Sheepdrove Piano Competition Winner 2023

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Newbury Spring Festival announces EMANUIL IVANOV as the winner of the 2023 Sheepdrove Piano Competition


Held annually as part of Newbury Spring Festival, the Kindersley Prize at Sheepdrove Piano Competition has been won by Emanuil Ivanov who is currently a student at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.


Emanuil Ivanov attracted international attention after receiving the First prize at the 2019 Ferruccio Busoni Piano Competition in Italy. This achievement was followed by concert engagements in some of the world’s most prestigious halls including Teatro alla Scala in Milan and Herculessaal in Munich. Emanuil Ivanov was born in 1998 in the town of Pazardzhik, Bulgaria. From an early age he demonstrated a keen interest and love for music. He regards the presence of symphonic music, especially that of Gustav Mahler, as tremendously influential in his musical upbringing during his childhood. He started piano lessons with Galina Daskalova in his hometown around the age of seven. He later studied in and graduated from the Bertolt Brecht language high school in Pazardzhik. Ivanov studied with renowned bulgarian pianist Atanas Kurtev from 2013 to 2018. He is currently studying on a full scholarship at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire under the tutelage of Pascal Nemirovski and Anthony Hewitt. In February 2021, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ivanov performed a solo recital in Milan’s famous Teatro alla Scala. The concert was live-streamed online and is a major highlight in the artist’s career. In 2022 received the honorary Silver medal of the Musicians’ Company, London and later in the same year became a recipient of the prestigious Carnwath Piano Scholarship. Emanuil Ivanov has given critically acclaimed performances and tours in Japan, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Cyprus, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Poland and has played with leading orchestras in Bulgaria and Italy. In the summer of 2023, he is scheduled to record an album of Scarlatti sonatas for the renowned Naxos label, set to be issued at the end of the same year.


The competition, which is open to current students at the UK’s eight major music colleges, does not charge an entry fee to participants and this year celebrated Rachmaninov’s 150th anniversary. After a private first round with just the panel in attendance, the final happened before an audience on Sunday 14 May in the beautiful setting of Sheepdrove Eco Centre, in the rolling Lambourn hills.


This year’s judges were: David Whelton (Former Managing Director, Philharmonia Orchestra), Lucy Parham, (British pianist and professor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama),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) and Mark Eynon (Director, Newbury Spring Festival).




All the prizes

Alongside the £3000 prize money from the Kindersley Prize, Emanuil Ivanov will give a recital at 12.30pm on Monday 15th May at Newbury Corn Exchange, part of Newbury Spring Festival’s popular Young Artist Recital series.


The second prize, of £1500 (donated by the Greenham Trust), was won by Yuxuan Zhao a student at Royal Northern College of Music.


The third prize, of £750 (donated by the Friends of Newbury Spring Festival), was won by Kasparas Mikuzis, a student at Royal Academy of Music.


The fourth prize, of £500 (donated an anonymous donor), was won by Mikhail Kaploukhii a student at Royal College of Music.


The audience prize, of £250 (donated by an anonymous donor), was won by Emanuil Ivanov.






Mark Eynon, Festival Director, comments:

“Once again the Sheepdrove Piano Competition has showcased the extraordinary talent from the British conservatoires, it has been a privilege to welcome them all to the Festival and this year’s winner Emanuil Ivanov is destined for a great career.

I am incredibly grateful to the Sheepdrove Trust for their generous support of the competition, now in its 14th year.”


Sheepdrove Piano Competition Winner Recital

Emanuil Ivanov

Corn Exchange, Newbury

Monday 15 May, 12.30pm


Rameau Two pieces from Suite in G

L’enharmonique, Les Sauvages


Beethoven Sonata no.21, op.53 in C major “Waldstein”


Busoni Kammer-Fantasie über Carmen (Sonatina no.6), BV 284


Rachmaninoff Etudes-Tableaux op.39

No.2 in A minor

No.3 in F-sharp minor

No.6 in A minor

No.8 in D minor

No.9 in D major

Notes to editors


Newbury Spring Festival

Founded in 1979, Newbury Spring Festival is a glorious fortnight of world class music in Newbury and its beautiful neighbouring villages, with up to 45 events in 18 venues, and where international symphony orchestras, ensembles and soloists rub shoulders with jazz legends, world music artists and the stars of tomorrow. It aims to bring excellent, new and innovative work from around the world to a variety of local venues adding to the economic and cultural wellbeing of the area, and to continue to create opportunities for young people, existing and new audiences to enjoy the arts.


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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. Students are invited to the Sheepdrove Eco Centre for the competition weekend in the rolling Lambourn hills. The first rounds are judged privately 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.


Previous winners have included Roman Kosyakov, Thomas Kelly, Nikita Lukinov, Charles Tam and Dinara Klinton.


For further information please contact:

Milly March, Marketing Manager, [email protected]