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HIPCC 2015 Winner, Alexander Panfilov (Russia) Photo:

HIPCC 2015 winner Alexander Panfilov from Russia (photo:

Music? Judge for yourself

Are you in a book group? How about a music group? HOT’s brave new music reporter, David Pullen, has been invited by the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition to write a blog about this wonderful competition that kicks off next Thursday, 25 February. Contribute to David’s blog by joining him at Stage One in a little discussion of your experiences.

Only one week to go before the competing piano players start their 10-day playathon, which will make one of them £10,000 richer and give a tremendous boost to their career. No serious pressure there, then, for the 39 pianists, all under 30, who will be arriving from all over the globe, hoping  to claim the prize and the glory. At home they may well be feted as local prodigies, but here they will just be, say, contestant No.23 from Indonesia. An unknown, sitting alone at the piano in the White RockTheatre before a panel of silent  judges looking intently at them, and probably writing notes as they play, slightly detached and yet holding the competitor’s future in their hands.

A 2015 stage one competitor (

A 2015 stage one competitor (photo:

Which is where WE come in. Because if you, me, our friend in Rye who likes the piano, or our cousin who loves TV competitions, comes along as well, and just listens to the music, and claps when they finish, the contestants will play better, the jury will be able to sense how good (or otherwise) the pianists are at connecting with an audience, and the real point of playing the piano in public once again becomes to give a performance that will excite and move the listeners and not just try to impress a bunch of hardened professionals on the jury!

Whether you know a lot, or not, about piano music or piano playing, you’re bound to have some opinions about which work you liked most and which pianist you thought was best. And as we all know, there’s nothing better or more memorable than being present when things “take off”.  Who knows how many of these talented pianists can and might do that? We could be there to experience it happening. So why not take a punt at some of the preliminary sessions in which three different pianists will be tackling three different concertos? Or just go all day and hear nine concertos, like the jury members, who will be there the next day for another nine!

To make it more  fun, and a bit like going to Book Club, I’m going to try and organise a meet-up point after each  session so that the motley crew, that is us, the audience, can get together for a short while to talk, sound off, and hopefully share and judge the experience we’ve all just had, and  maybe put together some individual reflections that we can have in our HOT bulletin page each  day.

So see you at the White Rock, at 10.30? 1.30? 5? for a journey into the unknown followed by a chit-chat in the HOT club. A chance to be a music critic for the day.

It could be both a lot of fun and a memorable day out.

Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition: 25 February-5 March at the White Rock Theatre, White Rock, Hastings TN34 1JX.

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At Priory Meadow (c) John Cole

At Priory Meadow (photo:

Go to Piano at Priory Meadow Friday to Sunday 19-21 February – participants often include the great and the good. For instance, local composer Michael Short will play there this Friday at 11.00 and 12.20.

Stage One Thursday 25-Saturday 27 February: contestants play their chosen concerto from a list. Maximum performance of 28 minutes including all breaks/pauses. Parts selected must include part of every movement and any main cadenza.

Morning session 10:00, afternoon session 14:00, evening session 18:00.

Stage Two  Monday 29 February-Tuesday 1 March: Mozart and Beethoven concerti.

Contestants select two concerti from a list of eight, one from each composer. First movement only of each concerto, to be completed with cadenzas.

Morning session 10:00, afternoon session 13:15, evening session 18:00.

Stage 1 & 2 concerto performances: individual sessions £5/£4 concessions. Day ticket £12, usually available at the door. A free ticket is offered to any child under 16 accompanied by a paying adult to stage 1 or 2 sessions.

Posted 10:35 Wednesday, Feb 17, 2016 In: Piano Concerto Competition diary


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Chris Cormack

    The point of writing an enigmatic headline is to get people to read the rest of the article. In this instance, it clearly did not work.

    Comment by Chris Cormack — Wednesday, Feb 24, 2016 @ 13:54

  2. Nick Weekes

    Can you please explain what is meant by the title “Music? Judge for yourself” This is hardly a John Cage concert.

    Comment by Nick Weekes — Wednesday, Feb 24, 2016 @ 08:29

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