Leeds yields an all-male final

Leeds yields an all-male final


norman lebrecht

September 15, 2021

The five finalists of the Leeds International Piano Competition are:
Alim Beisembayev (23, Kazakhstan)
Dmytro Choni (28, Ukraine)
Thomas Kelly (22, United Kingdom, pictured)
Kaito Kobayashi (25, Japan)
Ariel Lanyi (23, Israel)

The jury is chaired by Dame Imogen Cooper.

You can watch the finals free of charge on medici.tv here on Friday, September 17 at 7:00PM and Saturday, September 18 at 7:00PM (UK).

Up to now, the finals have been shown on BBC TV. But we know what’s happened to classical music on the BBC.



  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    BBC TV broadcasting of LPC has been going as long as I can remember. A poor show that they’ve given up

  • Ya what says:

    4 out of the 10 semi finalists were female. And they decided to get rid of all 4 of them for the finals.

    • Malcolm James says:

      Unless you have evidence that they were eliminated because they are women, what’s your point? If there had been 4 males in the SF and they had all been eliminated, would NB be saying anything, other than possibly ‘good for the girls’?

      • esfir ross says:

        Those women’re extraordinary pianists. Also great male didn’t make to finals.Look forward to hear them and wish good luck.

  • Anna says:

    At least one of the female semi-finalists was noticeably outstanding: equally as good as the male pianist, if not better. But perhaps not as ‘commercially’ viable.

  • Gavin Ramsay says:

    performances are on BBC Radio 3 this week at 1pm then evening time later in the week.

  • Luke Moissinac says:

    Two of the finalists are students at the Royal College of Music and a third is a student at the Royal Academy of Music.
    This is similar to what happened at the Queen Elisabeth competition in Brussels earlier in the year where at least 3 of the 6 finalists were linked to the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel. Although no one can prove conscious bias on the part of jury members some sort of unconscious bias is in operation. Competitions should not admit students of local institutions until at least two years after they have graduated.

    • Malcolm James says:

      So, in the interests of fairness, it has been proposed that any potential competitors who have any connection with any of the jury ought to be barred. Given the reputation of some of the jury member (as teachers, not necessarily human beings!), that would prevent a lot a pianists from entering most of the top competitions. Now someone is proposing barring recent graduates of local conservatoires. There is a danger that you so restrict the pool of entrants in the interests of fairness that you devalue the competitions and potential competitors prevented from entering a lot of them start crying ‘foul’.

    • Ruth says:

      I don’t think this is an issue. Four of the nine jury members are not British. The Leeds jury procedures have specific voting provisions where a competitor is a pupil of a jury member. My understanding is the jury member/teacher cannot vote for their pupil and the overall vote is adjusted accordingly. Additionally the Leeds jury operates under a secret ballot system so jury members do not have the opportunity to canvass support for their pupils or more generally for competitors studying in the host country.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    Perhaps this time it is just happened that the best candidates were men? Or does the gender police want to impose quotas here too?

    • Malcolm James says:

      Hopefully, you are right. The usual suspects will just have to keep quiet the next time a similar situation yields an all-female final.

      Mind you, this sort of thing can only be written off as statistical chance if it only happens occasionally.

      • Ya what says:

        ‘Similar situation yields an all-female final’. Sorry but when exactly has there ever been an all female final? Absolutely never is the answer. You make it seem like it’s a regular occurrence to have an all-female final.

  • Mark Mortimer says:

    Who cares if there aren’t any female finalists in The Leeds? Put simply- perhaps none of them were good enough & at least the laws of the competition (put down by the formidable Fanny Waterman) forbids any backroom shenanigans/lobbying amongst the jury . Of the boys I heard last night in the concerto finals (including the British one) they all seemed technically highly accomplished (the first Russian in Beethoven 3rd concerto had the most to say musically)- but typical modern bland conservatoire trained without the magic & individuality of a Perahia or Lupu. This competition has somewhat lost its way in recent years- can anybody remember the winners of the last decade? In its awesome heyday 40 years ago- the juries were equally so- made up of the most distinguished pianists & pedagogues. Now it appears a jury has been cobbled together from ringing up a few artists agents & quite frankly a few of them shouldn’t be sitting on an international piano competition without the necessary experience to judge the chances of aspiring pianists.

    • christopher storey says:

      Mark Mortimer : I could not agree with you more. Only 4 pianists on the jury ( out of 9 ) , and with all due respect to Cooper , none of them of the front rank except perhaps Osborne . As you point out, the last winner to have lasted is Artur Pizarro from 1990!