32 Virtuosos. 1 Passion.
Next Competition July 2020

2016 Rules and regulations

Rules and regulations governing the 2016 Competition

← Return to 2016 Competition


  1. The Competition is open to pianist of all nationalities born between 24 July 1983 and 6 July 1998.
  2. Admission will be limited to a maximum of thirty two (32) Competitors.
  3. Six reserve Competitors will be chosen.
  4. A selection committee, including Artistic Director Piers Lane AO will be responsible for the choice of competitors from the applications received.


  1. Artistic Director Piers Lane AO will be the non-voting Chairman of the Jury.
  2. An international voting jury of nine will be assembled.
  3. Members of the jury will be publically announced at an event on 11 October 2015 and published on the website.


  1. Applications open 1 September 2015.
  2. Applications close 1 December 2015 at 11.59pm AEDT.
  3. A non-refundable application fee of AU$200 is payable.
  4. Applications must be made online at www.sydneypianocompetition.com.au.
  5. Applications will be checked by the Competition Office and formal notice of acceptance or rejection of the application will be sent via email by 1 March 2016.
  6. Reserve competitors will be notified no later than 1 May 2016.
  7. The application fee must be paid via Bank Transfer or online through the secure payment gateway and must be exclusive of any bank fees or charges.
  8. Once applications are submitted NO changes to repertoire can be made.
  9. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  10. The Competition Office reserves the right to request additional information as required.
  11. All supporting documents must be uploaded and submitted at the time of final application.
  12. Supporting documents will be used to promote the Competition and the selected 32 competitors in printed and electronic forms.
  13. The applicant grants to the Sydney International Piano Competition the right to use any and all submitted documents free of any rights, fees or charges.


  1. Late applications will be accepted up to 20 December 2015 at 11.59pm AEDT.
  2. A non-refundable late application fee of AU$275 is payable.
  3. No late applications via post will be considered.
  4. All Online Applications rules iv – xiii will apply to late applications.


  1. Applicants must make contact with the Competition Office prior to posting their application.
  2. Applications must be post marked no later than 1 December 2015 and be received by the Competition Office by 15 December 2015.
  3. Applications should be sent via registered post to:

    General Manager
    Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia
    P.O. Box R104
    Royal Exchange
    NSW 1225
  4. Application Fee must be paid online or by Bank Transfer. Cheques will not be accepted.


  1. All documents must be submitted online at the time of application.
  2. Audition video(s) that meets the criteria listed below.
  3. Brief biography of no less than 100 words and no more than 150 words.
  4. Copy of current passport clearly showing all personal details.
  5. Current professional photographs. Must be 300dpi resolution. Black & white and colour versions are required.
  6. Documentation of musical studies.
  7. At least one signed reference from an institution and/or teacher recommending the applicant to compete in the Sydney International Piano Competition 2016. Reference(s) must include an email address and phone number to verify the reference if required.
  8. Documentation of musical activity in the last five years. This may include participation in international piano competitions, awards, concert appearances, programs and reviews, upcoming engagements and any commercial recordings.


  1. The recording may be a single, unedited recording of the applicant or the application may be made up of separate recordings. In all cases, total time of all recordings submitted must not be less than 20 minutes or more than 35 minutes, and must show the face and hands of the applicant at all times.
  2. Must contain Own Choice solo piano works by at least three composers.
  3. Repertoire performed on the video(s) may be repeated by accepted competitors in the Preliminaries or Semi-finals.
  4. Must be made within 12 months of the submission of the application.
  5. The recordings must be of excellent technical quality and preferably recorded professionally.
  6. Post production affecting the sound quality is permitted, but must be stated.
  7. The applicant's face and hands must be clearly visible throughout the recording.
  8. Only solo piano works will be accepted.
  9. The recordings must be clearly and visibly labelled showing the applicant's full name and the details of where and when it was made.
  10. Recordings must be provided as embedded links to Vimeo and/or Youtube.


  1. All Rounds will be open to the general public, except for the preselection process.
  2. The Preliminaries will consist of two Rounds:
      The repertoire is Own Choice and should contain pieces by at least two composers.
      The repertoire is Own Choice and should contain pieces by at least two composers.
  3. Round 2 should contain different composers from Round 1. An Australian piece, of any length or period, must be included in either Round 1 or Round 2.
  4. Twelve competitors will be selected to advance to the Semi-finals.
  5. The Semi-finals will consist of two Rounds:
      The repertoire is Own Choice and should consist of two or more pieces. The recital should not be shorter than 60 minutes in length, but must not exceed 65 minutes. A short encore may be included if you feel it is appropriate, but the overall timing of the recital must still be 65 minutes or under. Any encores should be announced from the stage and need not be listed in your application.
      Competitors are required to prepare a Sonata for Violin and Piano from the prescribed list AND ALSO a Piano Quintet from the prescribed list. When the semi-finalists are announced, they will be advised whether they will perform the Violin Sonata with Tasmin Little OR the Piano Quintet with the Goldner String Quartet.
    • Six competitors will be chosen to advance to the Finals.
  6. The Finals will consist of two Rounds:
      The concerto must be chosen from the prescribed list and will be performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under Benjamin Northey in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.
      The concerto must be chosen from the prescribed list and will be performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under Nicholas Milton in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.
  7. The order of Competitors will be drawn at an event in early June and Competitors will be advised in advance of arrival in Sydney. Competitors will maintain the same playing order throughout the Competition, with the possible exception of the Finals Concertos.
  8. The order of appearance in the Finals will be at the discretion of the Artistic Director for rehearsal and programming considerations.
  9. All works must be played from memory with the exception of Round 2 of the Semi Finals.
  10. Each solo programme should be chosen as a recital in itself, such as it would be presented for a public concert, whether it be 20 minutes, 30 minutes or 65 minutes long. Each programme should have its own logic and shape, chosen to highlight the competitor’s range and strengths, while demonstrating a developed understanding of programme- building and communication with an audience. Intelligent programming will be taken into account during pre-selection of competitors.


  1. Any applicant who knowingly gives inaccurate or misleading information will be disqualified.
  2. Applicants who have competed previously in Sydney International Piano Competition may not submit any piece performed publicly in that Competition.
  3. Where repertoire is prescribed applicants must choose from that list.
  4. Recital repertoire should not include any works for prepared piano.
  5. Overall timings in recital rounds must be adhered to. If competitors exceed the time limit for any round, they will be stopped and may be disqualified.
  6. Repeats may be observed at the competitor’s discretion. Please consider timings when making such decisions.
  7. The Australian piece in the Preliminaries should be published and may be of any period or length. Transcriptions may be included. The Australian Music Centre offers help online and works previously commissioned by the Sydney International Piano Competition are listed on the website.
  8. Semi-finalists may not repeat any piece played in the Preliminaries.
  9. Competitors may be disqualified if they do not know both concertos from memory for the first rehearsal of each concerto.
  10. A page turner will be provided for Round 2 of the Semi Finals.


  1. Competitors will be provided with a return economy airfare from their nearest international airport with an airline chosen by Sydney International Piano Competition.
  2. Competitors must have a valid health and travel insurance policy of which documentation must be supplied no later than 1 May 2016.
  3. Accommodation will be provided and a daily living allowance for each overnight stay from Monday 4 to Saturday 23 July inclusive.
  4. Ground transport from accommodation to venue will be provided if not within walking distance.
  5. If eliminated after any stage of the competition, accommodation and daily living allowances will become the sole responsibility of the eliminated competitor from that point.
  6. All other travel, accommodation and living expenses are the sole responsibility of the Competitor.


  1. Four piano makes will be used during the competition – Fazioli, Kawai, Steinway and Yamaha.
  2. Competitors will perform on at least two and up to four different piano makes during the Preliminaries and Semi-finals of the Competitions, the order of which will be determined through a public draw in early June 2016. Further details of use of pianos can be found here.
  3. Daily practice facilities will be provided for competitors with some possible limitations on duration.
  4. Piano trials and rehearsal for every stage will be provided to competitors including rehearsal time with the chamber musicians and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.


Voting procedures will be detailed in due course.


The Competitor grants to Sydney International Piano Competition the broadcast rights to film, photograph, record, broadcast, live stream, reproduce, transmit, play, show and/or televise as part of a film, online series or television documentary for the purpose of promoting the current and future Competitions, Sydney International Piano Competition and/or the arts in Sydney, Australia.


The First Prize Winner will be bound under an exclusive Australian performance contract until 1 October 2018.


  1. Any interpretation or disputes arising in any part will be read as the rules and conditions contained in English on the official website.
  2. The Jury’s decision is final and binding.
  3. There will be no appeal process and no correspondence will be entered into.
  4. The law applicable to Sydney International Piano Competition and contractual and other rights shall be the law of the State of New South Wales, Australia.

Use of Pianos in Sydney International Piano Competition 2016

The use of pianos for Sydney International Piano Competition 2016 will constitute an extra test for competitors. In the concert world, pianists have to perform on the pianos with which they are presented in concert halls. Accordingly, the pianists competing in Sydney will play different piano makes in each of the first four rounds of the competition. They will be given the opportunity to try their instruments prior to the start of the Competition and will have further access to the instruments on the day they will play in each different Round.

A draw will decide the order the 32 pianists will play in and maintain for the rest of the competition (with the possible exception of the Finals Rounds 1 and 2, when the Artistic Director may decide to alter the order to shape the overall programme being presented to the public). A draw will also decide which of the four piano makes will be used first – Fazioli, Kawai, Steinway or Yamaha.

The 32 competitors will be divided into four groups of eight.

In the Preliminaries Round 1, the first eight competitors will play the first piano make drawn out of the hat, the next eight the next piano alphabetically on the list, the next eight the third piano on the list and the final eight players, the remaining piano make on the list.

In the Preliminaries Round 2 (which all 32 competitors play), the first eight players will play the second piano on their list (in alphabetical order of brand names), the next eight their next piano etc.

By the end of the first two Rounds, which all 32 competitors play, all four pianos will have been heard totally equally and all competitors will have played on two different pianos.

The twelve competitors selected to compete in the Semifinals will go on to play the next two pianos on their alphabetical list in Rounds 1 (65-minute solo recital) and 2 (Accompanying or Chamber Music).

For the Finals, the six competitors will be allowed to choose whichever piano or pianos they would like to play for the two concertos in Rounds 1 and 2, having won through to that final stage by playing on all four pianos in the preceding four Rounds.