The Full Score

Eric Lu takes The Leeds; Ra­dio 3 heads to the zoo

BBC Music Magazine - - Contents -

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

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