Leeds International Piano Competition finals to be held in Bradford in 2024 as festival founded in 1961 relocates

The finals of the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition will be held in Bradford in 2024, the next year the contest is staged.

‘The Leeds’, which takes place every three years, was founded in 1961 by legendary local pianist Dame Fanny Waterman and her close friend Marion, Countess of Harewood.

The preliminary rounds are held at the University of Leeds, with the top musicians traditionally performing at Leeds Town Hall for the finale.

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Due to refurbishment work at the Victorian town hall, organisers have now confirmed that St George’s Hall in Bradford will be the host venue instead.

St George's Hall, BradfordSt George's Hall, Bradford
St George's Hall, Bradford

The finals take place on September 20 and 21, 2024. Early rounds will still take place at the university.

The decision was partly made to align both the Bradford City of Culture 2025 and Leeds Year of Culture 2023 programmes.

Chief executive Fiona Sinclair said: "St George's Hall is a stunning and historic venue in the heart of Bradford, a city with amazing personality and warmth. In the 100 days before Bradford becomes UK City of Culture, we are proud to celebrate the culmination of our 2024 Competition with our friends in Bradford in front of a global audience."

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Dame Fanny Waterman remained at the helm of the competition until well into her 90s, stepping down in 2015. She died in 2020. Her home near Roundhay Park was where famous guests such as Benjamin Britten, Alan Bennett and Don Revie would gather for soirees where she would play her Steinway grand pianos.

Marion Stein, an Austrian musician who later married the seventh Earl of Harewood, was also a regular visitor and the decor at the Waterman home, Woodgarth, was inspired by Harewood House.