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Bluthner piano

First prize for RCM student in the Leeds International Piano Competition 2021

Monday 20 September 2021

The Royal College of Music congratulates students Alim Beisembayev and Thomas Kelly on their outstanding achievements at Leeds International Piano Competition.

Alim Beisembayev, currently in the second year of his Master's degree at the RCM, was awarded first prize and the Waterman Gold Medal in the final of the Leeds International Piano Competition on Sunday 19 September. The significant prize includes various concerto and recital engagements – including a début at Wigmore Hall and a recital at London’s Southbank Centre as well as a recording contract with Warner Music. Alim will also benefit from mentoring and coaching opportunities from internationally renowned piano experts. Alim studies at the Royal College of Music with Professor Vanessa Latarche.

The RCM was also represented in the final by Thomas Kelly who was awarded fifth prize in the prestigious competition. Thomas is in the first year of a Master’s degree at the RCM studying with Professor Dmitri Alexeev.

Professor Vanessa Latarche, Head of Keyboard at the RCM comments: ‘The Leeds’ is one of the world’s most important piano competitions and it is a phenomenal achievement for the Royal College of Music to have not only the first prize-winner Alim Beisembayev, but also the fifth prize-winner Thomas Kelly. We are thrilled and proud of our gifted artists and congratulate them on this wonderful success.’

Speaking of Alim’s first success, Global Leeds Ambassador and renowned pianist Lang Lang said ‘Congratulations to the fantastic musician Alim Beisembayev for his wonderful performance at the finals of the Leeds International Piano Competition, I look forward to hearing him in person when I next visit the RCM.'

The Leeds International Piano Competition is one of the foremost music competitions and has been since its founding by Dame Fanny Waterman, Marion Thorpe Countess of Harewood and Rosalyn Lyons in 1963. The competition regularly attracts the world’s finest, most ambitious young pianists. Previous prize-winners include the Competition’s Patron Murray Perahia KBE, Radu Lupu, Mitsuko Uchida, András Schiff, Lars Vogt, Anna Tsybuleva, Federico Colli and Eric Lu.