Aung San Suu Kyi has become the honorary ambassador for the Leeds International Piano Competition, which celebrates its golden anniversary this year. The top prize will be named the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Gold Medal in recognition of her ‘inspiration, courage, and appreciation of piano music’.
Suu Kyi arrived in Britain earlier this month in an historic visit, returning to the country after 24 years in Burma. During periods of arrest in her own country, the pro-democracy leader exercised and studied, as well as playing Bach on the piano for relaxation.
Prime minister David Cameron stated, ‘The Leeds International Piano Competition is one of the great classical music competitions in the world. It’s a tremendous advert for Leeds and for Britain as a whole. Aung San Suu Kyi’s appreciation of piano playing is well known. So it is fantastic that the competition has made this tribute to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. And it is a fitting way to end her brilliant and historic visit to Britain.’
Held every three years, the Leeds Piano Competition has launched the careers of some of the world’s most recognised pianists, with prize winners from 28 different countries to date. Among them are Murray Perahia, András Schiff, Mitsuko Uchida and Artur Pizarro. This year’s 17th Competition takes place from August 29 to September 16. Six finalists will perform with the Hallé conducted by Sir Mark Elder at Leeds Town Hall to compete for the £18,000 prize.
Chairman and artistic director of the competition, Dame Fanny Waterman said that, ‘in this special golden anniversary year this is the greatest honour our piano competition has ever received.’