- The biennial international competition, organised by the Valencia Provincial Government or Diputació, will take place from 31 May to 9 June 2023, with Joaquín Achúcarro as the artistic director
- It is aimed at performers of any nationality born after 23 June 1987, who must provide documentation and a recording of between 20 and 30 minutes to be evaluated in the shortlist selection phase
- Gloria Tello, the councillor for the Iturbi Prize: “The awards were increased by 70% in the previous competition and have been maintained for 2023.” She encourages “pianists from all over the world to take part in this prestigious contest”
- The first prize is worth 30,000 euros, the second 20,000 and the third 10,000. The finalists will also receive 5,000 euros and there is a special prize for the best performer of Spanish music worth 2,000
Valencia, 14 October 2022
The Iturbi Prize, Valencia’s International Piano Competition, is keeping the registration period open until 3 November for its twenty-second edition, which will be taking place 31 from May to 9 June 2023, under the artistic management of Joaquín Achúcarro. The musical event, first promoted by Joaquín Rodrigo (Sagunto, 1901 – Madrid, 1999), is held every two years and organised by the Diputació de València. It is a point of reference in the piano world in which performers from the five continents have participated in its 21 editions held since 1981.
The call for the next competition’s contestants, posted in pianoiturbi.dival.es, is aimed at pianists of any nationality born after 23 June, 1987. They must provide documentation and an audiovisual recording of between 20 and 30 minutes to be evaluated in a shortlist selection phase by a jury made up of Ana María Guijarro (chair), Carles Marín and Ángel Sanzo (members) and Josep Vidal (secretary), head of the Valencia Provincial Council’s Culture Service. This audition will be held throughout November and the shortlist of those accepted will be posted on 12 December 2022 on the website.
Once the shortlist has been drawn up, the competition will then have three qualifying rounds and the Grand Final. In the first phase (recital) and the second (semi-final), the selected performers must freely choose from among the following works: one using counterpoint, Preludes and Fugues from The well-tempered clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach; Preludes and Fugues by Dmitri Shostakovich; Ludus Tonalis by Paul Hindemith; Preludes and Fugues by Felix Mendelssohn; Bach – Ferruccio Busoni; Bach – Ferenc Liszt, etc.; a sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven; a sonata by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; two short works by Fryderyck Chopin, one of which must be a nocturne; a piece from Goyescas by Enrique Granados, and a piece from the Iberia Suite, Navarra, either The Vega by Isaac Albéniz or Fantasía Bética by Manuel de Falla. Participants cannot repeat works throughout the contest.
The first phase will include the 20 performers who made the shortlist, the second will have 10 competing, the final 6, and the Grand Final only 3. In the latter two rounds, the contestants will perform together with the Orchestra of Valencia, the Palau de la Música’s own ensemble. In the final, they will be able to choose between one of Beethoven’s five concertos for piano and orchestra; and in the Grand Final, they must tackle a concert for piano and orchestra from among those assigned by the organisers from composers such as Chopin, Liszt, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Joaquín Rodrigo, Manuel Palau and more.
The contest will again be able to count on a resident composer who this time will be the Valencian Francisco Coll, commissioned with writing the work Mother – a tribute to Joaquín Sorolla (2022), which must be performed by all of the musicians who reach the second phase.
Promotion, dissemination and excellence
Gloria Tello, the councillor for the Iturbi Prize, explains that “this year, the Iturbi Prize is consolidating the cash prizes that rose by 70% in the last edition, and it will continue to offer the winners recitals, concerts and tours to help boost their promotion and dissemination.” Valencia City Council’s Councillor for Culture and President of the Palau de la Música states that “we encourage pianists from all over the world to participate in this prestigious competition, which throughout its history has served to support and publicise to great talents.” He praises “a project that raises visibility and fosters excellence through the Piano Festival, significant Spanish and international figures, the Iturbi Recital Cycle and the eventual winners of the contest.”
The economic prizes from the previous contest will be maintained, the first prize being endowed with 30,000 euros, the recording of an album and various recitals and concerts; the second with 20,000, and the third with 10,000. The other finalists who do not reach the Grand Final will receive €5,000, while a special award for the best performer of Spanish music is also worth €2,000.
The Valencia Provincial Government will also be organising concerts in Spain and abroad throughout 2024 with the winners of the three first prizes taking part, and other special prizes will be awarded that are funded by entities and companies sponsoring or collaborating. Furthermore, the Valencia Provincial Government or Diputació will grant the contestants aid to help towards travel and maintenance expenses.
The award ceremony will take place on 10 June 2023, during a recital in which the three pianists from the Grand Final will be performing. They will play a work chosen by the directors from among those that have been performed during the different rounds of the contest. All of the performances will be broadcast live and there will also be a repeat of the recorded concerts that can be viewed on the event’s website, which will be fostering dissemination and internationalisation of this musical event held every two years.
In the previous edition held in 2021, the jury, which confirmed the artistic quality witnessed in the contest, declared the first prize void and awarded the second prize to Alexey Sychev (Russia) and the third to Salome Jordania (Georgia) and Ryutaro Suzuki (Japan) ex aequo.
2nd Iturbi Piano Festival
The Iturbi Piano Festival is holding its second edition with a programme from 28 October to 4 November, offering nine concerts on different stages around the city of Valencia (Palau de les Arts, Centre Cultural la Beneficència, L’Almodí and Teatro Principal). Leading Spanish and international pianists will be performing, such as Maria João Pires, Luis Fernando Pérez, Bartomeu Jaume, Xavier Torres, Alexey Sychev, Carlos Apellániz, Óscar Oliver, Yulianna Avdeeva, Carles Marín, Claudio Carbó, María Linares and Josep Colom, as well as the conductor Manuel Hernández Silva, the harpsichordist Diego Ares and the fortepianist Antonio Simón, among other prestigious musicians and teachers from the Orquestra de València.
The Valencia Provincial Government is thus continuing to provide a festival, under the artistic management of Justo Romero, which commemorated the 125th anniversary of the birth of José Iturbi in 2020 and which will take place in even-numbered years within the context of the competition itself, which will take place in odd-numbered years. In addition, this year from 6 May to 4 November the Iturbi Recital Cycle will be holding a total of 15 concerts in Rome (2), Toulouse, Valencia (6), and in Valencian cities and municipalities such as Gandia, Chiva, Xàtiva, Sagunt, Ayora and Llíria, given by the winners of the previous edition: Alexey Sychev, Salome Jordania, Ryutaro Suzuki and Zifan Ye.