Friends President and Artistic Director are among those choosing the 2016 Competition running order.

Former parliamentary Speaker Bronwyn Bishop was on hand to assist Piers Lane draw the running order for the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia this week. The Federal Member for Mackellar, who also happens to be the President and one of the founding members of the Friends of the Competition, was a keynote speaker at the event held at the Scots College in Sydney’s Bellevue Hill.

Piers Lane with Neville Grace and Marcus Barker

Bishop joined the Competition’s Artistic Director Piers Lane, Chairman Neville Grace and Classic FM presenter Damian Beaumont in expressing their excitement at some of the innovations introduced for what will be the 11th outing for the competition and the first under Lane’s artistic guidance. Apart from a starry list of jurors, which includes names such as Nikolai Demidenko, Carl Vine, Hamish Milne and Orli Shaham, the competition’s new Artistic Patron, Valery Gergiev is offering the winners an opportunity to perform in St. Petersburg in the Mariinsky International Piano Festival and in other major cities of Russia and Europe.

The draw, which took place out of a top hat rustled up for the purpose by General Manager Marcus Barker, assigned groups of eight competitors to each of four piano brands, also drawn from the hat. American pianist Larry Weng was duly assigned the honour of kicking off proceedings on a Yamaha piano. In a simulation of real life, where pianists are frequently confronted by unfamiliar instruments, competitors will rotate brands as the competition progresses, before being given their choice of brands in the closing stages.

Damian Beaumont, Bronwyn Bishop, Piers Lane and Dr Ian Lambert

Among the internal complexities of running an international competition, Lane spoke with conflicted feelings about the fates of the two competitors who have already made the finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium. Should either Larry Weng or Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček win in Brussels, it would be possible that they withdraw ahead of Sydney in July. Of course, it’s a game of swings and roundabouts. The Cleveland International Piano Competition, which follows immediately on from the Australian dates, has chosen five pianists due to compete in Sydney – Leonardo Colafelice, Andrey Gugnin, Emanuel Rimoldi, Oxana Shevchenko and Lukáš Vondráček. If any of those musicians emerge triumphant here, that could cause a headache in the USA.

2016 Sydney International Piano Competition Competitor Draw

Yamaha Group
1   Larry Weng (USA)
2   Ilya Rashkovskiy (Russia)
3   Kenneth Broberg (USA)
4   Alyosha Jurinić (Croatia)
5   David Jae-Weon Huh (Korea)
6   Leonardo Colafelice (Italy)
7   Gyu Tae Ha (Korea)
8   Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev  (Russia)

Fazioli Group
9   Rachel Naomi Kudo (USA/Japan)
10 Sergey Belyavskiy (Russia)
11  Daniel Lebhardt (Hungary)
12  Ming Xie/JiYang Chen (China)
13  Martin Malmgren (Sweden)
14  Ayesha Gough (Australia)
15  Philipp Scheucher (Austria)
16  Roman Lopatynskyi (Ukraine)

Kawai Group
17  Andrey Gugnin (Russia)
18  Jeremy So (Australia)
19  Alexei Melnikov (Russia)
20  Lukas Vondracek (Czech Republic)
21  Woo-Gil Park (Korea)
22  Lindsay Garritson (USA)
23  Daniel Le (Australia)
24  Oxana Shevchenko (Kazakhstan)

Steinway Group
25  Emanuel Rimoldi (Italy)
26  Yinfei Wang (China)
27  Yui Fukushi (Japan)
28  Quang Hong Luu (Vietnam)
29  Moye Chen (China)
30  Jianing Kong (China)
31  Fantee Jones (USA)
32  Tony Lee (Australia)

Tickets for the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition are now on sale