The idea for the Ricard Viñes Piano Competition was instigated by the inauguration of the “Enric Granados” Auditorium in the City of Lleida in 1995, the building in which the City of Lleida Professional Conservatoire of Music is also located. Its infrastructure offers excellent facilities for holding the summer course, which is organized every year by the conservatoire, entirely compatible with the contest. The “Enric Granados” Auditorium has thirty study rooms of different sizes, with acoustic and climatic conditioning, as well as a library and sound archive. There are two concert halls in the building, the symphonic hall, which holds 803 people, and the chamber hall, which holds 245 people. Both halls have an exceptional acoustic quality, making the “Enric Granados” Auditorium one of the finest in the country.
The contest takes place in the chamber hall, using a Steinway concert piano.
The planning for the Piano Course allows for an ideal combination of activities. Instructors invited to teach during the course make up the panels of judges for the contest and offer concerts, while students who participate in the course also make up the audiences of the contest performances. All this goes to make a real summer festival with the piano and piano music at its centre.
The contest has continued to evolve since its creation. In the first place, the prize money has increased with time. Secondly, one of the main objectives of the contest has been achieved, that is, to offer young pianists the possibility performing and becoming well-known. In this respect, we would like to point out that initially concerts were offered in the “Enric Granados” Auditorium and later the opportunity arose of giving recitals at the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona and at the Academia de Belles Arts in Sabadell, a town near Barcelona.
At a more recent stage of the contest, a new section was introduced which not only caters for the performer of piano recitals, but also for the pianist as orchestral soloist. That is why a new test was included in Category A in which contestants had to play as a soloist of a concerto. This has led to the inclusion of three concerts: one with the Vallès Symphony Orchestra (at the “Enric Granados” Auditorium, in Lleida), another in the Palau de la Música Catalana and in the Teatre la Faràndula in Sabadell, in the prize. The chance for the Category A winner to perform a concert in one of the series in the Barcelona Auditorium, the most important hall in Calalunya, has also been agreed on.
Coinciding with the introduction of Euro notes and coins in 2002, it has been decided to extend the conditions of entry for contestants so that pianists from the European Union will be eligible to compete. This change has been made in accordance with the desire to make our country better known internationally and to create links with those countries which are participating in this new project. Since 2007, we have been offering places for pianists from all over the world to take part in the competition.
From the 2010 edition, because of the increased competition participants, we incorporate some changes that mean a new change of direction: a considerable increase in the prize money, new awards for the best Spanish participants, the competition will be one day longer, and substitute the final test concert Category A (with reduction for two pianos) for a 45 minutes solo recital.
For the 2011 edition, there’s a little change on the competition rules increasing freedom of the contestants on the choice of the repertoire.
The Ricard Viñes International Piano Competition is organized by Lleida Professional Conservatoire and Enric Granados Auditorium. Since 2010, we are member of the Internacional Association Piano Competitions Alink-Argerich Foundation.