AS strips of burnished sunlight poured through the stained glass windows, the queues snaked all the way down the Gothic staircase of the Great Hall.
Classical music fans from across the generations waited to watch the start of the hotly-anticipated Leeds International Piano Competition 2015.
‘The Leeds’, as it is affectionately known, got underway yesterday and for the next couple of weeks the sound of everyone from Beethoven and Bach, to Rachmaninov and Rubinstein, will drift melodically through the corridors of the University of Leeds.
Nearly 80 of the world’s finest young pianists from 19 different countries are taking part in this year’s competition as the judges hope to unearth another classical music superstar.
Yasmin Rowe, who came over from Manchester, said: “It’s a very prestigious competition and I’ve followed it for a long time. I’m a pianist myself so it’s interesting for me to come and hear people play and see how they play, I’m really looking forward to it.”
This year’s competition, the 18th in its history, will be the last with Dame Fanny Waterman at the helm. Dame Fanny, who co-founded ‘the Leeds’ in 1961, announced she was stepping down last December after five decades in charge.
Adam Gatehouse, who is taking over as joint artistic director of the competition with acclaimed pianist Paul Lewis after this year’s event, said: “There’s a sense of excitement and anticipation as the competitors walk on stage and for those taking part it’s a chance to win one of the greatest musical accolades.”
The finals will take place at Leeds Town Hall on September 11 and 12, with a gala finale on September 13.