The other major competition for pianists is in Leeds England, an unlikely place for one of the greatest musical events in the world. But the Leeds has named exceptional prize winners in the past. Murray Perahia, for instance, was the First Prize winner in 1972. Perahia, Radu Lupu and Mitsuko Uchida (winners in 1969 and 1975 respectively) are giants of the piano world.
Pianist Andrew Brownell, former student of Portland teacher Florence Chino, scaled this Everest of competitions in 2006: he won Second Prize in the prestigious Leeds Competition. Portland Piano International is proud to have named him a Young Artist in the 2003-2004 season. You can see photos of Andrew and the other talented young artists here:
The initial First Prize winner in the Leeds, awarded in 1963, went to Michael Roll, an elegant master of the classical repertoire and the next guest of Portland Piano International. Roll has appeared on the series in the past, and also in the Portland International Piano Festival (then Piano Festival Northwest) in 2005. His recital there featured one of the most beautiful Schubert Bb Major Sonatas (D. 960) I’ve ever heard. He is among the greatest in this repertoire.
Jeremy Siepmann, author of “The Piano: The Complete Illustrated Guide to the World’s Most Popular Musical Instrument”, calls Roll “the mysteriously neglected English pianist”, and points out that he made his London debut at the Royal Festival Hall at age twelve playing the Schumann Concerto.
Other Leeds winners who have presented Portland Piano International recitals: Andras Schiff, Lydia Artymiw, Diana Kacso, Christopher O’Riley, Louis Lortie, Sara Buechner, and Noriko Ogawa.
Jackie Parker, who recently played two brilliant recitals in Portland, was a First Prize Leeds winner in 1984.