A PRESTIGIOUS music competition viewed by millions will be held in Bradford as it leaves its home for the first time in its 60-year history. 

The finals of the Leeds International Piano Competition will take place in St George’s Hall this September, and the event is expected to attract some of the world’s finest pianists.

Bradford Council secured the finals for the city after awarding the competition a £13,000 grant from its Arts, Culture and Heritage Grants Fund.

One of the most highly-regarded music contests in the world, the competition is held every three years, and is streamed online where it is viewed by millions.

Early stages of the contest begin next week, with international first rounds being held in Paris, Beijing, New York and Seoul.

Sixty five pianists from across the globe will take part in the contest.

The final will be held at St George’s Hall on September 20 and 21.

A “piano trail” was recently launched in Bradford to celebrate the new partnership, with people invited to tinkle the ivories in the Broadway and Kirkgate Shopping Centres.

Awarding the grant, a Bradford Council spokesman said: “This is the first time the competition has left Leeds in its 60-year history.

“This will establish deeper roots in the Bradford community and engage with new audiences.

“This positions Bradford at the centre of a prestigious international arts event, offering a unique opportunity to showcase the discovery of inspirational young talent to a global audience of millions through international streaming platforms and the BBC.”

The popularity of the contest can be seen in the fact that of the contestants, 19 hail from China and 12 from South Korea.

Fiona Sinclair, CEO of the competition, said: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Bradford City Council as we bring our world-famous piano competition to Bradford in September 2024.

“Bradford is a warm and welcoming host for our international pianists, who will come to St. George's Hall to compete in a nail-biting showdown of exceptional talent viewed by millions all over the world.

“We're bringing this excitement out of the concert hall and into the community throughout the year. We have just launched the new Bradford Piano Trail, installing permanent pianos in the Broadway and Kirkgate Shopping Centres, available for everyone to play and enjoy. We're looking forward to bringing the joy of the piano to new audiences across the city, including giving 100 free piano lessons in the 100 days before Bradford becomes UK City of Culture.”