Announcing the winners of the 2024 Alexis Gregory Vendome Prize

in Partnership with Mannes School of Music

Grand Prize: Robert Bily

Finalist Awards: Anthony Ratinov and Ido Zeev

Vendome Virtuosi: Roman Fediurko and Dmitry Yudin

Learn more!


Performance musicians generally enter the most difficult period of their lives immediately after finishing their studies, a period that lasts until they finally gain a solid foothold in the professional world. At this stage of their career, young artists need help, advice, funding, and a chance to prove themselves in front of a large audience. A professional recording, participation in master classes, publicity materials, and active management are other elements necessary to introduce a talented performer to the public successfully. By offering the winner a major cash prize and a debut CD recording, we are helping them forge a successful path toward fulfilling their potential.

The purpose of the Vendome Prize is to seek out, reward, support, and guide future professional artists who are technically perfect, magnetic, original, ambitious, in possession of a large repertoire, and ready to undertake the challenges of a performing career. Throughout the years, we have built an enviable reputation for discovering extraordinary talent and bringing it to the music world's attention. Many of the pianists who first triumphed at the Vendome have gone on to win major awards and now have resonant international careers.

Since 2000, we have established partnerships with some of the leading professors from the top music academies in the world and several world-renowned performance artists. Before each edition, we reach out to them and ask for recommendations of exceptionally gifted pianists they have met and/or listened to with great interest. Heads of piano departments worldwide forward the names of the most accomplished students in their schools. We send invitations to apply to all these recommended pianists, who can only then fill out an application. This ensures that a high-quality selection is already made from the very early stages of the competition.


2000 - The first Vendome Prize

Throughout the years, jury members included Byron Janis, Christa Ludwig, Constantine Orbellian, Cyprien Katsaris, Elizabeth Leonskaya, Jeffrey Tate, Joan Sutherland, Philippe Entremont, Ilana Vered, Joaquin Achucarro, Richard Bonynge and Stephen Kovacevich, to name a few.

2003 - Grand prize ex-aequo with the Gulbenkian Symphony

As of 2003, the Vendome Prize moved to the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon and became part of the Sintra Summer Festival. The Gulbenkian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lawrence Foster, joined our finalists in the Gulbenkian concert halls in Lisbon and Sintra. The Grand Prize was shared by Giuseppe Albanese and Boris Giltburg, runner up was Alexander Pirojenko.

A series of live preliminary rounds were held throughout Europe in major centers such as Vienna and Paris. The semi-finals took place at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

At the time (and until 2009), pianists were tested on their ability to perform random selections of their submitted concertos, accompanied by a second piano; this counted towards their final score.

2006 - An American in Lisbon

In 2006, also in Lisbon, American pianist Stephen Beus won the Grand Prize over Andrei Korobeinikov from Russia. Roman Rabinovich and Matei Varga were Vendome Virtuosi. A Vendome Virtuoso is a semi-finalist whose performance was particularly appreciated by the jury but did not advance to the finals.

At this particular edition, the piano concertos test took place on the same day as the semi-final round, two hours later. Following this session, which became a sort of “second semi-final,” two pianists were selected to perform with the orchestra the following day.

2009 - A glamorous adieu to Portugal

In 2009, during the last Vendome held in Lisbon, Denis Kozhukhin won the Grand Prize, and the runner-up was Dmitri Levkovich. Kozhukhin went on to win the top prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 2010.

All three Vendome Virtuosi performed in a Grand Gala Concert at the Sintra Festival, followed by a party and formal dinner at the villa of the Duchess of Cadaval.

2014 - The Vendome Prize at The Verbier Festival

After a five-year hiatus, in 2014, the Vendome Prize moved to Verbier, Switzerland, and became part of the prestigious music festival. During its first edition in Verbier, the competition brought together some of the leading young pianists in the world who competed for the top spot, among them George Li, Francois Dumont, Adi Neuhaus, and eventual winner Yekwon Sunwoo (who went on to win the Gold Medal at the Cliburn in 2017).

For the first time, the jury awarded three prizes instead of just one Grand Prize. Also a first, the three finalists had to perform a big chamber music work; at this edition, they were joined by the Jerusalem String Quartet.

2017 - No First Prize Winner, but still a superb group of finalists

In 2017, there was no first prize winner. Do-Hyun Kim and Sam Hong shared second prize, and Aristo Sham placed third.

The Gringolts String Quartet performed with our finalists.

Following the death of Jeffrey Tate, Chairman of the Vendome Jury since 2000, pianist Gordon Back was appointed to replace him.

2019 - The last Vendome in Verbier

At the latest Vendome Prize in 2019, Latvian Daumants Liepins was voted unanimously First Prize Winner, while Dmytro Choni and Sae Yoon Chon placed second and third, respectively. The Calidore String Quartet provided superb partnership during the final round, joining the three pianists in selections from Mozart’s K 449 and Chopin’s op. 11 and op. 21 piano concertos (in arrangement for soloist and string quartet).

Because of excessive heat in New York City, semi-finalist Mackenzie Melemed had to rebook his flight three times before getting to Switzerland, where he landed a few hours before his scheduled performance in the competition.

2020 - A new home and a tribute to our Founder

After the passing of Vendome's Founder and Honorary President, Alexis Gregory, in 2020, the Alexis Gregory Foundation, led by Peter Gregory, generously decided to continue the award and its support of outstanding young artists.

In 2022, the competition occurred at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City and reverted to its initial format, in which only one Grand Prize was given (though each finalist received a cash award). For the first time in its history, the final round was a solo recital with a mandatory piece to be performed by all three pianists.

2023 - The Mannes School of Music

Following a grant made by The Alexis Gregory Foundation to The New School's College of Performing Arts, the Mannes School of Music will manage, host, and present the Vendome Prize piano competition for at least the next three editions: 2024, 2026 and 2028.

2024 JURY

Gordon Back, Chairman

Gordon Back’s distinguished career as a pianist has taken him to many continents of the world. His international reputation was established in 1978 when he played with Dong-Suk Kang in Alice Tully Hall, New York, to great critical acclaim. Since then he has travelled extensively throughout Europe, Russia, U.S.A., Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore and of course, Great Britain, performing and recording with artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Nathan Milstein, Maxim Vengerov, Aaron Rosand, Josef Suk, Sarah Chang, Yo Yo Ma, Ko Iwasaki, Leonidas Kavakos and the Cleveland Quartet.

Gordon Back was born in Wales and studied piano and viola at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He was awarded the Lady Grace James Scholarship, which enabled him to take up his post-graduate studies in Italy, studying with Guido Agosti and Sergio Lorenzi. On returning to England he was one of the youngest ever appointed professors to join the faculty of the Guildhall School of Music (London) in 1974, where he was made head of the Department of Accompaniment in 1980. He received the honour of being made a Fellow of the Guildhall School in 1984.

Gordon Back was an official accompanist to major international violin competitions including the Queen Elisabeth Competition, the Carl Flesch Competition (London), the International Tchaikovsky Competition (Moscow), the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis (U.S.A.) and the Menuhin Competition (UK).

His recordings include the Bach-Schumann Sonatas and Partitas for violin and piano with Jean-Jacques Kantorow (which received a French Grand Prix du Disque), the Schubert Arpeggione and Rachmaninov Cello Sonatas with cellist Daniel Lee (for Decca) and a series of CDs with clarinetist Emma Johnson (for ASV). In 2011 he recorded the complete works of Ernst with Josef Spacek.

Gordon Back gives regular master classes as guest professor in music colleges such as the Cleveland Institute of Music, Curtis Institute and the Royal Northern College of Music. In the summer he teaches in France and Valdres Festival, Norway. He is a jury member of the Vendome Prize, Artistic Advisor of the Hattori Foundation and since 2013 Artistic Director of the Gower Festival.

In 2002 he became the Artistic Director of the Menuhin Competition and has since channeled his creative energy into defining it as a unique international event. It was hosted in Oslo 2010, Beijing 2012, Austin 2014 and celebrated the Menuhin Centenary in London in 2016. Together with prize-winners of the Menuhin Competition, Gordon Back performed at the Palais des Nations in Geneva as part of the United Nations International Memorial Holocaust Concert in January 2018.

Giuseppe Albanese

This young Italian pianist is not only a formidable technician but also an original musical thinker whose performances seek to illuminate, after unconventional ways, the true nature of the repertoire he plays” – Jeffrey Tate

He launched his career winning First Prize at the Vendome International Piano Competition in London, with a distinguished jury chaired by Sir Jeffrey Tate, Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Elisabeth Söderstrom, Christa Ludwig, defined by Le Figaro as “the piano world’s most prestigious award”. Albanese was awarded First Prize at Premio Venezia, the most important Italian piano competition.

In 2014 he made his Deutsche Grammophon label debut with “Fantasia”, a concept album featuring works by Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann. One year later he released his second DG Album: “Après une lecture de Liszt”, dedicated to the Hungarian composer entirely. In 2016 Decca Classics released a box with complete Bartók’s works which features his recording of the “Variations” (world premiere recording). In 2018, Universal released his recording of Liszt’s Piano Concertos 1 & 2 and Malédiction with the “Russian Philharmonic” and Fabio Mastrangelo. His third release for Deutsche Grammophon was of dance transcriptions (2019).

Giuseppe Albanese performs to outstanding critical and public acclaim in leading concert halls throughout the world, frequently collaborates with internationally renowned conductors such as John Axelrod, James Conlon, Dmitri Jurowski, Alain Lombard, Nicola Luisotti, Daniel Oren, George Pehlivanian, Alexander Sladkowsky, Hubert Soudant, Pinchas Steinberg, Michel Tabachnik, Sir Jeffrey Tate, Jurai Valcuha and Jonathan Webb.

Regularly invited to participate in international festivals, Albanese has performed for Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival, Yuri Temirkanov’s ‘Arts Square’ Winter Festival in St Petersburg, Contemporary Music Festival at the Biennale of Venice, Tiroler Festspiele; French Festival of Colmar (with Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana); International Piano Festival “En Blanco & Negro” of Mexico City, International Piano Festival of Brescia and Bergamo, MiTo Festival in Milan and Turin, Mittlefest, Sintra Music Festival in Portugal and the Tongyeong Festival in Korea.

In Italy he gives recitals and concerts in the most important concert hall season with such orchestras as the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI as well as in the most important theatres such as Petruzzelli – Bari; Comunale – Bologna; Teatro Lirico – Cagliari; Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino – Florence; Carlo Felice – Genoa; San Carlo – Naples; Massimo – Palermo; Opera – Rome; Verdi – Triest; La Fenice – Venice; Arena – Verona.

His concerts are regularly broadcast by RAI Italian national radio and television, and Classical HD broadcast his Debussy program performed in Teatro Bibiena (Mantova).

Giuseppe Albanese was born in Reggio Calabria (Italy) in 1979. He received his diploma with the highest honours at the Conservatory Rossini in Pesaro three years later, when 17. His studies continued at Imola International Piano Academy and at Messina University, where he was awarded a Magna cum laude Doctorate in Philosophy, writing his thesis on the aesthetics of Liszt in his Années de pèlerinage. At age of 25 he became a full professor, teaching Methodology of Musical Communication at the University of Messina. He is also currently Professor of piano at the Maderna Conservatory in Cesena.

Christopher Elton

Christopher Elton was born in Edinburgh and received most of his musical education at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he achieved the unusual distinction of gaining the Academy’s highest performing award – the Dip. RAM – as both pianist and cellist.

He was a prizewinner in several British and international piano competitions, playing and broadcasting regularly as a soloist as well as a chamber musician. At the same time he worked as a freelance cellist with several major London orchestras.

Christopher Elton’s international recognition has come as a result of the success of his students at the Royal Academy of Music. They have won numerous international awards, including first prizes at the Van Cliburn, London “World” International Piano and “Top of the World” Competitions, as well as the Shenzen and Montreal International Piano Competitions. Further recent accolades include laureates in the four latest Leeds finals as well as Tchaikovsky, Leipzig (Bach), Dublin, Shanghai and various others. Many of his students are now recording artists, among them Freddy Kempf, Yevgeny Sudbin, Joanna MacGregor and Benjamin Grosvenor.

While the main focus of his work is at the Royal Academy in London, Mr. Elton has also been much in demand overseas both as a professor and as a jury member of international competitions. Within the last few years he has given masterclasses in the USA, Japan, Israel, Korea, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Spain, Germany, Ireland and Vietnam. He was a jury member in Moscow (Tchaikovsky), Dublin, Leeds, Bolzano (Busoni),Vienna (Beethoven), Shenzen and China International, Santander and for the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, USA. During recent years he has also given recitals in the UK, USA, Ireland, Spain, Australia and Vietnam.

Christopher Elton was Head of Keyboard at the Royal Academy of Music in London for 24 years. He was elected a Fellow in 1983. In 2002 the title of Professor of the University of London was conferred on him. Mr. Elton was also a Visiting Professor of Piano at the University of Yale (2018).

Charlotte Lee

Charlotte Lee is the President and Founder of Primo Artists, one of the world’s leading international artist management agencies. She is recognized as an industry veteran with 25 years of leadership experience in artist management, entrepreneurship, advocacy, speaking and media.

Based in New York, Primo Artists has a selective management roster comprising violinists Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Nicola Benedetti and Randall Goosby; pianists Beatrice Rana and Seong-Jin Cho; conductors Cristian Măcelaru, James Gaffigan, Christian Reif and Gemma New; and composers Valerie Coleman and Wynton Marsalis.

Considered a trailblazer and the most modern agency in the industry, Primo Artists has a following of over 25,000 on their social-media channels.

Offering a holistic approach to artist representation, Primo is the only agency in the field that offers artist management, social media and PR services to artists and institutions around the world. Beyond its distinguished artist management roster, the agency represents a robust roster of Social Media and Public Relations clients to optimize and build artists’ presence in an ever-evolving media landscape.

An active advocate, Lee is also the founder and leader of PAMAC, Performing Arts Managers and Agents Coalition. She was a principal in leading the industry-wide lobbying effort that led to the enactment of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants program, providing $16.5 Billion in relief to the arts and culture industry – the largest public rescue of the arts and entertainment industry in U.S. history.

Lee received the 2022 Western Arts Alliance Service Award in recognition of her advocacy, contributions and leadership on the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant.

Musical America twice named Lee a “Top 30 Professional of the Year”: In the 2015 Inaugural Edition recognizing influencers in the classical music business and in the 2021 Edition applauding heroes of the industry who saved the day during the pandemic.

For more information, go to and follow Primo Artists on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and LinkedIn at @PrimoArtists.

Cristian Lupeş

Romanian conductor CRISTIAN LUPEȘ is one of the leading entrepreneurs and creators of cultural projects in Eastern Europe. His name is considered to be “100% guarantee for excellence in working on contemporary music” (Werner Schulze, composer and conducting professor at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst – Vienna).

Born in Romania in 1976, Lupes graduated with degrees in Physics and Chemistry from the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca and the University in Bucharest. In 1999 he began studies in orchestral conducting at the National University of Music and continued his musical education at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst, in Vienna (Austria). In 2010 he was appointed Assistant Conductor to Jonathan Nott at Bamberger Symphony, a role he will subsequently undertake at other major European orchestras: Tonhalle Zurich, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Rundfunk Berlin, Concertgebouw Amsterdam and Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne. During this time he assisted conductors such as Cristian Mandeal, Alexandre Myrat, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, David Zinman, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Vladimir Jurowski, and Herbert Blomstedt. In 2012 he earned his PhD in Music, with his thesis The Scientific Parameters of Orchestral Interpretation.

In 2019, Maestro Lupeș became General Manager of the Sibiu (Hermannstadt) State Philharmonic and his artistic vision led the institution onto paths that surpassed everyone’s expectations. This effort was recongnized with a Medal of Honour in the Highest Rank for Culture, awarded by H.E. Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania, in January 2021. He was also awarded the Brincoveanu Prize by the Romanian Ministry of Culture in 2020. Lupeș is the Artistic Director of Romania’s first contemporary music festival – Contemporary Music Days – founded by his mentor, composer Liviu Danceanu. In addition to that, he created his own Festival: Brave New Music.

Cristian Lupeș has worked with leading international orchestras, most recently Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo, Grosetto and Cosenza. He appeared alongside soloists Elisabeth Leonskaja, Michael Barenboim, Arabella Steinbacher, Julien Libeer, Francesco Tristano, among many others.

Maestro Lupeş grew up fascinated by George Enescu’s music and its effect on composers of the last half century. He identifies with the values supported and promoted by Enescu himself and believes that music is crucial for a healthy cultural environment. Cristian is a passionate supporter of the new voices in contemporary music, of their bravery, innovation and revolutionary spirit. Unsurprisingly, he is a constant presence at the George Enescu International Festival, which uses a large number of his world-premiere recordings as “points of reference” for other orchestras invited to perform in this event.

Matei Varga

Pianist Matei Varga is the 2021 recipient of the Romanian - American Fine Arts Award, conferred by the Romanian government. His artistry has garnered superlative reviews from critics around the world, who have found his performances “magical” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), “colorful, vivacious [and] engaging” (Le Diapason). Of his latest recording “The Year That Never Was” (Sono Luminus, 2022), MusicWeb-International raved: “This is meant to be music making to revive the mood… Mission accomplished!… I can enthusiastically prescribe a course of this joyous disc!” (David McDade); while The Whole Note’s Adam Sherkin wrote: “An eclectic, highly personal recording… executed with much joy and a tasteful, rollicking fondness for this personalized set list”.

Mr. Varga is a top prizewinner at several international piano competitions such as “Maria Canals”, “Premio Mozart”, “Ústí nad Labem”, "Cidade do Porto" and “George Enescu”, where he also won the award for the best performance of Enescu’s music. He is a recipient of the Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant in New York and the Virtuoso prize at the 2003 Vendome Prize in Lisbon, a recognition given by Elisabeth Leonskaja. In 1994, he was awarded a “High Commendation” by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Matei Varga has appeared as a soloist and recitalist in many of the world’s leading concert halls, among them Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, Konzerthaus Berlin, Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, the Romanian Atheneum in Bucharest, Victoria Hall in Geneva, Rebecca Crown Auditorium in Jerusalem, National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, and the Auditorium du Louvre, Salle Cortot and Salle Gaveau in Paris. In 2002 he was invited by Gian Carlo Menotti to appear at the “Festival dei Due Mondi” in Spoleto, Italy. In 2016 he was chosen by prima ballerina Alina Cojocaru to perform Liszt’s Piano Sonata in Frederick Ashton’s “Marguerite and Armand”, presented during the “Fall for Dance” Festival at City Center (New York).

Mr. Varga has collaborated with conductors such as Otto-Werner Mueller, Elio Boncompagni, Christian Reif, Gabriel Bebeselea, and frequently accompanied the great Romanian soprano Mariana Nicolesco. He has performed with the “George Enescu” Philharmonic, the Romanian National Radio Orchestra, the Hartford Symphony, Orchestre des Nations and many others.

He studied with Ana Pitis, Ioana Minei and Sandu Sandrin at the National University of Music in Bucharest, and with Pavlina Dokovska at Mannes College. He now lives in New York City and is Artistic Director of the Vendome Prize, a piano award described by Le Figaro as "the world's most prestigious competition" and currently presented by the College of Performing Arts at The New School.

Mr. Varga's discography includes releases for Naxos, Electrecord, Sono Luminus, AIX Records and Coviello Classics.



Grand Prize Alberto Nosé

Runner-up Yevgeny Sudbin

Vendome Virtuosi Iddo Bar-Shai and Nicolas Stavy


Grand Prize ex aequo Giuseppe Albanese and Boris Giltburg

Runner-up Alexander Pirojenko

Vendome Virtuosi Davide Cabassi and Matei Varga


Grand Prize Stephen Beus

Runner-up Andrei Korobeinikov

Vendome Virtuosi Roman Rabinovich and Matei Varga


Grand Prize Denis Kozhukhin

Runner-up Dmitri Levkovich

Vendome Virtuosi Sean Kennard, Di Wu and Zuo Zhang


Grand Prize Yekwon Sunwoo

Second Prize George Li

Third Prize Jayson Gillham

Vendome Virtuosi François Dumont and Steven Lin


Grand Prize not awarded

Second Prize ex aequo Sam Hong and Do-Hyun Kim

Third Prize Aristo Sham

Vendome Virtuosi Ruoyu Huang and Tomoki Sakata


Grand Prize Daumants Liepins

Second Prize Dmytro Choni

Third Prize Sae Yoon Chon

Vendome Virtuoso Luigi Carroccia


Grand Prize ex aequo Maxim Lando and Korkmaz Can Sağlam

Finalist Prize Jonas Aumiller

Vendome Virtuosi Robert Bily and Elia Cecino


Photo by Gustav Alink

Alexis Gregory was born in Switzerland to Russian parents and was educated in the United States, graduating in art history magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1957. He founded and owned The Vendome Press, a book publishing house with a special commitment to the fine arts, music, architecture and culture in general. He was co-publisher of the Journal of Art, served as a member of Sotheby’s Advisory Board and was on the Visiting Committee of Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Fogg Museum. He established the Alexis Gregory Foundation which is devoted to the fine arts and music. Mr. Gregory served for three years as Chairman of the American Friends of the Israel Museum.

He wrote several books on travel and the gilded age and contributed to many magazines including The Journal of Art, Art and Auction, Vanity Fair, Condé-Nast Traveler, Travel Holiday, Town and Country and Air France Madame. Among his celebrated books are The Golden Age of Travel, Families of Fortune, Paris de Luxe on the Place Vendôme and In the Spirit of Venice.

Over the years, Mr. Gregory built a major collection of Italian Renaissance bronzes, and collected French and Italian old master pictures of the 17th and 18th centuries as well as French 18th and 19th century paintings. He was Chevalier of France’s highest civilian decoration, the Legion d’Honneur, and an officer of France’s Order of Arts and Letters as well as a Cavalliere al’Merito della Reppublica Italiana. The last decoration was given in recognition of his services to the Italian publishing industry.

He founded the Vendome Prize in 2000, a piano competition described by Le Figaro as “the most prestigious in the world”. Mr. Gregory provided financial support and artistic guidance to numerous exceptionally talented musicians and served on several boards of classical music institutions in the U.S.A. and abroad.


Pavlina Dokovska, President – Board of Advisors, Pianist and Chair of Piano Department – Mannes School of Music

Gordon Back, Pianist and Chairman of the Jury – The Vendome Prize

Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Philanthropist and Patron of the Arts

Giuseppe Albanese, Pianist & Vendome Alumnus

Sergey Babayan, Pianist and Professor – The Juilliard School and Cleveland Institute of Music

Iddo Bar-Shai, Pianist & Vendome Alumnus

Bruce Brubaker, Pianist and Chair of Piano Department – New England Conservatory

Davide Cabassi, Pianist & Vendome Alumnus – Conservatorio “G. Verdi” di Milano

Hyoung-Joon Chang, Pianist and Professor – Seoul National University

Vlad Dimulescu, Pianist and Chair of Piano Department – National University of Music, Bucharest

Christopher Elton, Pianist and former Head of the Keyboard Department – Royal Academy of Music

Philippe Entremont, Pianist

Norma Fisher, Pianist and Professor — Royal College of Music

Andreas Groethuysen, Pianist and Professor – Mozarteum Salzburg

Christopher Hinterhuber, Pianist and Professor – Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Vienna

Douglas Humpherys, Pianist and Chair of Piano Department – Eastman School of Music

Stephen Kovacevitch, Pianist

Massimiliano Mainolfi, Pianist and Professor – Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg & Conservatorio di Trento

Robert McDonald, Pianist and Professor – The Juilliard School and Curtis Institute

Stephen McHolm, Director – Verbier Academy

Alexandre Moutouzkine – Pianist and Co-Head of Piano Department – Manhattan School of Music

Julia Mustonen – Dahlkvist, Pianist and Chair of Piano Department – Ingesund College of Music

Alberto Nosè, Pianist & Vendome Alumnus

Ronan O’Hora, Pianist and Head of Keyboard Studies – Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London

Constantine Orbelian, Pianist and Conductor

Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Pianist and Professor – Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory, Head of Piano Department at the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music

Enrico Pace, Pianist and Professor – Kronberg Academy, Germany

Jerome Rose, Pianist and Artistic Director – International Keyboard Institute and Festival

Marian Rybicki, Pianist and Professor – Ecole Normale de Musique

Franco Scala, Founder and Director – Imola International Academy

Marc Silverman, Pianist and Co-Head of Piano Department – Manhattan School of Music

Boris Slutsky, Pianist and Professor – Peabody Institute

Yevgeny Sudbin, Pianist & Vendome Alumnus

Erik Tawaststjerna, Pianist and Professor – Sibelius Academy

Nina Tichman, Pianist and Professor – Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln

Martin T:son Engstroem, Director – Verbier Festival

Matei Varga, Pianist and Director – Vendome Prize

Ilana Vered, Pianist and Artistic Director – Music Fest of Perugia

Susan Wadsworth, Founder – Young Concert Artists

Danwen Wei, Pianist and Professor – Central Conservatory of China, Beijing

Rules and Regulations

General Rules

  1. The competition is open to pianists of all nationalities who are not yet 28 years old at the time of the application deadline: July 15, 2023. There is no lower age limit, though considering the standards of the competition, we generally don’t invite pianists younger than 16.
  2. The application process is by recommendation only. We ask our international advisors (see “Board of Advisors”) to submit names of exceptionally gifted pianists they believe are worthy of our consideration. All recommended pianists are then invited to apply and submit all the necessary documents, which include a top-quality video recording filmed without edits. The application deadline is July 15, 2023.
  3. Upon carefully examining the recordings, the Vendome Prize pre-selection committee (see “Jury members”) will select approximately 10 pianists who will be invited to the semi-finals in New York. Each semi-finalist will have their travel and housing expenses covered. Travel receipts (in economy) must be provided to the organizers; reimbursement is typically made after the end of the competition.
  4. Graduation from a Conservatory is not a prerequisite for acceptance in the Competition, but a major successful international career already well underway could be a disqualifying factor.

Application Documents and Video Recording

Candidates will use an online application portal, and each invited pianist will be sent a password and instructions on how to fill out the application form and upload the following materials:

  • a copy of your passport or similar official document furnishing proof of date of birth
  • one headshot photo (submitted electronically). Please use only photos for which you have full copyright. If it is found that a photo has been submitted and it infringes any usage rules, the candidate will be solely responsible for settling the dispute with the copyright infringement company.
  • a curriculum vitae
  • a complete list of current repertoire (also piano concertos and chamber music works)
  • one or several links to unedited video recordings. Please upload your file(s) on YouTube and mark them UNLISTED (unless they are already public if you or someone else uploaded them previously). Please do not send video files as attachments.

About the video recording:

  • It must be filmed on or after January 1st, 2022.
  • It must be at least 45 minutes long.
  • The repertory requirements for the recording are a. one virtuoso etude by Chopin or Liszt; b. a Baroque polyphonic work (such as a Bach Prelude and Fugue, or a three-part Invention, etc.) and c. at least two movements of any sonata by Beethoven. The rest of the program is up to the candidate’s choice and should include only solo works.
  • The video submission can be made of multiple performances from different concerts/recitals/competitions, as well as studio recordings, as long as it is obvious that they were all filmed without edits. If the recording was made during a concert/recital/competition, multiple cameras are allowed. If the recording is made in a studio, we strongly recommend using one camera only, filming hands and body from the pianist’s right side. The video recording(s) should show the candidate’s hands and face very clearly at all times. Each piece on the video recording(s) must be listed with a complete title and starting points of each work/movement for easier navigation. When recording large works in a studio, it is allowed to stop/cut between movements, but not during the movements/sections (i.e. no edits).


  1. Usually, ten (10) pianists will advance to the semi-final round after the selection is made on video recordings.
  2. The submitted repertoire for the semi-finals must be 60 minutes in length and include a sonata by Beethoven.
  3. The repertoire submitted for the video application MAY be repeated in the semi-finals.
  4. Timings should be provided for all works (including movements).
  5. A wide range of styles and diversity in character are highly recommended.


  • Three (3) selected finalists will each perform a one-hour solo recital.
  • There is one compulsory piece that all three pianists must perform: Mozart – Rondo in A minor, K 511 (Please note that this piece will be considered part of the 60 minutes program)
  • The candidate will choose the remaining repertoire for this round. It is possible to repeat works included on the recording, but NOT any works performed in the Semi-Final round.


1. The Competition Committee retains the right to reject any application that does not conform to the competition’s regulations.

2. All repertoire must be performed from memory.

3. The playing order in the semi-finals will be determined by a straw ballot and will be kept the same for the final round.

4. The day before the beginning of the semi-final round in New York, a meeting will be held with the Chairman of the Jury, requiring the attendance of all contestants.

5. Contestants selected for the LIVE rounds in New York must remain available at all times throughout the Competition.

6. Latecomers for events may face disqualification.

7. All Jury decisions will be final and not subject to appeal.

8. The Vendome Prize will retain all rights to photos taken during the competition and to the video or audio recordings of all performances.

9. No additional fee will be payable for any performance given in the course of the Competition.


  • Vendome Grand Prize: $30,000 and a list of performances to be announced at a later date
  • Each of the other two finalists receives an award of $5,000
  • Vendome Virtuoso Prize for the highest-ranked semi-finalist not admitted to the final round: $2,000
  • Travel and housing expenses are covered for each of the ten semi-finalists.
  • Prize money may be taxable in the country of performance.

Artistic Partners


The Verbier Festival is an international classical music event that takes place each summer in the mountain town of Verbier, Switzerland. The Festival’s mission is to build a community of exchange between great masters and young artists from all over the world and to be a leader in its field by providing meaningful music education programs.

Launched in 1994 and now globally renowned, the Festival welcomes audiences with a distinctive and exhilarating blend of events, both large-scale and intimate. Audiences from around the globe come to experience music-making at the highest level in a setting that brings them close to star performers, rising talent, and a complete process of learning, rehearsal, and performance.

The Festival’s Academy is its respiratory system—a laboratory where future talents are discovered and nurtured. It sets the gold standard for training emerging soloists, chamber and orchestral musicians, singers, and conductors. Each summer, audiences witness these musicians in action at over 100 masterclasses, rehearsals, and performances. The Verbier Festival Orchestra has become a rite of passage for today’s exceptional young orchestral musicians, and the Academy’s programs for soloists, chamber musicians, and singers include an impressive list of alumni from over 60 countries who have been engaged by the world’s leading concert presenters since their time in Verbier.

From 2014 to 2019, the Vendome Prize was presented in partnership with the Verbier Festival. The Festival continues to be a valued partner and will present the 2019 Vendome Prize winner, Daumants Liepiņš, at its 2022 edition.


Founded in 1990, the St. Petersburg Palaces International Music Festival has traveled a challenging path of development along with the country, all the while maintaining a high-quality standard and never abandoning a noble mission of introducing the overwhelmingly rich Russian cultural heritage and world classical culture to the Russian audience and representing Russia on the global cultural stage. Throughout three decades, the Festival has become a significant cultural event in the life of St. Petersburg.

The Festival consists of classical music concerts featuring leading Russian and foreign performers at palaces and mansions of St. Petersburg and its magnificent suburbs. The Festival Foundation is headed by the Honored Artist of Russia and renowned violinist Maria Safariants, who has numerous Russian and international awards for activities related to the performing arts and educational work in Russia and abroad.

Over the years, international stars such as Renée Fleming, Sondra Radvanovsky, Michel Legrand, José Cura, Marcelo Álvarez, Andrea Morricone, Irina Arkhipova, Elena Obraztsova, Dmitry Hvorostovsky, Polina Osetinskaya, Vasily Sinaisky, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Federico Mondelci, Giuseppe Sabbatini have all performed as guests of our Festival. Highly respected Russian dramatic actors such as Vasily Lanovoy, Sergei Garmash, Georgy Taratorkin, Alexei Petrenko, Evgeny Knyazev, and Nikolai Burov were also featured in our events.

Among the venues in which the Festival takes place are The Winter Palace, The Mikhailovsky Palace, The Mariinsky Palace, The Yusupov Palace, The Presidential Library, The Russian National Library, The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve, and many other museums, palace complexes and mansions of St. Petersburg.

The Festival is supported by the St. Petersburg Committee for Culture, PJSC Sberbank, International Charitable Fund ”Constantine,” Construction Corporation Renaissance of Saint-Petersburg, LSR Group, BaltTransService, PJSC “Bank “Saint-Petersburg,” and BKS «Ultima,» among others.

Some of the Festival’s most recent joint projects include the annual project Musical Seasons at the Konstantin Palace, a large-scale cycle of musical and educational programs called Music of the Russian Statehood at the Presidential Library, which won a contest under the auspices of the Presidential Grant Foundation; the international festival Palaces of Crimea — Palaces of St. Petersburg; the musical and educational project Music and Secrets on the city’s main TV channel St. Petersburg, etc.

Concerts of the Festival have been included several times in the cultural program of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.


Somewhere, far from a world in turmoil, on a small Caribbean island, Grand Cayman, a new performing arts festival has arisen relatively recently – the Cayman Arts Festival (CAF). Only 17 years since its inception, the Cayman Arts Festival has fast become one of the largest performing arts events of its type in the Caribbean.

The Cayman Arts Festival (CAF) concept was born when the internationally acclaimed Jennifer Micallef-Glen Inanga piano duo was invited to perform in Grand Cayman. Following their performance in 2001, the duo decided that the most appropriate response to the overwhelming feedback they received was to create a unique festival primarily to benefit the Cayman Islands community. The Festival is committed to bringing world-class offerings ranging from classical music to opera and jazz while ensuring music education is among its core purposes. All visiting artists conduct workshops, master classes, and/or concert demonstrations for the educational benefit of Cayman’s youth.

Over the years, CAF has been able to present to its devoted audience a significant number of great performers such as pianists Isata Kanneh – Mason, Wayne Marshall, John McLaughlin Williams, and Matei Varga, cellists Sheku Kanneh – Mason and Andrei Ionita, Juilliard Jazz Ensemble, Cambridge Ensemble, Canadian Brass, saxophonist Amy Dickson and many more.

The combination of piano recitals and fundraising, along with the growing interest in the piano from students and patrons alike, has led to more focused support. In 2018, CAF received sponsorship that enabled the purchase of a brand-new concert piano and commenced an island-wide piano program called “Piano in the Classroom,” aimed at all schools and kindergartens.

Today, still following the vision of the founders, and with a lot of hard work and support from sponsors and dedicated volunteers, CAF has grown from a biennial event to an annual 10-day festival, with piano camps and other events during the year, an afterschool program, and many different projects serving more than 200 gifted and talented students.

CAF’s continuity and consistency for the past 17 years have made it a unique entity in the Caribbean region as it continues to go from strength to strength. It is our hope that CAF’s activities will lead it to be the catalyst of a cultural transformation in the Cayman Islands.

Matei Varga, Artistic Director