Next month’s Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, which starts at the White Rock Theatre on Thursday February 22 and runs until Saturday March 3, is a tremendously exciting and important event. But it’s also complex and costly. And it could not happen without the support of the people of Hastings.

The competition relies on volunteers for a wide range of tasks, such as making sure contestants are in the right place at the right time and driving them to practice pianos all over the town. It’s hard work but all the volunteers will tell you it’s also great fun.

The competition is also committed to providing free accommodation for all the young pianists coming to play live in Hastings. This is provided by volunteer host families from all around the area.

“We have a tremendous group of volunteers, without whom we simply couldn’t operate,” says Helen Winning, the recently appointed Chief Executive of the Competition and the Hastings Music Festival. “But we are always looking to involve more people. If you think you might be able to help, please get in touch. “

Anyone interested should email [email protected]

Volunteers are also vital in putting on the Music in the Meadow event, when for three days – from Thursday February 15 to Saturday February 17 – local pianists of all ages and levels of skill get the chance to play a concert-standard grand piano in the Priory Meadow shopping centre. “This is a wonderful way of drawing attention not only to the Competition, but to the many talented amateur pianists in the town who are entering the Hastings Musical Festival which takes place after the Competition” says Helen.

Like all major musical events the Competition needs financial resources to make it happen. By joining the new Friends and Patrons scheme local people can provide support at a level to suit their pocket. Benefits range from priority booking and an annual Friends party to private recitals and dinner with the Artistic Director for those on the highest tier of membership.

“Our Friends and Patrons are essential if we are going to go on bringing the world’s finest young concert pianists to Hastings and ensure that this exciting competition continues to go from strength to strength,” says Helen Winning.

Local businesses can also get involved as sponsors of an event which brings real tangible benefits to Hastings. Just contact [email protected]

The other great source of support for the Concerto Competition is the audience. This year’s competition, which promises a higher standard than ever before, starts in just three weeks time. More than 40 brilliant young pianists will be playing live on the stage of the White Rock Theatre. This is an opportunity to hear world class young musicians and spot the ones who will go on to become famous.

All stages of the competition take place at the White Rock Theatre and are open to the public. Tickets are available for individual sessions or for a whole day. Stage 1 will take place from Thursday 22nd to Saturday 24th February. Up to 24 contestants will compete in Stage 2, on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th February, and 12 will then contest the Semi-Final on Wednesday 28th.

The grand final will then take place on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd March when each of the six finalists will play one of their chosen concertos with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the greatest orchestra in the world. This is classical music at its finest – and it’s taking place here in Hastings.

For all the details, go to www.hipcc.co.uk.


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