The Iturbi Prize was launched by the Diputació of València in 1981 to pay tribute to the Valencian pianist, composer and orchestra director, José Iturbi, who died on June 28th, 1980 in Beverly Hills. The Competition has become a platform to support new talent who try to break through the competitive world of the piano – as Iturbi did in his beginnings.
The València Iturbi International Piano Competition, is a biennial competition that celebrated its twentieth edition in 2017. After a short break, a second stage starts with the preparation of the XXI edition in 2021, the year of Iturbi’s 40th death anniversary.
This second stage is mainly marked by the incorporation of the eminent Spanish pianist, Joaquín Achúcarro, as the new Artistic Director in December of 2019. From that moment, under his directions, a new Artistic Committee has designed, a new updated competition model that focuses on the search of those aspects that gives a higher weight to the pianistic performance, redefining, in this regard, the rules and the spirit that govern this Competition.
The Jury of the XXI edition of 2021 is composed of Arie Vardi, Menahem Pressler, Jorge Luis Prats, Josu de Solaun, Catherine D’Argoubet, Barret Wissman, Didier Schnorhk and Kei Iton, under the chairmanship of Joaquín Achúcarro.
The Iturbi Competition has the important participation of the Orquesta de València, one of the most relevant musical ensembles in Spain, in the concerts for piano and orchestra in the Final I and the Grand Finale.
The Iturbi Prize follows the spirit of José Iturbi himself, who brought the music of his contemporary Valencian composers to the most relevant orchestras and stages of the United States such as the Orchestra of Philadelphia, the New York Philarmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The Iturbi Prize, in each edition, commissions a piece to Valencian composers to be played by the participants who reach the semifinal. In this regard, the composition of the piece for the Iturbi Competition 2021 has been commissioned to the Valencian Composer Óscar Colomina. The objective is that this piece becomes the hallmark of the 40th anniversary of the Competition
Renowned pianists and personalities have been part of the jury of the València Iturbi International Piano Competition such as Alicia de Larrocha, Alexis Weissenberg, Jenö Jandó, John O’Connor, Pascal Roge, Andrea Lucchesini, Henry Barda, Rosa Sabater, María Tipo, Sulamita Aronovsky, Dimitri Bashkirov, Joaquín Soriano, Ana Guijarro, Joaquín Rodrigo, Joaquín Nin-Culmell and Eduardo López-Chávarri among others.
The Competition, along its almost 40 years of history, has received participants from the five continents, establishing a special bond with the participants from the extinguished Soviet Union and the countries of the Eastern Bloc in the last years of the Cold War. Some of them achieved the first prizes of the Competition.
The València Iturbi International Piano Competition is part of the World Federation of International Music Competitions based in Geneva, which gathers competitions from countries in the five continents, among which, are some of the most prestigious music competitions worldwide. Moreover, the Iturbi Competition is a member of the Alink-Argerich Foundation, which gathers the most significant part of the international piano competitions worldwide.