Sheepdrove Piano Competition Winner 2022

Home / Festival News / Sheepdrove Piano Competition Winner 2022
Thomas Kelly
Thomas Kelly
2022 Winner


After a weekend of closed and open heats at Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre on the afternoon of Sunday 15th May, Thomas Kelly of London’s Royal College of Music was awarded the Kindersley Prize as winner of the 2022 Sheepdrove Piano Competition.

Thomas was also awarded the Audience Prize, voted for by a capacity audience attending the competition final as part of Newbury Spring Festival.

Thomas Kelly will give a lunchtime recital on Monday 16th May in Newbury Corn Exchange, as part of the Festival’s Young Artists Recital Series.

The competition which this year had an emphasis on the works of Bach.

was judged by a distinguished panel:

Rupert Christiansen

Mikhail Kazakevich,

Dinara Klinton,

David Whelton CBE,

Mark Eynon. 

Additional prizes were awarded to Eden Agranat Meged, Milda Daunoraite and Lasha Kvaratskhelia.

The Sheepdrove Piano Competition, now in its 13th year, is an important part of the Newbury Spring Festival and is held at the Sheepdrove Eco Centre, Lambourn.  The competition is open to piano students from all the major UK conservatories and was founded in 2009 by the Sheepdrove Trust in association with Newbury Spring Festival.

Mark Eynon, Festival Director said

“The Sheepdrove Piano Competition is central to the Newbury Spring Festival’s commitment to support and launch a new generation of young artists.  This year’s finalists are all extremely talented and it was the first time the first prize was awarded to a British pianist. Thomas Kelly is destined for a major international career.”


Thomas Kelly was born in November 1998. He started playing the piano aged 3, and in 2006 became Kent Junior Pianist of the Year and attained ABRSM Grade 8 with Distinction. Aged 9, Thomas performed Mozart Concerto No. 24 in the Marlowe Theatre with the Kent Concert Orchestra. After moving to Cheshire, he regularly played in festivals, winning prizes including in the Birmingham Music Festival, 3rd prize in Young Pianist of The North 2012, and 1st prize in WACIDOM 2014. Between 2015 and 2021, Thomas studied with Andrew Ball, firstly at the Purcell School of Music and then at the Royal College of Music. Thomas has also gained inspiration from lessons and masterclasses with musicians such as Vanessa Latarche, William Fong, Ian Jones, Tatiana Sarkissova, Valentina Berman, Boris Berman, Paul Lewis, Mikhail Voskresensky and Dina Yoffe. Thomas began studying with Dmitri Alexeev in April 2021, with whom he will continue whilst studying Masters at the RCM.

Thomas has won 1st prizes including Pianale International Piano Competition 2017, Kharkiv Assemblies 2018, at Lucca Virtuoso e Bel Canto festival 2018, RCM Joan Chissell Schumann competition 2019, Kendall Taylor Beethoven competition 2019, BPSE Intercollegiate Beethoven competition 2019 and the 4th Theodor Leschetizky competition 2020. In 2021 Thomas was a finalist in the Leeds International Piano Competition. Most recently, he was awarded 2nd prize and special prize for best semi-final performance at Hastings International Concerto Competition 2022. 

He has performed in a variety of venues, including the Wigmore Hall, the Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Steinway Hall London, Holy Trinity Sloane Square, St James’ Piccadilly, Oxford Town Hall, St Mary’s Perivale, St Paul’s Bedford, the embassies of Russia and Brazil in London, the Poole Lighthouse Arts Centre, the Stoller Hall, Leeds Town Hall, at the North Norfolk Music Festival, Paris Conservatoire, the StreingreaberHaus in Bayreuth and separately at the Teatro Del Sale and the British Institute in Florence.

Thomas is supported by the Kendall-Taylor award. He has been generously supported by the Keyboard Charitable Trust since 2020, and Talent Unlimited since 2021