Federico Colli has won the 2012 Leeds International Piano Competition in the competition’s 50th anniversary year. Twenty-four-year-old Colli, from Italy, stunned the panel with his performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto with the Hallé Orchestra, conducted by Mark Elder, at Leeds Town Hall over the weekend. In previous rounds Colli, who studied at the Giuseppe Verde Conservatory in Milan and the International Piano Academy in Imola, Northern Italy, had performed repertoire including Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata, Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. In addition to his £18,000 cash prize, Colli was awarded the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Gold Medal and the Champs Hill Records Award, enabling Colli to record his debut solo CD.
Speaking of his victory in the competition, Colli said, ‘I am absolutely overjoyed at being the First Prize-winner,’ adding that ‘it has always been my dream to win the Leeds International Piano Competition’. Dame Fanny Waterman, chairman and artistic director of the competition that she founded in 1961, said that ‘the standard of this year’s competition was exceptionally high’.
In addition to the six prizes awarded to the top performers of the competition, members of the Hallé and its music director Mark Elder awarded ‘The Terence Judd – Hallé Orchestra Prize’ to pianist Andrew Tyson. This new prize was created in memory of a past pupil of Dame Fanny Waterman, and Tyson receives £5000 in addition to three professional engagements with the Hallé and the possibility of a recording on the Hallé label.
Although the next competition takes place in 2015, a six-part BBC Four documentary about the event starts on Friday September 21 at 7.30pm, featuring Dame Fanny Waterman and Lang Lang, the competition’s new global ambassador, and presented by Suzy Klein.