For the sixteenth time, the town of Ettlingen is organizing an International Competition for Young Pianists, from August 4-12, 2018. The competition is open to young pianists of all nationalities, including stateless people.
There are no restrictions of any kind with regard to the musical education of the competitor (e. g. university, college, academy, conservatoire, music school or private instruction).
All stages of the competition are open to the public.
By participating in the competition, all candidates cede to the Competition the right to record, reproduce and distribute their performances in the competition. Fees may not be claimed by any competitor on account of recordings or broadcasts made during the whole competition.
In the event of disagreements or differences of opinion arising from translation, the German text of the printed brochure is definitive.
The competition is divided into two categories.
Category A: Competitors born after August 3, 2002
Category B: Competitors born after August 3, 1997
Competitors may perform in one category only.
Competitors who have already won a First Prize in a former International Competition for Young Pianists in Ettlingen may not compete again in the same category.
(Competitors born after August 3, 2002)
The competition for Category A will take place in one round.
All pieces must be played from memory.
Competitors may perform their programme with or without repeats, as long as the total length of the programme remains within the prescribed playing time. The jury reserves the right to stop the competitor if the performance exceeds the time limit.
The total playing time must amount to at least 20 minutes, but must not exceed 25 minutes.
1. An etude from ”Art of Finger Dexterity” op. 740 by Czerny
or one of the following etudes:
Chopin, from op. 10, nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 12; from op. 25 nos. 1, 2, 6, 9, 11;
Liszt, Concert Etudes ”Waldesrauschen”, ”Gnomenreigen”, ”La leggierezza”, ”Un sospiro”.
2. One movement from a sonata by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven.
3. One or more works or single movements from the Baroque period up to the present.
The audio-recordings for the preliminary judging should contain the following works:
a) The etude (Repertoire section 1)
b) One work or movement from section 2 or 3
(Competitors born after August 3, 1997)
The competition for category B will take place in two rounds.
For the second round, approximately twelve competitors will be chosen from those taking part in the first round.
The jury reserves the right to stop the competitor if the performance exceeds the time limit.
All works must be played from memory.
First Round: The total playing time must amount to at least 15 min, but must not exceed 20 min.
1. Haydn: The first movement of a sonata of the competitor's choice, without repeats.
2. J. S. Bach: One Prelude and Fugue from the ”Well-Tempered Clavier” Book I or ll.
3. An etude by Chopin, Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Rachmaninov or Scriabin.
4. One or more pieces or movements chosen by the competitor, which may also be chosen from the repertoire of the second round.
Second Round: The total playing time including repeats must amount to at least 30 minutes, but must not exceed 40 minutes
5. A sonata by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven or Schubert.
6. One or more romantic works.
7. One or more works from Impressionism up to the present.
Pieces required in section 1, 2 and 3 (first round) may not be played in the second round.
Competitors may perform their second round with or without repeats, as long as the total length of the programme remains within the prescribed playing time.
The audio-recordings for the preliminary judging should contain the following works:
a) The first movement of the Haydn-Sonata (Repertoire section 1)
b) The etude (Repertoire section 3)
c) One work or movement from section 6 or 7
Applications can be made online on this website from January 1, 2018 until May 4, 2018. After the deadline, no further applications are possible.
The application should contain the following:
a) the fully completed online-application form
b) a recent passport photo (portrait in good quality)
c) Scan of the ID-Card or Passport (page with picture)
d) mp3-files with audio-recordings by the applicant
(see "Preliminary Judging" and "Repertoire Category A", "Repertoire Category B")
A preliminary judging based on the recordings will determine who may take part in the competition. The jury for the preliminary judging will consist of Robert Benz (Germany, President), André Marchand (Germany) and Kristin Merscher (Germany). The candidates’ name and nationality will be unknown to the jury during the preliminary judging.
All prizewinners of former Ettlingen International Competitions for Young Pianists will be allowed to take part without submitting a recording.
Four weeks after the closing date, the results of the preliminary judging will be sent to all applicants.
Together with the result of the preliminary judging, successful applicants will receive further information regarding the competition.
On arriving at Ettlingen the applicants who have been accepted are asked to report to the competition office and to present a valid passport for their registration.
The order of playing will be decided by ballot. The competitors must be present personally when the registration and drawing of lots take place.
Applicants who have not been accepted after the preliminary judging are not obliged to pay a fee.
The entrance fee for successful applicants is 120 Euro and this must be paid by July 1, 2018.
It should be made payable free of charge for the payee to
Account number (IBAN)
DE73 6605 0101 0001 0707 05
Bank postal address
Sparkasse Karlsruhe, Kaiserstraße 223, 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany
On payment the full name of the competitor should be given.
The fee cannot be refunded in the case of applicants who have been accepted on the grounds of their recording and have then decided to withdraw.
Robert Benz, Germany (President)
received his first piano lessons from his father at the age of 4 years. He studied with Naoyuki Taneda at the University of Music in Karlsruhe, and with Rosina Lhevinne and Martin Canin at the Juilliard School in New York. He won first prize at both the International Busoni Competition in Bolzano in 1974 and in 1976 at the International Liszt-Bartók Competition in Budapest. Concert engagements have taken him throughout Europe, the USA, Korea and Japan. Robert Benz has recorded the complete cycle of Beethoven's piano sonatas onto CD and has been the Trio Bamberg's pianist since 1996. He has also held the chair of Professor for Piano at the University of Music in Mannheim since 1990.
Christopher Elton, Great Britain
Daejin Kim, Republic of Korea
Alexander Kobrin, USA
Wolfgang Manz, Germany
André Marchand, Germany (Preliminary Judging)
Kristin Merscher, Germany
Zuzana Niederdorfer, Slovakia
Barbara Szczepanska, Germany
Erik T. Tawaststjerna, Finland
The competitor's performance will be assessed on a points system.
If a member of the jury has taught a competitor within the last two years, he will abstain from assessing that competitor.
The results for Category B will be announced after each round has finished, and for Category A after the competition for this category.
The decisions of the jury are final and not subject to question, review or appeal.
1. Prize 3,000 Euro
2. Prize 1,500 Euro
3. Prize 1,000 Euro
4. Prize 750 Euro
5. Prize 600 Euro
1. Prize 6,000 Euro
2. Prize 3,000 Euro
3. Prize 1,500 Euro
4. Prize 1,250 Euro
5. Prize 1,000 Euro
• Encouragement Awards (Categories A and B)
• Special commendation for young talents (Category A)
• Haydn-Prize (Category B)
• EMCY Special Prize (Category B)
The First Prize of both categories cannot be shared.
The First Prizewinner in Category B will be invited to give a concert in Ettlingen. In addition to this there is an invitation to perform a piano recital in Trier (Germany).
Selected participants will be invited to a master class at the Junior Academy Eppan (Italy) .
The prizewinners are obliged, according to the wishes of the jury, to participate in the Awards Ceremony and Prizewinners' Concert, otherwise they will lose their right to the prize awarded.
Fri, August 03, 19:00 h, Drawing of lots at the Musikschule
Sat, August 04, 09:30 h, Start of the First Round at the castle
Mon, August 06, 18:00 h, End of the First Round at the castle
Mon, August 06, ca. 20:30 h, Announcement of the results at the Musikschule
Tue, August 07, 09:30 h, Start of the Second Round at the castle
Wed, August 08, 13:00 h, End of the Second Round at the castle
Wed, August 08, ca. 16:00 h, Announcement of the results at the Musikschule
Wed, August 08, 17:00 h, Drawing of lots at the Musikschule
Thu, August 09, 09:30 h, Start of the auditions at the castle
Sat, August 11, 18:00 h, End of the auditions at the castle
Sat, August 11, ca. 20:30 h, Announcement of the results at the Musikschule
Category A + B
Sun, August 12, 11:30-13:30 Uhr, Awards Ceremony and Prizewinners' Concert at the “Stadthalle"
A Steinway Grand Piano, Model C, will be used for the auditions in the castle. For the Prizewinners' Concert in the “Stadthalle” the instrument will be a Steinway Grand Piano, Model D.
There will be around 30 Yamaha upright pianos available for practising purposes at the Musikschule. They may be used between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. during the time of the competition.
If you wish, we help you to coordinate your hotel-reservation. In this case, please contact us before June 15, 2018.
A limited number of private accomodation (free breakfast and overnight stay) is available for competitors.
The first five prizewinners in Category A and B only, are guests of the competition organizer from the time of the announcement of the results until the Prizewinners' Concert.
Download Hotel-List Ettlingen
Coming by airplane
Frankfurt/Main is the most convenient airport. Express trains (ICE/IC) depart about 200m away from Terminal 1 (follow signs “Fernbahnhof/Long-distance Station”). From there take a train to Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof (Main Station). One way takes around 1 hour and costs around 40 Euros. Cheaper connections depart from the basement of the airport (follow signs "Regionalbahnhof/Regional Station", travel time around 2 hours, about 30 Euros). Timetables and fares for all trains on www.bahn.de. Ettlingen is 8 km away from Karlsruhe Station and can be reached by tram line "S1 Ettlingen", tram stop "Ettlingen Stadt", around 4 Euros, or by taxi (approx. 15 Euros) within 15 minutes. You can book a ticket valid from Frankfurt Airport to "Ettlingen Stadt", so it's not necessary to buy a separate tram-ticket in Karlsruhe.
Coming by train
Get off at Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof, (Main Station). Ettlingen is 8 km away from Karlsruhe station and can be reached within 15 minutes either by taxi (approx. 15 Euros) or tram (line "S1 Ettlingen", tram stop "Ettlingen Stadt", around 4 Euros).
Coming by car
take motorway A5 or A8 and leave the motorway A5 at the exit No. 47, "Ettlingen".