Sheepdrove Piano Competition

Home / About Us / Sheepdrove Piano Competition

The Sheepdrove Piano Competition is now firmly established as one of the important piano competitions in the UK.

Established by the Sheepdrove Trust in 2009, the competition is open to candidates aged 26 and under from the eight major UK music colleges. Heads of department are invited to submit suitable candidates for the competition.

The competition is remarkable in many ways, one of which is the fact that there is no cost to entrants, with the Sheepdrove Trust covering all candidates’ travel, subsistence and accommodation expenses for the weekend competition.

The students are invited to the Sheepdrove Eco Centre for the competition weekend in the rolling Lambourn hills. The first rounds are judged in private during Saturday. The shortlisted finalists are then invited to stay overnight, and decide on a final recital programme in consultation with the judges.

On the second day of the competition the four finalists perform in the public final, which is encompassed within the Newbury Spring Festival. Five prizes are awarded at the end of the public final, including an audience prize.

The overall winner stays overnight again, and is invited to give a public recital on the following day as part of the Festival’s Young Artists Lunchtime Recital Series at the Corn Exchange, Newbury, for which they receive an additional fee.

This year’s competition has an emphasis on Beethoven in his 250th Anniversary Year.

The judges for 2021 will be:

David Whelton
Former Managing Director, Philharmonia Orchestra

Paul Lewis
Internationally regarded as one of the leading musicians of his generation and expert on Beethoven. 

Mikhail Kazakevich
Russian pianist and Professor of Piano, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance

Gordon Fergus-Thompson
British pianist and professor of Piano, Royal College of Music, London

Mark Eynon
Director, Newbury Spring Festival

Previous Winners