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Burmese pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi has been named Honorary Ambassador for the Leeds International Piano Competition.
The competition’s Chairman and Artistic Director Dame Fanny Waterman said that the top prize will be named the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Gold Medal in recognition of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s inspiration, courage and hope for humanity and her appreciation of piano playing, saying that “in this special Golden Anniversary Year this is the greatest honour our piano competition has ever received.”
The 17th Leeds International Piano Competition is scheduled to take place August 29 – September 16. From the 270 entries submitted, 80 pianists from over 20 countries will compete in front of a distinguished international jury.
Six finalists will perform with the Hallé, conducted by Sir Mark Elder, at Leeds Town Hall on September 14 and 15. The winner will receive an £18,000 cash prize donated by the Liz and Terry Bramall Charitable Trust and range of prestigious engagements with leading UK and international orchestras.
Previous competition winners include Murray Perahia, Radu Lupu, Andras Schiff, Mitsuko Uchida, Lars Vogt, Louis Lortie and Artur Pizarro.
Expressing his delight at Aung San Suu Kyi, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Aung San Suu Kyi’s appreciation of piano playing is well known. So it is… a fitting way to end her brilliant and historic visit to Britain.”