Did you know Calgary is home to an internationally recognized classical music festival and competition? The Honens International Piano Competition & Festival brings the classical music world to Calgary each year for performances that will delight new and experienced music fans alike. Learn all about unique festival and competition events that put Calgary on the map in the classic music world.
Honens International Piano Competition & Festival
Honens International Piano Competition & Festival
What is the Honens International Piano Competition & Festival?
The Honens organization serves the music community in Calgary and beyond with musical performances and educational opportunities, including an annual festival and competition that takes place every three years.
The Honens International Piano Competition takes place every three years and has been internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious piano events in the world. The finest pianists from around the world (age 20 to 30) apply to compete and perform in Calgary.
Why is the Honens Prize Laureate so important?
The Honens Prize Laureate is awarded $100,000 and an Artist Development Program valued at a half-million dollars. This is the largest prize of its kind and provides mentorship and performance opportunities, including a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, putting the winner on the world stage with debuts in some of the most prestigious venues and concerts with world-class orchestras.
2015 Honens Prize Laureate Luca Buratto has had the chance to perform at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Berlin Konzerthaus, as well as collaborations with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Winnipeg Symphony, since winning the Competition
How did it get started?
Honens was founded by philanthropist, music lover, and amateur pianist, Esther Honens. Her dream was to create an international music competition that would bring the world’s best emerging pianists to Calgary. In 1991, she gave $5 million dollars to endow The Esther Honens International Piano Competition Foundation. The inaugural Honens Competition took place in 1992.
Who participates in the Competition?
The Honens International Piano Competition invites emerging pianists to apply every three years. Seeking the Complete Artist, the competition focuses on finding “a 21st century pianist for 21st century audiences” that exemplifies a unique, imaginative, and informed pianist. The most recent Competition in 2018 featured pianists from Italy, Taiwan, Romania, Georgia, South Africa, Austria, Hong Kong, Belgium, and the United States.
All you need to know about the Festival
True to Esther Honens’ original vision, the Honens Piano Festival brings the joy of music to Calgarians and visitors alike in an accessible and approachable way. The Festival is best experienced by music fans looking for an introduction to classical music.
Duo 19:21 features beautiful arrangements of classical romantic works performed on Stephen Avenue. The same stretch of downtown Calgary comes to life with 176 Keys, when four internationally renowned pianists play the music of Bach, Copland, and Rachmaninov on two sets of 88 keys. The popular Storytellers series features a concert of things that are the 'Same, Only Different' with similarities between classical violin and country fiddling. Or take in the popular Open Air concert in Central Memorial Park and enjoy a free outdoor chamber music concert with a picnic lunch. These are just a few of the events scheduled for the 2019 Festival. Single tickets to the festival events are available and start at $10.00.
All you need to know about the Competition
The Honens International Piano Competition is best suited to experienced music fans looking for the opportunity to hear the finest emerging pianists in the world.
The Honens International Piano Competition features 10 pianists from around the world. Each competitor performs a solo recital and a collaborative recital as part of the Semifinals. The Competition Finals I features three finalists performing a quintet with the Azahar Ensemble, followed by the Competition Finals II & Awards Show, where the three finalists perform a concerto with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. This is an exciting night of entertainment where the Honens Prize Laureate is announced and awarded $100,000 along with the Artist Development Program.
Single tickets and Competition & Festival passes are available so you can choose how to best experience this world renowned event in Calgary.
How can you make the most of the experience?
The Honens International Piano Competition & Festival is a world renowned musical event in Calgary with something for everyone to experience. Whether you are a young music fan or an experienced competition attendee, Honens offers enriching experiences for all music fans. So how can you make the most of your Honens experience?
Many of the Competition and Festival events take place at the Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons. Choosing accommodations close this venue is the perfect way to explore Calgary and stay close to the competition. The Fairmont Palliser, Le Germain Hotel Calgary, Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel, and Hyatt Regency Calgary are all within walking distance of Jack Singer Concert Hall, the Calgary Tower, and Stephen Avenue Walk.
If you are a music aficionado, the Finals Pass or Competition & Festival Pass are great ways to experience everything Honens has to offer and save some money too. Call the Honens Box Office (403-299-0140) for more information.
Still wondering what the Honens Competition & Festival are all about? You can Watch and Listen to previous Festival and Competition videos and audio clips on the Honens website.