23-year-old Alim Beisembayev wins Leeds International Piano Competition

Alim Beisembayev Leeds International Piano Competition Winner 2021

A young Khazakhstani pianist has beaten finalists from Japan, Israel, Ukraine and the UK to win the Waterman Medal and a £25,000 prize at ‘the Leeds’.

The life-changing award means Alim Beisembayev will also gain worldwide management with Askonas Holt, a recording contract with Warner Classics and a European Tour organised in partnership with Steinway and Sons. He has already performed with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, will be playing at the Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre and will receive professional mentoring and advice in all aspects of his future professional career.

Beisembayev was a child prodigy who studied at the Moscow Central Music School from the age of five and the Purcell School for young musicians, during which time he also won the Junio Cliburn International Competition in the USA. He went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London and had his debut recital at the Wigmore Hall in 2018.

This is the 20th such competition and Beisembayev also won the Audience Prize and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society Prize for performance of a 20th/21st Century work.

Imogen Cooper, Chair of the Jury, said, ‘Alim Beysembayev is an extraordinary pianist, he has all sorts of gifts. I was particularly impressed with the Ligeti studies he played in the Semi-Finals. They are some of the hardest ones out there and he played without any scores at all, it was breath-taking. He also played magnificently in the Final, playing with such aplomb, assurance and fabulous technique creating a beautiful sound. I think he’s a big star for the future and I’m very glad that he’s landed the First Prize.’

The other finalists also won cash prizes, concert opportunities and professional support. They were Kaito Kobayashi from Japan, who also won the Yaltah Menuhin Award for Chamber Music, Ariel Lanyi from Israel, Dmytro Choni from Ukraine and Thomas Kelly from the UK.

The next Leeds competition will be in 2024. Further details on the winners and their performances can be found at

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