Sheepdrove Piano Competition

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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 Rachmaninov.

The judges for 2024 will be:

David Whelton
Former Managing Director, Philharmonia Orchestra

Dinara Klinton
Ukrainian Pianist and winner of the 2013 Sheepdrove Piano Competition

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

Rupert Christiansen
Music critic and writer, and Director, Robert Turnbull Piano Foundation

Mark Eynon
Director, Newbury Spring Festival

Previous Winners

Emanuil Ivanov


Thomas Kelly


Thomas Kelly

Thomas Kelly2022 Winner

Nikita Lukinov

2021 (joint)

Charles Tam

2021 (joint)

Alexa Stier


Roman Kosyakov


Anna Geniushene


Daniel Ciobanu


Robertas Lozinskis


Qaojing Dai


Dinara Klinton


Oxana Shevchenko


Florian Mitrea


Ji Liu