The Sydney International Piano Competition has, from its inception, held events at the highest international level inspiring pianists and audiences alike and stimulating interest in the piano and music in general. It has provided a showcase platform for outstanding pianists from all over the world and assisted with the development of their careers as concert artists.
It is one of the major international events of its kind in the world. Founded by the late Miss Claire Dan AM, OBE, Rex Hobcroft AM and Robert Tobias, it was inaugurated in July 1977 and has since been held every four years, except in 1988 when it was brought forward to coincide with the Bicentenary of Australia celebrations. The Competition was admitted as a member of the Geneva based World Federation of International Music Competitions in 1978, the first Australian competition to be accepted as a member.
About our Founders
Claire Dan AM, OBE
Claire Dan AM, OBE was born in Hungary 1920, and became an Australian citizen in 1954. She committed her life to the performing arts and improving opportunities for artists both internationally and in Australia.
In 1976 she founded the Cladan Cultural Institute of Australia, a private philanthropic body established to encourage and develop cultural exchange. Her aim through the Insitute was “to help music, theatre and the arts, and to encourage young people” and to bring prestige to the musical profile of Australia. One of Dan’s first achievements with the help of Rex Hobcroft, Director of NSW Conservatorium of Music, was to establish the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia; the foundation continues to this day to be a major sponsor of the Competition, providing on-going financial support.
Rex Hobcroft, AM
Rex Hobcroft was one of the most universally admired figures in Australian music.
A teacher, conductor and administrator and notably the first Australian to play the complete cycle of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in public. He held directorships at the Conservatoriums of Sydney and Tasmania. Hobcroft was a co-founder of the Competition and was one of the international jurors for the Competition over a number of years. Many of his innovations have been incorporated into other competitions around the world.
Robert Tobias, OAM
Robert has had a great interest in piano since he was young and is one of the co-founders of the Sydney International Piano Competition. He has been a lifelong advocate of the benefit and joy that the piano brings to people and to that end has sat on either the Executive Committee or the Board of Directors of the Competition for more than 35 years and has been involved with the Competition since its inception in 1977. Robert has been a lawyer for more than 45 years, and practices with global law firm, DLA Piperin Sydney. His focus in the corporate world is on regulation and compliance and he also advises on directors' duties and corporate governance.
What makes this Competition unique
Sydney is not only a significant centre of the arts, but a city which has produced and fostered artists of international distinction, whose contributions to music are well known. The Sydney Opera House is a symbol of the city's commitment to attaining the highest standards in all areas of the performing arts. The Sydney Conservatorium of Music, in the centre of the city with its ‘back-yard’ the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens, is home to the Competition once again in 2016.
First prize winners from previous competitions
2016 Andrey Gugnin
2012 Avan Yu
2008 Konstantin Shamray
2004 John Chen
2000 Marina Kolomiitseva
1996 Sergei Tarasov
1992 Xiang-Dong Kong
1988 Alexander Korsantiya
1985 Du Ning-Wu
1981 Chia Chou
1977 Irina Plotnikova
Piers Lane AO
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His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret'd)
Vice Regal Patron 2016
Maestro Valery Gergiev
Artistic Patron 2016
Virginia Braden OAM
Dr Michael Kennedy
Robert Tobias OAM