Now known as the Tunbridge Wells International Music Competition at Mayfield Festival, the competition, which started in 1979, is recognised around the world as a unique event for outstanding musicians as they embark upon a professional career.
The Competition is being hosted by Mayfield School and will form part of the Mayfield Festival.
Audiences will have the opportunity to hear talented and aspiring instrumentalists perform in front of world-class judges. All competitors are aged between 16 and 27 and there are three sections: piano, strings and wind.
The Competition has played an important role in the careers of many internationally celebrated musicians. Past winners include piano virtuoso Paul Lewis; opera stars Anne Sofie von Otter and Patricia Rozario; great Spanish clarinetist Joan Enric Lluna; Russian pianist Yuri Didenko; and flautist Michael Cox, currently principal flute of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
This year’s judges are Christopher Elton and Cristina Ortiz (piano); Philippe Graffin and Raphael Wallfisch (strings), and William Bennett and Andrew Marriner (wind).
The first round of the Competition has been extended by a day because of an increased number of competitors. It will now take place on Wednesday 27th April to Friday 29th April. There are three venues running simultaneously: Mayfield School Concert Hall (piano), Mayfield School Chapel (strings) and Mayfield School Gresham Hall (wind). Each competitor plays for 25 minutes and members of the audience will be free to move between the venues. There will be morning, afternoon and evening sessions and the exact times will be published when purchasing tickets.
The semi-finals will take place on Saturday 30th April with 30 musicians competing, playing a different repertoire. As with the first round, they will perform in the same venues during the day.
The nine finalists – three from each section – will perform in the School Concert Hall (again a different repertoire) commencing at 3.00pm on Sunday 1st May. At the end of the performances at around 6.30pm the judges will deliberate and announce the winner of each section and the Competition’s overall winner. See daily schedule in detail. The winner’s first engagement will be to start Vexations Revisited! See page 22 for details.
Tickets for the first round cost just £10. This covers the two days at all three venues. Tickets for the semi-finals are £15, and for the finals – £20. A competition 4 day ticket covering all three stages of the competition costs £35. Students in full-time education may apply for free tickets for the first round and semi-finals of the Competition.
For the hardy concert goer with stamina there will be over 37 hours of music from which to choose nearly 16 hours of playing time during the competition with the chance of hearing some of tomorrow’s great stars!
The entry closing date for competitors is 12th January.
The Competition is grateful for the support given by the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.