European Foundation for Support of Culture’s president Konstantin Ishkhanov is to announce the Malta International Piano Competition 2021 in Valletta and Floriana. 

This event represents the final stage of the Classic Piano project, which consisted of 14 preliminary competitions organised by the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC) in eight cities around the world in 2019, and in a further six locations in 2020. Due to the Pandemic, the Korean Piano Open and the Swiss International Piano Competition were postponed to January 2021. The Maltese capital will host a total of 70 participants under the age of 35, who will be made up of the five best musicians chosen from each of the previous 14 competitions. The participants will compete in four different rounds, with a total prize fund of €300,000 awaiting the most accomplished of them. All the 70 attendees will participate for free and will even be provided with accommodation courtesy of the European Foundation for Support of Culture.

The first edition of ‘Classic Piano’ International Piano Competition was run by the EUFSC and took place in 2017-2018. Originally, there were only eleven countries included, but the organisation succeeded in expanding the number to 14, which is where the name, ‘14 Ways to Malta’ originated from. These are the current participating countries and their respective competitions, listed in alphabetical order: Armenia (Third edition of Armenia International Music Festival and Competition 2019, in Yerevan), Austria (Second edition of Classic on Danube International Music Festival and Piano Competition 2019, in Vienna), Belgium (First edition of AntwerPiano International Competition 2020, in Antwerpen), China (Twelfth Shanghai International Piano Competition for Young Artists 2019), Germany (Sixth edition of the ClaviCologne International Piano Festival and Competition 2019 in Hamburg and Fourth Edition of the "Berliner Festwoche" International Music Festival in Berlin 2020), Israel (Second edition of Wandering Music Stars Festival and Saxophone-Clarinet Competition 2020, in Tel-Aviv), Italy (Second edition of In Musica Roma International Festival and Piano Competition 2020, in Rome), Japan (Second edition of the Japan Piano Open International Competition 2019, in Tokyo), Russia (Second edition of Moscow Piano Open International Piano Competition 2019, in Moscow), South Korea (First edition of the Korean Piano Open 2021, in Seoul), Switzerland (Swiss International Piano Festival and Competition, online), United Kingdom (First edition of the UK Piano Open 2020, in London), United States of America (First edition of the American International Piano Festival and Competition 2019, in Washington).

The unique format of this event allows audiences to experience the top-ranked pianists of the previous fourteen competitions in performance. The four rounds of this final stage are set in a highly competitive environment. In the first two parts, the pianists play as soloists while the two final rounds will see them playing alongside the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra (ASSO), under the baton of the Italian conductor Gianluca Marcianò. Additionally, the third round shall also see the competitors performing composer-in-residence Alexey Shor’s Travel Notebook Piano Concerto. 

The ASSO itself has a short but remarkable history, with the most notable chapter in recent years being the 2020 European Tour with the acclaimed violin virtuoso and the ASSO artist-in-residence Maxim Vengerov, who is also one of the most illustrious protagonists of the InClassica Malta International Music Festival and the Malta Classical Music Academy, both of which are also organised by the European Foundation for Support of Culture. 

The first round will take place from April 20-23, the second from April 25-29, the third from May 1-6, and the fourth from May 8-9, with the award celebration happening on May 10. The best pianist at the competition shall walk away with a €100,000 prize, along with the opportunity to embark on a tour of twenty concerts in twenty locations around the world, with a €5,000 remuneration per concert. All the participants who rank from second to eighth will also be rewarded, with the second prize being €50,000; the third prize €25,000; the fourth prize €7,000; the fifth prize €6,000; the sixth prize €5,000; the seventh prize €4,000, and the eighth prize €3,000. 

Moreover, the 70 participants shall also have the privilege of being judged by the world-renowned professors Constantine Orbelian (Chairman of the Competition), Dmitri Alexeev, Michel Beroff, Peter Donohoe, Pavel Gililov, Hae-Young Kim, Tomer Lev, Giuliano Mazzoccante, Georgs Pelecis, Stepan Simonian, Zhe Tang, Aerie Vardi and Jan Jiracek Von Arnim.

The competition’s four rounds shall be taking place in two different locations, with the first two being hosted at the Aula Magna Hall in Valletta while the second and third will take place at the Catholic Institute in Floriana. The Magna Hall was originally a Jesuit residence and is endowed with impressive ceiling and wall decorations. It is a perfect location for events of this calibre. The Catholic Institute, meanwhile, was built as a monument to honour the victims of World War II, and represents a primary location to foster Christian culture and education in Malta. In the latter, productions, concerts, courses, seminars and general cultural events are held regularly.

“I am very proud and delighted to be supporting this young generation of artists, especially in the face of all the difficulties that have been brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. I am very happy to welcome all the participants of the Malta International Piano Competition to this wonderful country. They have already given us a taste of their abilities and I now wish them all the best for this final stage,” said Konstantin Ishkhanov, president of the European Foundation for Support of Culture.

To find out more information about the 2021 Malta International Competition please visit the official Classic Piano website.  

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