The Full Score
Eric Lu takes The Leeds; Radio 3 heads to the zoo
Eric Lu has been named as the winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition 2018. In the final at Leeds Town Hall, the 20 year-old from Boston, US, wowed the judges and audience with a confident and vivacious performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, performed with the Hallé orchestra under Edward Gardner.
One of five pianists to reach the twoday final out of an initial field of 24, Lu’s success at The Leeds brings rich rewards. Included in his prize was the invitation to play the Beethoven at the opening concert of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s season, just five days a er the competition final, plus an album release on Warner Classics, career management from a leading agency, further concert engagements and performance and recording opportunities on BBC Radio 3. The second- and third-placed pianists, Mario Häring from Germany and Xinyuan Wang from China respectively, were awarded prizes that included recital engagements at Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool and London’s Wigmore Hall. All three also received a major cash award.
Founded by Marion Stein, Fanny Waterman and Roslyn Lyons in 1963, the Leeds International Piano Competition takes place every three years. Its history boasts a distinguished list of former winners, including Radu Lupu, Murray Perahia, Artur Pizrro and Federico Colli (see p24), while many of its losing finalists – not least András Schi , Mitsuko Uchida and Kathryn Stott – have also gone on to become household names. This year’s event, the first under the joint direction of pianist Paul Lewis and conductor and former Radio 3 editor Adam Gatehouse, saw some notable changes, not least the introduction of outreach activities in venues across the competition’s host city.
The importance of o ering continued assistance has also been made a priority, with Murray Perahia among those who will act as a mentor. ‘Many of the world’s greatest pianists have started out at The Leeds and I’m certain all the 2018 finalists have bright futures,’ says Lewis. ‘We look forward to supporting what we believe will be successful and fulfilling careers.’
Winning bow: Eric Lu is applauded by conductor Edward Gardner