Sheepdrove Piano Competition
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:
Former Managing Director, Philharmonia Orchestra
Ukrainian Pianist and winner of the 2013 Sheepdrove Piano Competition
Russian pianist and Professor of Piano, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance
Music critic and writer, and Director, Robert Turnbull Piano Foundation
Director, Newbury Spring Festival