Located in the historic opera town of Montecatini Terme in idyllic Tuscany in Italy, the Montecatini International Piano Festival & Competition was founded by Aisa Ijiri in 2019. Renowned artists got together to provide a range of Piano Masterclasses, Composition Workshops, and Chamber Music Sessions for aspiring young musicians. Furthermore, attendees took pleasure in evening soirees, Concerts, and delicious Tuscan cuisine amidst breath-taking settings.
Amongst others, distinguished resident artists such Sofya Gulyak (Professor of Piano, Royal College of Music), Martin Tillman (EMMY Nominated Hollywood Film Composer), Melanie Spanswick (Composer, Schott Music), Emanuel Salvador (Concertmaster, Baltic Neopolis Orchestra) and LP DUO (University Artist) were featured in the festival. Over 200 exceptionally talented young pianists from 50 nations participated in the competition, which was first hosted at a beautiful open air theatre of the Terme Tettuccio before moving to an online format during the pandemic.
The festival’s scope grew in later years when it hosted Prize Winners Concerts as part of TIPA Festivals at Kolarac in Belgrade and Steinway Hall in London. In 2023, the 4th Competition Grand Final was held in Florence at the famous Teatro Niccolini. Notable figures on the jury include Chris Craker (CEO of Karma Sound Studios), Carles Lama (Director of KNS Classical), Nicolas Bringuier (Artistic Director of Samson François International Competition), Congyu Wang (Artistic Director of Global Piano League), Nima Keshavarzi (Music Director of La Filharmonie), Paolo Cognetti (Co-Founder of La Filharmonie) and Sofya Gulyak.
The winners received prestigious awards, including the chance to play at acclaimed festivals such as the Piano Concerto Festival, Piano Island Festival, and La Filharmonie Festival; Piano Recitals at Steinway Hall in London, Milan, and Tokyo; and the release of their recorded albums on KNS Classical. Not to mention Ryan Wang, the 2023 Winner, has been graciously invited by Steinway & Sons, Italy to give a Debut Recital on September 19, 2024 at the Steinway Hall in Milan.
The 5th Montecatini International Piano Competition is set for Tokyo, Japan in 2024, offering up to be another stunning display artistic brilliance!