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Chairman and Artistic Director: Dr Fanny Waterman CBE FRCM

Co-Founders: Fanny Waterman, Marion Thorpe and Geoffrey De Keyser.

14 competitions staged triennially since 1963.

Entry qualifications: Open to young professional pianists under the age of 30.

1963 competition budget: 8500, 105 entries from 30 countries. The winner received 1000 and just 3 engagements.

2003 competition budget: 550,000, 230 entries from 48 countries. Since the first competition there have been nearly 3000 applicants and over 1250 pianists have actually taken part in 14 competitions. Prizes total over 50,000 plus over 100 recital and concerto engagements in the UK, Europe, North America and the Far East enough to fill the winner's diary for 2 years!

The audience prize a bursary of 2000 and a BBC Radio 3 recital engagement is awarded to the recipient of the most votes from the audience in the Town Hall and members of the television and radio audience voting by telephone.

Funding: Main sponsor of the 2000 and 2003 competition: Halifax PLC, City of Leeds, University of Leeds, Friends of Leeds International Pianoforte competition, Edward Boyle Memorial Trust and other generous donors.

Venues: Great Hall, University of Leeds for Stages 1 &2 and semi final recitals, Leeds Town Hall: Finals

Competitors Residence: Tetley Hall, University of Leeds.

'The Leeds' and the Tchaikovsky International in Moscow are generally acknowledged as the world's most prestigious competitions.

A woman has yet to win the Leeds. Three reached the finals of the 2003 competition but failed to beat the eventual winner and, incidentally, the audience favourite 24-year-old Finnish pianist, Antti Siirala.

Some 2003 Statistics
The competition brochure is printed and published in 9 languages. Originally, more than 230 pianists from 48 countries applied for entry to this year's competition. Selection procedures whittled this down to 72 who arrived in Leeds for stage 1 of the competition. There were 123 separate performances over the 17 days of the competition. Contestants put in more than 1300 hours of practise sessions, many of them on the 24 pianos sent to Leeds by Steinway & Sons and installed in private homes. The pianos were donated by Steinway and will feature in a special sale at Wetherby Racecourse in October 2003.

Television and Radio The BBC have regarded the Leeds as one of the highlights of their portfolio of musical coverage on both radio and television ever since the 1966 competition. In 2003 semi-final recitals were recorded for later transmission and the finals broadcast as a deferred relay on the new digital channel BBC4 as well as live on Radio 3.

Statistics of the BBC's 2003 Coverage of the Leeds.9 Cameras deployed in Leeds Town Hall
Over 1km of camera cables. Enough electricity to power 6 houses for the outside broadcast trucks. Microwave and Fibre Optic Cable links to send live pictures to London.
2003 Radio Coverage Required: 60 microphones on 2km of cable, 200 metres of yachting rope for slung microphones in Leeds Town Hall, 4 Sound Mixing Consoles, 3 Editing Computers

Quotes:
'All roads lead to Leeds and all roads lead from Leeds' (Fanny Waterman, Sept 2003)

'The winners are yourselves and the world, to which you will give so much pleasure with your music in the future'. (Arts Minister Estelle Morris addressing competitors at the prize giving ceremony, Sept 20th 2003)

'If I was to associate just one word with Fanny Waterman, that word would be excellence'.

(and addressing the competitors)
'You will never play to a more knowledgeable audience, a more intelligent audience, or a more generous audience'. (Dame Janet Baker, patron of The Leeds, at the prize giving ceremony in Leeds Town Hall, Sept 20th 2003).

Click images to enlarge
Fanny Waterman
Fanny Waterman
Lady Harewood presenting the Gold Medal to Rafael Orozco in 1966
Lady Harewood presenting the Gold Medal to Rafael Orozco in 1966
Great Hall, Leeds University
Great Hall, Leeds University
Edward Boyle, Lord Boyle of Handsworth
Edward Boyle, Lord Boyle of Handsworth
Dmitri Alexeev, 1975 with Marion Thorpe and Fanny Waterman
Dmitri Alexeev, 1975 with Marion Thorpe and Fanny Waterman
Ricardo Castro, 1st prize winner, with Sir Simon Rattle in 1993
Ricardo Castro, 1st prize winner, with Sir Simon Rattle in 1993
Fanny Waterman with Mark Elder
Fanny Waterman with Mark Elder
Dame Janet Baker
Dame Janet Baker




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© 2003 Leeds City Council | Site created by: LCC electronic information team | 25 March 2003