Top pianists converge on Worthing

The fourth Sussex International Piano Competition is being held at Worthing's Assembly Hall from Tuesday, May 8-Sunday, May 13.


Spokeswoman Jennie Osborne said: “The internationally-renowned competition attracts pianists from across the globe, and this year’s event includes entrants from as far afield as South Korea, America, Australia, Russia, China and Israel, with some home-grown British competitors too. 24 pianists compete in the quarter finals over two days – Tuesday, May 8 and Wednesday, May 9 from 11am daily with competitors playing a 30-minute programme of their choice, including the stipulated test piece.

“Six will go through to compete in the semi-final on Friday, May 11 from 1pm where they play a 45-minute programme. Three finalists will then be selected to perform a concerto of their choice (from an extensive list provided by the adjudicators) with Worthing Symphony Orchestra in a grand final concert on Sunday, May 13 at 2.45pm.”

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Jennie added: “The competition began in 2010 through a collaboration between Worthing’s music director John Gibbons and the late Iain Deane, with the second and third competitions taking place in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Previous winners Arta Arnicane, Poom Prommachart and Varvara Tarasova have all gone on to successful recording and performing careers, including concert appearances with Worthing Symphony Orchestra – the professional orchestra of West Sussex.

“Many have been struck by the friendly atmosphere generated by competitors, audience and hosts of the SIPC. The fact that each competitor stays with a local family in their home, is one of its many strong attractions. Competitions can be lonely places, especially when you are staying in a hotel room, and our hosts have been superb at embracing all competitors and making them feel a special welcome in Worthing. Many close friendships have been formed as a result.

“First prize is £5,000 together with the chance to record a CD with the Champs Hill label thanks to the generous support of the Bowerman Trust. The runner-up receives a cash prize of £2,000 and third prize is £1,000 with performance opportunities being offered to finalists.” Jennie added: “The Worthing judging panel includes Connaught Artists’ founder Patrick Allen, Judith Clarke (Surrey University and SE Arts), renowned pianists Yuki Negishi, Dennis Lee and Chee-Hung Tao as well as former SIPC winners Arta Arnicane and Varvara Tarasova. The jury are looking at technical proficiency, musicality, presentation and choice of programme.”

Members of the public are welcome to attend the quarter and semi-finals. A piano pass can be bought on the door. Tickets for the grand final concert on Sunday, May 13 at 2.45pm can be bought from Worthing Theatres box office on 01903 206206 or online at

For other stories by Phil, see: