The Leeds International Piano Competition is notching up an impressive roster of ambassadors. In June it was announced that Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi had been named the competition’s honorary ambassador and that the top prize would duly be known as the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Gold Medal in recognition of her ‘inspiration, courage, and appreciation of piano music’. This month comes the news that superstar Chinese pianist Lang Lang has been named global ambassador and will visit the competition on Sunday September 9.
The role of global ambassador recognises the ‘tremendous contribution that Lang Lang has made to classical music and the piano throughout the world since he rose to fame in 1994,’ according to the Leeds Competition.
‘In his chosen repertoire he is absolutely exemplary. Lang Lang has a pair of hands every pianist would envy,’ said Leeds Competition chairman and artistic director Dame Fanny Waterman. ‘He has watched the Leeds International Piano Competition since he was a boy and has been inspired by Leeds prize winners Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia. He has a star quality that no teacher can teach – he makes people listen.’
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 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.