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The Piano Concerto Festival

4th Edition

In Collaboration With The Orquestra Do Algarve

 

APPLICATIONS OPEN NOVEMBER!

30 June - 8 July, 2024
Faro, Portugal

Our Mission

Perform With A Symphony Orchestra
30 June 2024
8 July 2024

'When I originally founded this festival, it was to give young pianists a rare opportunity to play with an orchestra. I mean, how often in a piano competition, for example, do you see a young, talented soloist, make it all the way to the final stage, only to deliver an unprepared final concerto performance?' - Congyu Wang, Steinway Artist 

In light of the founder's original motivation, The Piano Concerto Festival provides  pianists of all levels and backgrounds the opportunity to rehearse and perform with a high quality orchestra.

For our 4th edition, we look forward to bringing our festival participants to a stunning location in Faro, on the southern coast of Portugal. We will offer each participant one-to-one masterclasses with professors from our renowned faculty, and we also offer the possibility of shooting a professional video recording of their concerto performance.

A number of our participants may be selected (on merit) to perform their concerto of choice (or movements of it) in our closing Gala Concert. There is also the possibility that participants may be offered various performance engagements, at the discretion of our faculty.

Information

Information

General Information

The Piano Concerto Festival, 4th edition, will take place in Faro, Portugal, from June 30th to July 8th, 2023.

In some cases, foreign participants may need visas. Applicants should consult the nearest Portuguese Embassy or Consulate for advice. The Piano Concerto Festival team is happy to provide invitation letters for the purpose of visa applications.

All participants will be scheduled an equal amount of practice time per day. Outside the allotted schedule, participants are free to practise for extra time if they find available practice rooms. Additional time may be rentable from private studios in the local area.

All participation in the course will be confirmed with a festival diploma. This will be provided in the form of a digital certificate, but a physical copy can be obtained upon request.

Important Dates

November 1st, 2023 - Applications Open

January 1st, 2024 - Early Application Deadline

April 1st, 2024 - Application Deadline

April 14th, 2024 - Notification of Acceptance or Non-Acceptance

June 30th, 2024 - Arrival of Participants in Faro

July 1st, 2024 - Festival Begins

July 6th, 2024 - Festival Gala Concert

July 8th, 2024 - Festival Ends

Application Procedures

There is no prescribed age limit, but applications must be completed through the online system.

All applications are due by 23:59 BST, on Monday, April 1st, 2024. Early applications are due by 23:59 GMT, on Monday, January 1st, 2024.

Applicants will submit a processing fee (in USD) of $100, or $60 if the application is completed before January 1st, 2024, payable through the online application system. Further payments will only be made upon notification of acceptance.

All active participants will receive at minimum 2 masterclasses during the festival. Applicants must, on the application form, indicate their first and second choice teachers from the faculty that they wish to have masterclasses with. All active participants will receive at least one masterclass from either their first or second choice professor.

We ask that you submit a link (i.e. YouTube, Dropbox, etc.) to a video recording of any length, whether solo or collaborative, during the application process. This recording will be used for selection purposes, and will also determine which professors you will be assigned if your application is successful. The recording does not need to be in one continuous take, and may consist of multiple recordings edited into a longer video, but there may not be any editing within individual pieces or movements. This recording does not have to be of the proposed concerto.

Applicants must choose one first choice concerto and one second choice concerto from the repertoire list for performance with orchestra. These choices may be changed up until 23:59 BST, on Saturday, April 20th, 2024. Feel free to contact the team at info@pianoconcertofestival.com for any changes.

An acknowledgement will be sent to each applicant upon receipt of the completed application form and registration fee. Applicants will not be able to submit unless all required fields are completed.

All applicants will be notified by April 14th, 2024, as to whether or not their application has been accepted.

Fees

Fees

All payments can be made through our online system. You will be guided to offers that are applicable to you. 

Application Fee

The application fee stands at $100. The application fee may be waived if an application is made through any of our festival partners.

Each participant must specify on the application form which package they would like to apply for (see options under 'Active Participants' below).

If you are unsure about applying still, then feel free to look through some additional information on our application page here

Active Participants

If your application is successful, you will be required to confirm your participation in The Piano Concerto Festival. At this point, you will be required to pay the baseline fees for your participation.

As an active participant, you have two core choices, which are specified below:

Single Movement

Perform one movement of your chosen concerto with orchestra.

  • 2 x 10 Min Rehearsals         

  • Dress Performance         

  • Professional Video Recording         

  • 2 x Solo Masterclasses         

  • Festival-Wide Observer Pass         

€1998

Full Concerto

Perform your chosen concerto in its entirety with orchestra.

  • 1 x 50 Min Rehearsal          

  • Dress Performance         

  • Professional Video Recording         

  • 2 x Solo Masterclasses         

  • Festival-Wide Observer Pass         

€2998

Regardless of which option you pick, you are guaranteed to receive a minimum of 2 masterclasses, including at least one class with either your first or second choice professor.

For concerto course students, we also throw in a complimentary video recording - to be shot during the dress performance of your chosen work!

Festival Classic

For those that are either unsuccessful in their applications, or simply just want to come see how we operate before committing as a full participant, we've created a more traditional package to allow you to come and experience the festival anyway!

You'd be granted full access to all the events throughout the course of the festival, and on top of that, you'd receive 2 masterclasses with members of our faculty!

The price of this is just €497. This portion of the festival will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. You can sign up for this by clicking here and completing the application form. 

In the unlikely event that the studio ends up completely full, refunds will be issued and priority will be granted for future editions of The Piano Concerto Festival.

Festival Classic Plus

This option is for students applying for solo masterclasses only.

You would receive 4 masterclasses with members of our faculty, as well as a festival-wide access pass to experience all events during the festival's duration.

The price of this is just €797. This portion of the festival will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. You can sign up for this by clicking here and completing the application form. 

As with the standard Festival Classic, in the unlikely event that the studio ends up completely full, refunds will be issued and priority will be granted for future editions of The Piano Concerto Festival.

 

Fast Track

This option is for applicants wishing to be guaranteed an early acceptance. 

In order to be fast tracked, applicants must directly request for this service by contacting the team at info@pianoconcertofestival.com for an in-depth review.

If a fast tracked application is approved, the applicant must pay an additional fee of €797. Any fast tracked applicants will then also be signed onto our Festival Classic scheme free of charge

 

Accommodation

Participants are responsible for arranging their own accommodation. However, The Piano Concerto Festival team will be offering recommendations in due course.

Repertoire

Symphonic List:

Ludwig van Beethoven:

Piano Concerto no. 5 in E-Flat Major, Op. 73

Edvard Grieg:

Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16

Franz Liszt:

Piano Concerto no. 1 in E-Flat Major, S. 124
 

Sergei Prokofiev:

Piano Concerto no. 3 in C major, Op. 26

Sergei Rachmaninoff:

Piano Concerto no. 2 in C minor, Op. 18

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:

Piano Concerto no. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 23

 

Chamber List:

Johann Sebastian Bach:
Piano Concerto no. 1 in D Minor, BWV 1052

 

Ludwig van Beethoven:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15

Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat Major, Op. 19

Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major Op. 58

Frédéric Chopin:

Piano Concerto no. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11

Piano Concerto no. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21


Joseph Haydn:

Piano Concerto no. 11 in D Major, Hob. XVIII: 11

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

Piano Concerto no. 20 in D Minor, K. 466

Piano Concerto no. 21 in C Major, K. 467

Piano Concerto no. 23 in A Major, K. 488



 

If you wish to perform a concerto not prescribed on the repertoire list, feel free to contact us at info@pianoconcertofestival.com to discuss other possibilities before May, 2023.

For options relating to concertos not on the list, refer to the Events tab for further availability in other locations.

Repertoire
Faculty

Faculty

We at The Piano Concerto Festival are proud to be gathering a faculty of inspirational teachers from all over the world.

Sofya Gulyak

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In September 2009, Sofya Gulyak was awarded the 1st prize and the Princess Mary Gold Medal at the Sixteenth Leeds International Piano Competition – the first woman in the history of the competition to achieve this distinction. Since then she has appeared all over the world to great acclaim. Her recital programmes are frequently reviewed in superlatives, and her concerto appearances with major orchestras are noted in glowing terms by the world’s music press. Sofya has been praised for her "tremendous precision and colouration...exquisite soft playing ...with delicacy" and described as a “Rach star"(Washington Post).

Gulyak’s resume also includes prizes from many other prestigious piano competitions: she has won top prizes at the William Kapell International Piano Competition in the USA, Maj Lind Helsinki International Piano Competition, Tivoli Piano Competition in Copenhagen, Isang Yun International Piano Competition in South Korea, Busoni Competition in Italy and also the Marguerite Long Piano Competition in Paris.
 

As a soloist, Gulyak has collaborated with a huge number of top orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony, Saint-Petersburg Philharmonic, Rio de Janeiro Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North, Budapest Philharmonic, Orchestra dell’ Arena di Verona, Orchestra Filarmonica di Bologna, NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, Enescu Philharmonic, Stavanger Symphony, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Slovak Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Copenhagen Symphony, Ulster Symphony, Ochestra Sinfonica Siciliana, Orchestre National de France, Shanghai Philharmonic, Oulu Philharmonic, Leipzig Philharmonic, Pensacola Symphony, Tatarstan Symphony, Philippines Philharmonic, and the Morocco Philharmonic, amongst others.

Gulyak is a native of Kazan (Russia) where she studied in a Special Music College under Nailya Khakimova, and then in Kazan State Conservatoire under Professor Elfiya Burnasheva. After that she continued her studies at the Piano Academy "Incontri coi Maestri" (Imola, Italy) with Boris Petrushansky and at the Royal College of Music in London with Vanessa Latarche. Since her studies, she has been invited as a jury member to major international competitions all over the world and has taught masterclasses in China, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Mexico, USA, and Germany. Most recently, she has been a professor on the faculty of the Royal College of Music in London.

Congyu Wang

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Amongst being the founder and artistic director of the Piano Island Festival and the International Chopin Competition in South Africa, Steinway Artist Congyu Wang is also the founder of The Piano Concerto Festival, of which he ran two editions before deciding to expand his team due to the demands of his growing concert schedule. He is also an ambassador for several charitable foundations - Association des Jeunes Musiciens (Young musicians), Association Koinonia (International Refugees) and the Grace International Foundation Liverpool (Youth Development).

Born in Singapore, Congyu Wang started playing the piano at the age of 3 under the tutelage of Sylvia Ng. He was selected for a scholarship that enabled him to attend the prestigious Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, where he studied with renowned French pianists Jean-Marc Luisada and Odile Catelin-Delangle. He later enrolled in the Schola Cantorum (Paris) to continue his studies with Gabriel Tacchino (who had been Francis Poulenc’s only student).

Since graduating from his further education, Congyu has made appearances in over 800 recitals across Europe and Asia. He has earned a reputation for delivering stunning performances of extremely demanding works and boasts a vast repertoire including 30 piano concertos, along with the complete solo piano oeuvre of Chopin and Poulenc.

Highlights of some of his performances include festival appearances at Château de la Verrerie (France), Ernen Music Festival (Switzerland), the Geza Anda Piano Festival Masterclasses (Berlin), the International Isang Yun Academy (Paris), International Hammer Klavier Piano Series (Barcelona), International Piano Festival (Amarante), Festival Langtang (Reunion Island) and Chopin Fest (Belgrade). Congyu Wang has performed for many important guests internationally, including the Prince of Brunei, the Prime Minister of Singapore, and also the Ambassadors of France, Singapore, China and Norway.

Vasco Dantas

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Portuguese pianist Vasco Dantas obtained his Bachelor's Degree with 1st Class Honours at the Royal College of Music in London, where he studied piano performance with Dmitri Alexeev and Niel Immelman, as well as conducting with Peter Stark and Natalia Luis-Bassa. He concluded his Master's Degree in Performance with highest honours under the guidance of Heribert Koch, at the University of Münster.

He acts as co-artistic director of The Piano Concerto Festival.

A previous 1st Prize Winner of the Santa Cecilia International Piano Competition in Porto, Vasco made his New York Carnegie Hall recital debut in 2019. His concert schedule has taken him all over the world, and he has featured at venues such as the Grand Hall of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Hong Kong's City Hall, Porto's Casa de Música and the Paris Théâtre des Champs-Elysées amongst others.

As a faculty member of The Piano Concerto Festival, Vasco has significant experience working with orchestra, and has previously collaborated with ensembles such as the Orquestra Clássica da Madeira, Orquestra Clássica do Centro, Orquestra Do Algarve, Orquestra Festival de Música Júnior, Filarmónica Portuguesa, Filarmónica das Beiras, Orquestra Gulbenkian, Jovem Orquestra Portuguesa, Orquestra do Norte, Orquestra Promenade, Sinfónica de Cascais, and Sinfónica Portuguesa, amongst others.

Vasco is also the co-artistic director of the Algarve Music Series, one of the primary collaborative partners of The Piano Concerto Festival.

Rixiang Huang

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Described "in a word, [as] superb,” by the New York Concert Review, pianist Rixiang Huang has inspired glowing acclaim from audiences and critics alike for his superb artistry and passionate, charismatic performances across four continents.

 

Boasting an impressive array of prizes, including laureate titles of the Hastings, Dallas, New York International Artists, La Palma d'Oro, and WPTA International Piano Competitions amongst others, Huang has rapidly established for himself an international reputation.

Highlights of Huang's 2022-23 season include a five-city solo recital tour in China; a solo recital at the University of Southern California; a solo recital at the UWG School of the Arts in Georgia; and a Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 Performance with the USC Thornton Orchestra. In 2022, Huang joined the artist faculties of the Montecito Music Festival in California; the Tarnow International Music Festival in Poland; the Concordia University Irvine Summer Chamber Music Camp; and also the Artcial International Music Festival in San Francisco.

An immersive and versatile soloist, Huang has performed extensively all over the world in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York; Alice Tully Hall at the New York Lincoln Center; Universität Mozarteum – Solitär in Salzburg; Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria in Santander; ACT Concert Hall in Hamamatsu; National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing; and also the Beijing Concert Hall. His performances have been broadcast by WQXR-FM, KUSC, KDFC, Classic FM, Cleveland WCLV 104.9, Sarasota WSMR 89.1 & 103.9, and Corporación de Radio y Televisión Española. Mr. Huang is currently represented by Get Classical Music Management.

Huang is the founder and CEO of the Empire Music Academy in California, as well as also the founder and artistic director of the Pacific Stars International Piano Competition & Festival.

 

Chun Chieh Yen

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Pianist Chun-Chieh Yen has concertised in Europe, Asia, and America, embracing a wide range of repertoire. Making history at age 13 as the youngest pianist to perform in recital at Taipei’s National Concert Hall, his annual concert tours in Taiwan have brought widespread critical acclaim. Concerto performances take Yen to orchestras all over the world including the Russian National Orchestra, Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan. He has enjoyed collaborations with many conductors, including Mikhail Pletnev, Henry Mazer, Uri Mayer, Shao-Chia Lü, and Günther Herbig.

 

​Mr. Yen began his piano studies in Taiwan with Prof. Rolf-Peter Wille. After winning Third Prize at the International Youth Tchaikovsky Competition in St. Petersburg in 1997, Mr. Yen furthered his education at the Hochschule für Music und Theater Hannover in Germany under the tutelage of Professor Vladimir Krainev where he earned his Konzertexamen degree. He was consequently given a full scholarship to study with the world-renowned pedagogue John Perry at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles.

He has won numerous prizes in competitions, including First Prize at the 4th Hamamatsu International Academy Piano Competition in Japan (1999), and Third Prize at the 4th Prokofiev International Competition in St. Petersburg (2004). He also received the "Prix de L'Ordre du Merite" in Luzern, where he was praised by Maestro Alexis Weissenberg. Yen is currently a full time Assistant Professor at the National Taiwan Normal University.

Ernest So

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Ernest So is hailed as a performer who exerts a “phenomenal presence onstage” and one who “evokes the romanticism and technical brilliance of a 19th century pianist”. So’s early manifestation as concert pianist brought prizes such as the Bes​t Performer A​ward during his youth in Singapore and later the Beethoven Trophy. His years at the Juilliard School were spent under the artistic influence and instruction of renowned Beethoven scholar Jacob Lateiner (1928 – 2010); and his other mentors have included Solomon Mikowsky, the late Constance Keene, and Jonathan Feldman.
 

Ernest appears regularly in Europe, the U.S., Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. He is acclaimed for his wide concert repertoire, including not only standard concert works but also masterworks by many lesser known Russian, French, Spanish, and Latin American composers, such as Medtner, Kapustin, Bortkiewicz, Gliere, Mompou, Viñes, Fernández and Godowsky, alongside many others.
 


Besides active concertising, So is equally devoted to musical education, founding Atelier des Artistes in New York (2000) and PerformNow in Hong Kong (2005), and continues to curate a series of concerts each year in both cities. He has taught at the Kingston University (UK) and Hong Kong University, and currently serves as a Distinguished Visiting Professor for numerous universities in China, as Vice-Chairman of the Asia Musicians Association, and acts as an Affiliated Fellow of the Morningside College of CUHK. So also serves as Director of several international piano competitions, such as the Petrof International Piano Competition, Concurso Internacional de Piano “Ciudad de Vigo”, Dagestan International Festival of Young Talents, and HKYPAF.

 

Zhou Yun

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After studying and polishing her craft for many years with the celebrated Russian pianist, Professor Dina Parakhina, Zhou was awarded a 1st Class Master’s Degree in Music Performance from the Royal College of Music in London.

Since graduating, Zhou has drawn a large fan base and has enjoyed great success at home and abroad due to her stage charisma. Through her performances, she explores fusion music, incorporating beautiful melodies with western cultural music.

For the last few recent years, Zhou has been on a world tour, spanning numerous countries including the United Kingdom, Spain, Singapore, and China (including cities such as Shenzhen, Xiamen, Shandong, and Tianjin). She was described by Nouvelles D'Europe as 'universal with a clear, crisp, delicate, energetic, and imaginative tone'. In addition, she has served as a judge for several international competitions and seminars alongside being particularly active in music festivals across countries such as Hungary, Hong Kong, and Japan.

Zhou was most recently nominated as an adjudicator for the Grand Finals of the Carnegie Hall International Piano Competition in the United States, the Grand Finals of Vivace in France, and the 10th Edition of the Steinway & Sons National Youth Piano Competition.

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Partners and Sponors

We at The Piano Concerto Festival always strive for higher ideals. And so for our 4th edition, we have formed a number of new partnerships to improve the quality of our overall event experience.

Câmara Municipal de Faro

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The Piano Concerto Festival is proudly supported by the Faro city council. 

The Câmara Municipal de Faro is committed to providing its local population with access to the arts. As a governing organisation, they hold the strong belief that culture of all sorts is essential to the development of unique identities within their community.

Teatro das Figuras

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The Teatro das Figuras presents itself as a venue that is keen on building a continuous and creative relationship with its community, contributing to the cultural development of the city of Faro, the Algarve region and the country.

Above all else, it is a visually appeasing, modern theatre, with superb acoustics - perfect for piano concertos!

Teatro Lethes

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Teatro Lethes is a theatre dating back to 1605, having first been Jesuit college, before being inaugurated as a theatre in 1845. Between 1906 and 1908 the theatre underwent further renovation, to improve its acoustics and comfort.

 

Nowadays it exists an luxurious and intimate venue, perfect for chamber concertos and solo recitals.

Orquestra Do Algarve

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The Orquestra Do Algarve is dedicated to offering performances of high artistic quality to the regions of Algarve, Alentejo and the Setubal peninsula, as well as to the Spanish region of Andalusia.

The ensemble's standard is guaranteed through its process of selecting musicians through international public auditions, which has also resulted in bringing together a diverse group consisting of over 14 different nationalities.

Algarve Music Series

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The Algarve Music Series has offered performance opportunities for any festival participants of their own choosing.

Based in the Algarve region of Portugal, the Algarve Music Series is entering into its 8th edition in 2023. Whilst having a primary focus on chamber music, past concerts have also featured solo recitals and interdisciplinary collaborations.

G. Henle Verlag

Since being founded in 1948, G. Henle Verlag has firmly established itself as the world's premier authority regarding publications of classical music.

Henle have very generously offered to sponsor a special prize for one (or more) of the participants of our 3rd edition.

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Club Farense

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Club Farense is a unique, members only club situated in the heart of Faro.

Fortunately, for music lovers around Faro, Club Farense have offered to host a number of events during our 2023 edition.

Carlos Alonso Douro Wine

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Founded in the 1980s, Carlos Alonso Douro Wine Company produces some of the best wine around - right from the heart of the Douro Valley in Portugal.

As an organsiation, Carlos Alonso puts a great deal of emphasis upon nurturing personal relationships with local farmers, suppliers, and more recently - us!

Égide

Égide, Portuguese Association for the Arts, is a non-profit organisation in the service of cultural and social development in Portugal.

Égide acts as a bridge between prospective artists, show promoters and patrons, with the goal of promoting homegrown Portuguese talents.

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Gallery

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