A Pre-announcement of
Repertoire Requirements for 2016 Competition

The next Sydney International Piano Competition will take place between 6th and 23rd July 2016. The Competition is open to pianists of all nationalities aged 18 or over on 6th July 2016 and under the age of 33 on 23rd July 2016. Applications will open on the 1st September 2015 and will close on 1st December 2015.

A new website will be coming soon and it will provide details of all entry requirements for applicants, along with rules and regulations, announcement of prizes offered and jury members. It will also provide facilities for uploading an application video via YouTube or Vimeo. Applicants in countries where this may be impossible will be able to send a DVD to the Secretariat. The audition video must be not less than twenty minutes long, not more than 35 minutes long and must contain Own Choice solo piano works by at least three composers. It must have been filmed during the past twelve months and be unedited, showing the applicant’s face and hands from start to end. Post-production affecting the sound quality is permitted, but must be stated. Repertoire performed on the video may be repeated by accepted competitors in the Preliminaries or Semi-finals of the Competition.

32 competitors will be selected from the application videos. All competitors will receive Economy Return air travel from their nearest international airport to Sydney, accommodation and per diems for food while they compete in the Competition. All 32 competitors will play twice in the Preliminaries.

The PRELIMINARIES will consist of two Rounds:

Round 1: A 20-minute recital
Round 2: A 30-minute recital
The repertoire for both recitals is Own Choice but should contain pieces by at least two composers. Part 2 should contain different composers from Part 1. An Australian piece, of any length or period, should be included in either Part 1 or Part 2. See Notes to Competitors below.

12 competitors will be selected to advance to the Semi-finals.

The SEMIFINALS will consist of two Rounds:

Round 1: A 65-minute recital.
The repertoire is Own Choice and should consist of two or more pieces. The recital should not be shorter than 60 minutes in length, but must not exceed 65 minutes. A short encore may be included if you feel it is appropriate, but the overall timing of the recital should still be 65 minutes or under. Any encores should be announced from the stage.

Round 2: Accompaniment/Chamber Music
Competitors are required to prepare a Sonata for Violin and Piano from the following list AND ALSO a Piano Quintet from the following list. When the semi-finalists are announced, they will be advised whether they will perform the Violin Sonata OR the Piano Quintet.

Six semi-finalists will perform one of the following Sonatas for Violin and Piano:

Beethoven: Sonata No 9 Op 47 (‘Kreutzer’)
Brahms: Sonata No 3 in D minor Op 108
Strauss: Sonata in E flat major Op 18
Franck: Sonata in A major
Fauré: Sonata No 1 in A major Op 13

Six semi-finalists will perform one of the following Piano Quintets:
Schumann: Piano Quintet in E flat major Op 44
Franck: Piano Quintet in F minor
Dvořák: Piano Quintet No 2 in A major Op 81
Taneyev: Piano Quintet in G minor Op 30
Elgar: Piano Quintet in A minor Op 84
Bloch: Piano Quintet No 1 (1923)

Six competitors will be chosen to advance to the Finals.

The FINALS will consist of two Rounds:

Round 1: An 18th Century Concerto.
The concerto will be performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under Benjamin Northey in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.

One concerto to be chosen from the following list:

Bach: Concerto in D minor BWV 1052
Haydn: Concerto in D major Hob VIII:11
Mozart: Concerto No 9 in E flat major K271
Mozart: Concerto No 17 in G major K453
Mozart: Concerto No 20 in D minor K466
Mozart: Concerto No 21 in C major K467
Mozart: Concerto No 23 in A major K488
Mozart: Concerto No 24 in C minor K491
Mozart: Concerto No 25 in C major K503
Mozart: Concerto No 26 in D major K537
Mozart: Concerto No 27 in B flat major K595
Beethoven: Concerto No 1 in C major Op 15
Beethoven: Concerto No 2 in B flat major Op 19

Round 2: A 19th or 20th century Concerto.
The concerto will be performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under Nicholas Milton in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.

One concerto to be chosen from the following list:

Beethoven: Concerto No 4 in G major Op 58
Hummel: Concerto No 2 in A minor Op 85
Chopin: Concerto No 2 in F minor Op 21
Schumann: Concerto in A minor Op 54
Liszt: Concerto No 2 in A major S.125
Grieg: Concerto in A minor Op 16
Saint-Saëns: Concerto No 2 in G minor Op 22
Tchaikovsky: Concerto No 2 in G major Op 44
Brahms: Concerto No 2 in B flat major Op 83
Franck: Variations Symphoniques M.46 AND ALSO Litolff: Scherzo from Concerto Symphonique No 4.
Scriabin: Concerto in F sharp minor Op 20
Dohnányi: Variations on a Nursery Tune Op 25
Rachmaninoff: Concerto No 2 in C minor Op 18
Medtner: Concerto No 2 in C minor Op 50
Prokofiev: Concerto No 3 in C major Op 26
Gershwin: Concerto in F
Ravel: Concerto in G major
Bartók: Concerto No 3 Sz. 119, BB 127
Barber: Concerto Op 38
Williamson: Concerto No 3 in E flat major

NB: If you choose the Franck, you must also play the Scherzo by Litolff.


All solo repertoire and concertos should be performed from memory. It is anticipated that semi-finalists will use the music for the Accompaniment/Chamber Music Round. A page-turner will be provided.

Each solo programme should be chosen as a recital in itself, such as you would present for a public concert, whether it be 20 minutes, 30 minutes or 65 minutes long. Each programme should have its own logic and shape, chosen to highlight the competitor’s range and strengths, while demonstrating a developed understanding of programme- building and communication with an audience. Intelligent programming will be taken into account during pre-selection of competitors. Programmes, once submitted, cannot be changed after 1st December 2015.

Recital repertoire should not include any works for prepared piano.

Overall timings in recital rounds must be adhered to. If competitors exceed the time limit for any round, they will be stopped and may be disqualified.

Repeats may be observed at the competitor’s discretion. Please consider timings when making such decisions.

*The Australian piece in the Preliminaries should be published and may be of any period or length. You will find many possibilities through the website of the Australian Music Centre: Australian pieces previously commissioned by the SIPCA are listed under Australian Works on this website. More detail about Australian works will be included on the new website. Composers you might consider include: Percy Grainger (1882-1961), Roy Agnew (1891-1944), Frank Hutchens (1892-1965), Arthur Benjamin (1893-1960), Raymond Hanson (1913-1976), Dulcie Holland (1913-2000), Miriam Hyde (1913-2005), Dorian le Gallienne (1915-1963), James Penberthy (1917-1999), Don Banks (1923-1980), Peter Sculthorpe ( 1929-2014), John Carmichael (1930-), Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003), David Lumsdaine (1931-), Richard Meale (1932-2009), Larry Sitsky (1934-), Nigel Butterley (1935-), Moya Henderson (1941-), Philip Bracanin (1942-), Roger Smalley (1943-), Ross Edwards (1943-), Anne Boyd (1946-), Brenton Broadstock (1952-), Carl Vine (1954-), Andrew Ford (1957-), Elena Kats-Chernin (1957-), Colin Spiers (1957-), Nigel Westlake (1958-), Brett Dean (1961-), Gordon Kerry (1961-), Michael Kieran Harvey (1961-), Ian Munro (1963-), Sunny Chua (1967-), Matthew Hindson (1968-), Nigel Sabin (1960-).

Semi-finalists may not repeat any piece played in the Preliminaries.

Applicants who have competed previously in the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia may not submit any piece performed publicly in that Competition.

Competitors may be disqualified if they do not know both concertos from memory for the first rehearsal of each concerto.


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The Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia is internationally recognised as one of the world's great Piano Competitions.

In 1975, Claire Dan began planning for the first Competition, which was to be held in August 1977. The Competition comprised five Stages. Chamber Music and vocal accompaniment were part of Stage IV and involved the Sydney String Quartet playing Piano Quintets with the semi-finalists. Leading singers from Sydney and interstate were involved with the semi-finalists in the vocal accompaniment section. The Australian Chamber Orchestra accompanied the Mozart concertos and due to the non-availability of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the then Premier of South Australia provided the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for the 19th and 20th Century concertos. ABC FM STEREO and 2MBS-FM broadcast some parts of the Competition.

Prize-money in 1977 totalled approximately AUD$25,000 and there was a short tour for the 1st Prize-Winner, Irina Plotnikova, after the Competition.

Subsequent Competitions were held in 1981, 1985, 1988 (to coincide with the Australian Bicentennial celebrations), 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012.

The 2012 Competition ran from 4 July- 21 July, and was broadcast and streamed live by ABC Classic FM in its entirety.