Rules for the 2020 Competition

  1. Eligibility
    1. The Competition is open to professional musicians and advanced students.
    2. Competitors must be of concert performance standard who are ready to make a professional career.
    3. Competitors must be aged 16 years or over and not more than 27 years old on May 1st 2020.
    4. The Competition has three streams, Piano, Strings (excluding plucked instruments) and Wind (including brass).
    5. Past Section and Overall winners may not enter.
    6. Current students of judges are not allowed to enter the competition.
  2. Entry form
    1. Using the entry form provided on the web page each competitor must submit THREE recital programmes (Rounds 1-3).
    2. At least two works, or two parts of different works, must be performed in each Round.
    3. Timings and complete descriptions (including opus or catalogue numbers and keys) of all works to be played must be clearly and accurately stated on the entry form.
    4. The Competition Management reserves the right to request a re-submission of a competitor’s programme if this requirement is not strictly observed.
    5. No change of programme by a competitor will be permitted after submission of an entry form except in exceptional circumstances.
    6. Competitors must also provide
      • A head and shoulders photograph suitable for publicity purposes in jpeg format.
      • A scan or other image of Birth Certificate, current Passport or other official document, showing the contestant’s date of birth.
      • A short biography in English up to 45 words, or 300 characters.
      • The names of two referees who must not be one of the competition judges.
    7. The completed entry form, plus the entrance fee must be received by the Competition Office on or before 12 noon on Saturday 7th March 2020. Candidates are advised to submit their entry forms well ahead of this deadline to avoid problems, as this deadline is non-negotiable.
  3. Competition stages
    1. ROUND 1. A programme of up to 20 minutes, to include at least two pieces of contrasting periods or styles (see 2b. above).
    2. ROUND 2. A programme of up to 20 minutes, to include at least two pieces of contrasting periods or styles. Music already performed in Round 1 must not be included.
    3. ROUND 3. (Final) A 20-minute recital, of at least two items, to reflect a balanced and selective range of musical styles appropriate to the performer. Music already performed in Rounds 1 and 2 must not be included.
    4. Strict time keeping will be enforced in all rounds and competitors who are not ready to perform at their appointed time may be disqualified.
    5. Competitors must ensure that their timed programmes do not overrun. A bell may be rung to indicate that their time is up and they must cease playing.
  4. Practice time
    1. All competitors will be given the opportunity for at least 30 minutes practice time; more practice time will be allowed if practice rooms are available.
    2. Competitors in the piano section will be allowed a 2-minute warm-up on the Competition piano prior to the commencement of their performance.
  5. Judging
    1. Competitors will be judged on displaying an understanding of a range of different musical languages, periods and style and should present a varied and balanced programme in all stages of the competition.
    2. Competitors are not required to play from memory but if they do so it will be noted in their favour.
    3. The decision of the Judges will be final and not open to discussion or correspondence.
    4. Certificates of participation will be issued for Round 1 and 2.
    5. Competitors not selected for Round 2 will be given the opportunity to discuss their performances with the judges immediately following the announcement of the results of Round 1.
    6. The Competition Management reserves the right to appoint other Judges if this is found to be necessary.
    7. The Judges for the 2020 Competition will be
      • Piano: Sam Haywood, Joanna MacGregor
      • Strings: Guy Johnston (Cello), David Takeno (Violin)
      • Wind: Juliette Bausor (Flute), John Wallace (Trumpet).
  6. Sheet music
    1. Competitors must provide the Judges with one copy of all music played.
    2. When an item in copyright is selected from a publication containing several different works, and is not published separately, competitors may make one photocopy available for the use of the Judges.
    3. No facilities for photocopying will be available at the Competition.
    4. The Competition Management will destroy all photocopies of copyright material after the event.
  7. General information
    1. Final instructions to competitors will be sent by email during March 2020 giving date and time of their performances.
    2. Competitors will be required to register at least 1 hour before their allotted practice time.
    3. Registration times will be notified in the Administration notes sent to each competitor during March 2020.
    4. Any recordings photographic, audio or video made during the Competition final will remain the copyright of the Competition Management.
    5. No fees will be payable to, or consent required from, competitors either for making recordings or for any subsequent use of them.
    6. Enquiries regarding the Competition and any further information can be made to: The Entries Coordinator, website: email:

Closing date for receipt of entries 7th March 2020.

Tunbridge Wells International Music Competition is a Company Limited by Guarantee (Registered No. 1456829) and a registered Charity (No. 278856).