Birmingham International Piano Competition 2022

Today I’m publishing a rare ‘mid-week’ post in order to highlight a forthcoming event which may be of interest. The Birmingham International Piano Competition (BIPC) is making a welcome return after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic. In this post, Administrative Director, Ella Lee, writes about this exciting competition.

The BIPC has a legacy going back to 1979 when it was founded by, and later named after, Gladys Lily Brant. Ms. Brant administered the Brant Competition in the city for nearly two decades. The administration then passed to Town Hall/Symphony Hall, and in 2017 the event was rebranded as Birmingham International Piano Competition before being inherited by the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, in November 2021.  The RBC’s very own Piano Faculty tutors Mark Bebbington and Di Xiao are both previous winners, as well as a whole host of recognised names in the industry.

Bradshaw Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoirejpg
Bradshaw Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

When putting our heads together to discuss what this year’s competition would look like, after such a long break, Artistic Director Professor John Thwaites (Head of Keyboard at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) and I felt it should embody exactly what the Conservatoire is about: a unique atmosphere that challenges everyone to play at their very best, whilst never losing the wonderful undercurrent of support and community. It seemed a natural fit for the Competition’s new home to be Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, given that it plays a major role in Birmingham’s musical landscape. With free-choice programming allowing competitors to exercise their creative muscles in ways not often offered by other competitions, we felt strongly that we wanted BIPC to be as friendly an experience as possible – one that celebrates the keyboard stars of the future and encourages supportive surroundings, even whilst competing. Ultimately, we are very happy that the competition is able to continue running, so as to provide further opportunity for young pianists to be heard.

Birmingham International Piano Competition 2019 Finalists - Juan Mas Choclán; Karnsiri Laothamatas; Ana Gogava (winner)
Finalists in the 2019 competition: Juan Mas Choclán, Karnsiri Laothamatas, and Ana Gogava (winner)

The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire moved into a brand-new building in 2017 and has already welcomed a myriad of world-class artists in the few short years since its opening.  With the Second and Final Rounds taking place in front of a live audience as well as the Jury, competitors will be able to take advantage of the conservatoire’s state-of-the art performance facilities, including an exceptional fleet of concert grand pianos. We hope that those who take part in Birmingham will feel that the BIPC has done everything possible to help them play at their best on the day, and that they can take something from the experience that will aid them in some way going forward. After the hit that so many musicians and musical organisations took as a result of the pandemic, it’s now even more important to support young musicians and provide them with opportunity for growth.

John Thwaites
John Thwaites, Head of Keyboard at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

How to attendBradshaw Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, 200 Jennens Road B4 7XR23 – 24 June – Second Round (open to the public)3 July, from 2:30pm – Final (open to the public)Tickets will be available on the door, and in advance via the website: or contact Ella Lee:


Melanie Spanswick has written and published a wide range of courses, anthologies, examination syllabuses, and text books, including Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). This best-selling graded, progressive piano course contains a large selection of repertoire featuring a huge array of styles and genres, with copious practice tips and suggestions for every piece.

For more information, please visit the publications page, here.


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