The Sydney Piano Lovers’ Competition

For 43 years the Sydney International Piano Competition (The Sydney) has been a career launchpad for elite young pianists. Now, as we anticipate the rescheduled 2020 competition next year, we want to find those in our Australian community who have a penchant for piano playing, are aged 30+ and are not in any way professional pianists. We announce The Sydney Piano Lovers’ Competition.

If this sounds like you, we encourage you to enter. Have you had some more hours to practise recently, or do you need a new musical goal? The winner’s musicianship and technical mastery will be rewarded with an invitation to play in the 2021 Sydney International Online Piano Competition’s Australian Showcase and receive further professional feedback from the seven international jury members.

The jury for The Sydney Piano Lovers’ Competition will be Artistic Director Piers Lane AO, Kathron Sturrock (Royal College of Music, London) and Nikos Stavlas (Morley College, London).

Key Dates

  • Entries open: Tuesday 1 September 2020, 10am AEST
  • Entries close: Friday 13 November 2020, 5pm AEDT
  • Winners’ Announcement Zoom: Saturday 5 December 2020, 8pm AEDT


The winner of The Sydney Piano Lovers’ Competition will be invited to perform in the Australian Showcase at the Sydney International Online Piano Competition, July 2021, and receive professional feedback from the international jury.

 All entrants will receive reports from the three members of the jury and a Certificate of Participation from The Sydney.


The winners of The Sydney Piano Lovers’ Competition were announced by our international jury via Zoom on Saturday 5 December 2020. Click below to watch the winning performances.



Piers Lane AO
Artistic Director
Kathron Sturrock
Nikos Stavlas

Eligibility, Rules and Process

1. Eligibility

    1. The competition is open to Australian citizens or permanent residents aged 30 years or over on 13 November 2020.
    2. Entrants should not derive their primary income from playing or teaching classical piano or other keyboard instruments.
    3. Entrants may have studied piano/other keyboard instrument at a tertiary level
    4. The winner must cover their own travel, accommodation and ancillary expenses to perform in the Australian Showcase in Sydney in June-July 2021.

2. Jury

    1. All applicants will receive a report on their playing from the jury:
      • Piers Lane AO (Artistic Director of The Sydney) Australia
      • Kathron Sturrock (Royal College of Music, London) UK
      • Nikos Stavlas (Morley College and City Lit. London) Greece
    2. The jury’s decision is final and binding.
    3. There will be no appeal process and no correspondence will be entered into.

3. Repertoire

    1. Entrants may choose their own classical repertoire.
    2. The entry may include single movements from sonatas or suites.
    3. It may consist of one work or several.
    4. Only solo piano works will be accepted. No ensemble or vocal works.
    5. Performances may be from memory or from the score.
    6. Repertoire at all levels of difficulty is welcomed. The jury will take into consideration the entrant’s musicianship and technical mastery of their chosen repertoire.
    7. Entrants may play the piece(s) they would play during the 2021 competition or may submit different repertoire.

4. Online Entries

    1. Entries open Tuesday 1 September 2020, 10am AEDT.
    2. Entries close Friday 13 November 2020 at 5pm AEST.
    3. Results will be announced Saturday 5 December 2020 at 6pm AEST.
    4. A non-refundable entry fee of AUD $82.50 including GST is payable
    5. Entry must be accompanied by the entry fee.
    6. Late entries will not be accepted.

5. Supporting Documents

    1. All documents must be submitted online at the time of application.
    2. Audition video(s) must meet the criteria listed below.
    3. Copy of current passport or proof of permanent residence in Australia.
    4. A brief account of musical background and aspirations.
    5. A brief account of non-musical studies and professional life.
    6. Repertoire details of submitted video/s.
    7. Repertoire details for June 2021 (if different to 5e.).

6. Video Recording Requirements

    1. Total time of recording(s) must not be less than 5 minutes nor more than 20 minutes.
    2. The video must show the face and hands of the entrant at all times.
    3. The video may be a single, unedited recording of the entrant, or may consist of separate unedited recordings.
    4. Multiple cameras are allowed as long as the performance itself is unedited, but one camera angle is acceptable.
    5. Different pieces may be recorded on different occasions, but all recordings must be no more than 6 months old (must be made since 1 March 2020).
    6. The recording should be of excellent technical quality.
    7. Post-production affecting the sound quality is permitted but must be stated.
    8. Videos may be made available online and used for publicity (with each entrant’s permission). Therefore sound, video quality and background should be carefully considered.
    9. Video should be recorded preferably on a piano, not on an electric keyboard or other keyboard instrument. Please note that the winner will be performing on an acoustic concert grand piano.

Videos should be uploaded via Youtube.

  1. Sign into Youtube with a Google Account (See video tutorial below)
  2. Click the upload button in the top right corner
  3. If you do not have a Youtube Channel, follow the prompts to set one up.
  4. Select the file you wish to upload
  5. Fill in any details you wish to include such as video title etc.
  6. Choose the privacy settings for your video. We recommend you make your video application ‘Unlisted’. Only people with the URL can view this video.
  7. Copy the URL link for your video and include it in your application

Video Tutorials

How to Sign In to Youtube/Create an Account

How to upload an unlisted video to your Youtube Account

How to Copy your Video’s URL

Do I need to have reached a certain grade in piano to submit an application?
No, repertoire at all levels of difficulty is welcomed. However, mature musicianship and technical mastery of the chosen repertoire will be important considerations when choosing the winner.

May I create a video application by recording and editing together multiple takes of each performance?
No. Each piece must be performed in one single take, although multiple camera angles are accepted.

I am interested in applying but not ready to submit my application. What should I do?
Please submit your email address above to register your interest and we’ll contact you with any new or updated information about the competition. If you would like to speak with a member of staff to discuss your entry further, please email us here. 

Does my video application need to be professionally recorded?
No, videos can be recorded at home. As the video may be made available to the public with your permission, we would recommend getting the best quality recording available to you. Give yourself the best chance of capturing your musicianship and skill!

I do not want my video to be made public. What should I do?
Please indicate this preference in your application.

I teach piano for a living. May I apply?
No, entrants should not be professional keyboard players and should not derive their main income from playing or teaching any keyboard instrument, but may have studied piano or another keyboard instrument at a tertiary level

I work in the music industry but not as a professional pianist or other keyboardist or as a keyboard instrument teacher. May I apply?

I do not have access to a quality piano to record my video application. What should I do?
Please email us here, indicating your location and we’ll share some recommendations of music studios around Australia. The Sydney is unable to cover any expenses associated with your entry, such as piano hire, studio expenses or travel.

I am an Australian citizen/permanent resident but no longer live in Australia. May I apply?
Yes. Please note that the winner of The Sydney Piano Lovers’ Competition will be invited to participate in the Australian Showcase in Sydney in June 2021 at their own expense.

What repertoire should I choose?
Repertoire is the entrant’s own choice, of any level of difficulty. It must be for solo piano, may consist of one work or several and may include single movements from sonatas or suites. It should be between 5 and 20 minutes long. We encourage you to choose repertoire that best displays your musicianship and technical skills.

I’m playing a number of pieces. May I upload each performance separately? Do I need to record them one after another?
Preferably, the entry should be one single video but multiple videos will be accepted as long as they follow the application guidelines. Please note, the time limit of between 5 and 20 minutes is for the entire application. Different pieces may be recorded on different occasions.

May I choose to perform the same piece if I am selected to perform during the Australian Showcase in 2021?
Yes, entrants may play the piece(s) included in their video entry for the Australian Showcase performance in the 2021 Sydney International Piano Competition, or may submit different repertoire.

I’ve submitted my application but no longer wish to compete. May I get a refund?
No, entry fees are non-refundable.

I need help recording my video. What should I do?
Please read the guidelines around recording your video carefully. We recommend asking someone for assistance. Find the best quality recording device available to you, place it on a sturdy platform or tripod, testing the angle and distance from the piano to obtain the best range and quality of tone. The entrant’s face and hands must be seen at all times during the recording. Note that an open piano lid usually results in a better recorded sound.

May I use the music during my performance? 

I sometimes play light music for weddings or in restaurants, or sometimes accompany hymns on the organ or keyboard in church. Am I eligible to apply for this competition?
Yes, as long as you don’t derive income from performing or teaching classical music on piano, harpsichord, organ or keyboard, you may enter.

Donate Now

Family, friends and supporters – you can assist The Sydney Piano Lovers’ Competition with a tax-deductible donation. Your gift ensures The Sydney will flourish into 2021. Email Miranda Davis, Philanthropy and Development Director, for more details.