2016 News

A piano competition for Young Adult Pianists of Kent, Sussex, Surrey and London postal districts


The Norah Sande Award, an international piano competition held annually in Eastbourne was won this month by Luka Okros.  Born in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1991, Luka has scooped up ten top international prizes since starting his studies at London’s Royal College of Music where he was awarded a full scholarship.   Luka received a cheque for £3000 and the opportunity to perform in a recital later in the year.  The final stages were held in the purpose-built concert hall at the Birley Centre, Eastbourne College.  Fifteensemi-finalists  performed a 20 minute programme on Saturday 9thth July before a prestigious adjudication panel, Timothy Barrratt, Ruth Gerald and David Patrick (Chairman)  – all keyboard exponents of international repute.   Three were chosen to perform a full recital programme incorporating classical, romantic and contemporary pieces the following day.  David Patrick said that the three had been chosen from an outstanding field of performers at the semi-finals.

Luka Okros, winner of the 2016 Norah Sande Award

Before moving to England to study at the RCM, Luka Okros graduated from Moscow’s prestigious Tchaikovsky Conservatory.  He gave his first national recital at only five years’ old and made his US debut at Carnegie Hall at just 18. Since then Luka has performed to great acclaim in fifteen countries in some of the world’s best concert venues including the UK’s Wigmore, Cadogan and Royal Albert Halls. Since 2014 he has won ten top international prizes and awards including the Grand Prix "Iturbi Prize” in Spain, Morocco Philharmonic International Competition, Piano Campus Competition in France, Hattori Foundation Award and The Tillett Trust Award in the UK and the Tabor Foundation Award at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland.  Luka was also invited to perform live as a guest on the Arts programme "In Tune” on Radio 3.  This Autumn he will release his debut CD recording.

At the Final on 10 July, Luka played Schumann’s Scenes From Childhood, Scarlatti’s Sonata in D minor, Taktakishvili’s Poem (1951) and Liszt’s Grande Etude de Paganini No 6 in A minor.

Finalists of the 2016 Norah Sande Award

The 2016 panel of adjudicators with the three prize winners 

Daniel Evans, 22, from Bristol was named as runner up and received a cheque for £1000. Daniel is currently studying towards his BMUS at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Joan Havill. He has performed in Germany,  Spain, China, Korea, Japan, the US and in the UK’s Cadogan and Colston Halls. International prizes have included winning the EPTA and the Oxford International Piano Competitions.  Daniel performed Mozart’s Sonata in A Minor K310, Debussy’s Preude Book2 No 4, Scriabin’s Sonata No 4 Opus 30 and Ligeti’s Etude no 13.

Third place and a cheque for £500 was given to Andrew Yiangou, 24, from London who has recently been awarded the prestigious Mills Williams Junior Fellowship at the Royal College of Music for his studies on the Artist Diploma Course.  He is supported by the Tillett and Eileen Rowe Music Award Trusts. Andrew has performed at various venues including the UK’s Royal Festival Hall and St James’ Piccadilly and on tour in Belgium, Spain, France and Poland. Andrew has a particular affinity for music of lesser-known composers and this was reflected in his choice of first piece for the Final.  He played Kapustin’s Prelude Opus 53 No 9, Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No 1 and Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit.

"The adjudicators said that the standard had been exceptional for this year’s  Norah Sande Award which continues to interest the very top young pianists on the cusp of an international performing career” said Spencer Freeman, the Award’s Artistic Director. "The audience had their distinct favourites going into the Final round but all agreed that Luka was a very worthy winner.  The Birley Centre is proving to be a very fine concert hall for the region and we are looking forward to hosting our twelfth  Award finals there next year.”


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