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Guide to the Liszt Competition


The Liszt Competition Utrecht actively presents, develops and promotes piano talents from around the world. In so doing, it has become one of the prominent gateways to the international professional classical music scene for young musicians. The starting point is the triennial International Liszt Competition, held at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands, which was founded in 1986 and since has built a reputation as one of the world’s most prestigious piano competitions. The role model for the competition is pianist, composer and visionary Franz Liszt (1811-1886).

Previous winners include Enrico Pace (1989), Igor Roma (1996), Yundi Li (1999), Yingdi Sun(2005), Vitaly Pisarenko (2008), Nino Gvetadze (2008), Mariam Batsashvili (2014) and Alexander Ullman (2017). The Liszt Competition is known for its bold repertoire choices, and each edition focuses on different unknown pieces. In its 12th edition (2020), the competition will have an even stronger artistic profile, with a central theme: ‘Beethoven’. The compulsory repertoire will include Liszt’s transcriptions of song cycles and the symphonies of Beethoven, as well as the Fantasy for piano and orchestra based on themes of Beethoven’s Ruins of Athens. Furthermore, original compositions of Beethoven are allowed as part of the free choice repertoire.

The 12th edition of the Liszt Competition will take place from 16 to 28 March 2020, with selection rounds in September 2019.

Competition Essentials

The Liszt Competition is known for the professional support it offers its laureates.

Selection rounds: September 2019
Semi-finals: 17 – 22 March 2020

International Selection Rounds: September 2019 in New York, Moscow, Tbilisi, Shanghai, Hong Kong & Utrecht

Click here for the Liszt Competition site and repertoire.


Over € 50.000 in prize money

Three-year Career Development Programme: including a CD release, PR package, media training and concert engagements in more than 25 countries worldwide.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): 12th edition of the Liszt Competition cancelled

"With the greatest sadness we have to announce that the 12th edition of the Liszt Competition needs to be cancelled.Earlier today the Dutch Government has ordered a ban on all public events, which has led to the decision to cease all operations of the venue TivoliVredenburg and the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra till April 1st.

We mostly feel sorry for the 14 amazing pianists who have invested so much time and effort to prepare their concerts, and who do not have the chance to present this to the world. We are doing our best to find a solution in the near future to offer this opportunity and hope to announce something shortly."

For more information, please visit their website.

Fact file
Deadline01 May 2019
Finals25 - 28 Mar 2020
WhereUtrecht, Netherlands
Age groups20-29
Recent Laureates: What are their stories?
« Winner Batsashvili turns every phrase into something special. »
Dutch Newspaper, NRC Handelsblad
« It was the poetry and the rhetoric with which the experienced Ullman won the competition. Trouw »