printable version of syllabus

Pianoforte Classes

16th - 18th February 2018

Venue - To be confirmed


Adjudicator: James Kirby 

gives recitals throughout the UK including Wigmore Hall, Edinburgh and Aldeburgh festivals and extensively in Europe. He studied at the Moscow Conservatoire and returns to perform concertos and recitals and lead chamber music courses in the former Soviet Union every year. He has given concerto performances with the English and Scottish Chamber Orchestras and Moscow Symphony Orchestra in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire.

He is a member of the Barbican Piano Trio which has recently celebrated its twenty fifth anniver- sary and performs regularly throughout Europe and the USA. The Trio has a repertoire which consists of over seventy works and an impressive discography.

James teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Royal Holloway, University of London and the University of Hull. He is an Honorary Professor of the Rachmaninov Institute in Tambov, Russia, and serves on the juries of many International competitions, most recently in Russia, Latvia, Romania and Slovenia.

He has been an ABRSM examiner since 1998 and has worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and many European countries and recorded the demonstration CD for the Piano Exams syllabus for many years and he is an adjudicator member of the British and International Federation of Festivals. 


Entries Online only. Please email ahead of the deadline should you require assistance entering online.

Email enquiries: Shauna Hill,


Prizes: Junior Piano Award - £25 for the best performance age 14 years and under in any class except C18
             Senior Piano Award - £25 for the best performance age 15 years and over in any class except C18

Own Choice Classes

(In classes C1 to C13 you may play one or two pieces)

In classes C1 to C9 chosen pieces must reflect the general standard of the grades specified — otherwise, the participant will not be eligible for a first, second or third prize placing.

Class Time LimitFeesAward
C1 Beginner (Pre Grade 1) 2 minutes £7 Medals
C2 Grade 1 3 minutes £8 Medals
C3 Grade 2 3 minutes £8 Medals
C4 Grade 3 4 minutes £9 Medals
C5 Grade 4 4 minutes £9 Medals
C6 Grade 5 5 minutes £10 Certificates
C7 Grade 6 5 minutes £10 Certificates
C8 Grade 7 8 minutes £12 Certificates
C9 Grade 8 and above
8 minutes £12 Certificates
Please enter only one of the above classes.
Closed Classes    In classes C10 – C12, competitors must not have won first prize in the pianoforte section of a music festival during the last five years.
C10 Age 10 years and under - closed 4 minutes £9 Medals
C11 Age 11 to 14 years - closed 5 minutes £10 Medals
C12 Age 15 years and over - closed 8 minutes £12 Certificates
C13 20th and 21st century own choice 14 & under 4 minutes £9 Medals
C14 Junior Recital 14 & under
Two contrasting pieces Grade 6 and above
8 minutes £12 Medals
C15 Sonatina Class 14 & under
One movement only to be played
4 minutes £9 Medals
C16 Jazz, Ragtime and Blues - own choice - 16 & under 4 minutes £9 Certificates
C17 Sonata 16 and under
Any Sonata movement
5 minutes £10 Certificates
Jean Merlow Memorial Scholarship Age 19 & under
2 or 3 contrasting pieces Grade 8 and above
12 mins £14

Classical - Open
Any piece or pieces by a composer in this category

8 minutes £12 Certificates
C20 Baroque - Open
Any piece or pieces by a composer in this category
8 minutes £12 Certificates
C21 Romantic Composers - Open
Any piece or pieces by a composer in this category
8 minutes £12 Certificates
C22 20th and 21st century - Open
Any piece or pieces since 1900; must be in a post-romantic idiom
8 minutes £12 Certificates
C23 Senior recital - Open
Three pieces to form a varied programme
15 mins £17 Certificates
C24 Duet or Trio 10 years & under 4 minutes £12 Medals
C25 Duet or Trio 13 years & under 5 minutes £13 Medals
C26 Duet or Trio 16 years & under 8 minutes £15 Certificates
C27 Duet or Trio - Open 10 mins £16 Certificates
C28 Duet or Trio - Family 5 minutes £13 Certificates
C29 Adult Performance Assessment Grades 1 - 5 4 minutes £9 Certificates
C30 Adult Performance Assessment Grades 6 - 8+ 8 minutes £12 Certificates

printable version of syllabus

Special Notes
  1. There are no restrictions applying to multiple entries, other than the age limits or levels specified, or those stated above, but competitors are not allowed to present any piece in more than one class.
  2. The competitor who is adjudged the most outstanding performer in the 2018 classes may be invited to enter for the Emanual Trophy competition at the 2019 North London Music Festival. The invitation will be issued by the section secretary on the recommendation of the adjudicator.
  3. A copy of the music must be provided for the adjudicator. See No. 2 of the Regulations and General Information. This rule about original copies and photocopies will be strictly applied.
  4. Please time your pieces carefully and make sure they do not exceed the time limit. When there is a time limit specified the performance will be judged only to that point and may be terminated.
  5. Classes with few entries may be amalgamated for adjudication.
  6. Choose music carefully. i.e. do not play a Grade 6 level piece in a Grade 3 - 4 level class.