administrator Hannah Deeble. “Our Priory Meadow recitals, which begin at the town shopping centre this Friday, are giving more people a chance to hear classical piano music.” The Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition runs from 28 February to 7 March. For all ticket prices and competition timings see the website or Facebook page.
Stage One starts on Saturday morning, 28th, at 10am at the White Rock Theatre, with further sessions at 2pm and 6pm. Thirty eight young pianists from around the world will have 25 minutes each to play excerpts from the concerto they have chosen from the competition’s list. The orchestral part will be played on a second piano.
There will be further morning, afternoon and evening Stage One sessions on Sunday 1 March and morning and afternoon sessions on Monday 2 March. Twelve competitors will then go forward to Stage Two on Wednesday 4 March, when they will play the whole of a Mozart or Beethoven concerto. There will be sessions at 10am, 1.15pm and 6pm. Again, the orchestral part will be played on a second piano.
Six young musicians – the competition is open to pianists aged from 16 to 30 – will then go forward to the semi-final on Thursday 5 March at 5pm, when they will give a 25-minute recital of music of their choice. Three will then be chosen to go through to the final on Saturday 7 March.
On Friday 6 March the three semi-finalists who do not go through to the final will be given a masterclass by members of the distinguished international jury in the Recital Room at Fairlight Hall. Tickets for this fascinating evening are £20, to include wine and nibbles. Tickets are available online or from the Hastings Tourist Information Centre on 01424 451111.
On Saturday the three finalists will play a complete concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra conducted by Brian Wright. Members of the audience are asked to take their seats by 5.50pm for a prompt 6pm start. The winner will receive a prize of £10,000 plus the opportunity to play Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on 4 June. The total prize money available adds up to £17,000.
Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition 2015: White Rock Theatre, Hastings TN34 1JX, 28 February to 7 March. Tickets for the semi-final and the final are selling fast. Tickets for Stages One and Two will be available at the White Rock Theatre box office or on 01424 462288. They cost £5 per session or £12 for a whole day. Children under 16 accompanied by a paying adult are given free entry.
Join the Friends of HIPCC as a Member, Patron or Sponsor and gain the benefits! This helps to ensure this exciting competition continues to grow from strength to strength. You will also help in the further development of the outreach programme in East Sussex.