For the fifteenth time, the town of Ettlingen is organizing an International Competition for Young Pianists, from August 6-14, 2016. The competition is open to young pianists of all nationalities, including stateless people.

There are no restrictions of any kind with regard to the musical education of the competitor (e. g. university, college, academy, conservatoire, music school or private instruction).

All stages of the competition are open to the public.

In the event of disagreements or differences of opinion arising from translation, the German text of the printed brochure is definitive.

Age Categories

The competition is divided into two categories.

Category A: Competitors born after August 5, 2000
Category B: Competitors born after August 5, 1995

Competitors may perform in one category only.

Competitors who have already won a First Prize in a former International Competition for Young Pianists in Ettlingen may not compete again in the same category.


Applications can be made from January 1, 2016 until April 30, 2016. After the deadline, no further applications are possible.

Please apply online using the link Online Application

The application should contain the following:

a) the fully completed online-application form
b) a recent passport photo
c) Scan of the ID-Card or Passport (page with picture)
d) mp3-files with audio-recordings by the applicant
    (see Preliminary Judging and Repertoire Category A, Repertoire Category B)

Preliminary Judging

A preliminary judging based on the recordings will determine who may take part in the competition. The jury for the preliminary judging will consist of Robert Benz (Germany, President), André Marchand (Germany) and Kristin Merscher (Germany). The candidates’ name and nationality will be unknown to the jury during the preliminary judging.

All prizewinners of former Ettlingen International Competitions for Young Pianists will be allowed to take part without submitting a recording.

Four weeks after the closing date, the results of the preliminary judging will be sent to all applicants. Together with the result of the preliminary judging, successful applicants will receive further information regarding the competition.

On arriving at Ettlingen the applicants who have been accepted are asked to report to the competition office and to present a valid passport for their registration.

The order of playing will be decided by ballot. The competitors must be present personally when the registration and drawing of lots take place.

Entrance Fee

Applicants who have not been accepted after the preliminary judging are not obliged to pay a fee.

The entrance fee for successful applicants is 100 Euro and this must be paid by July 1, 2016.
It should be made payable free of charge for the payee to

Account holder Piano Ettlingen
Account number (IBAN) DE73 6605 0101 0001 0707 05
Name of Bank Sparkasse Karlsruhe Ettlingen
Bankcode (BIC) KARSDE66

On payment the full name of the competitor should be given.

The fee cannot be refunded in the case of applicants who have been accepted on the grounds of their recording and have then decided to withdraw.

Repertoire Category A

(Competitors born after August 5, 2000)

The competition for Category A will take place in one round.
All pieces must be played from memory.

Competitors may perform their programme with or without repeats, as long as the total length of the programme remains within the prescribed playing time. The jury reserves the right to stop the competitor if the performance exceeds the time limit.

The total playing time must amount to at least 20 min, but must not exceed 25 min.

1. An etude from ”Art of Finger Dexterity” op. 740 by Czerny
or one of the following etudes:
Chopin, from op. 10, nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 12; from op. 25 nos. 1, 2, 6, 9, 11;
Liszt, Concert Etudes ”Waldesrauschen”, ”Gnomenreigen”, ”La leggierezza”, ”Un sospiro”

2. One movement from a sonata by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven

3. One or more works or single movements from the Baroque period up to the present

The audio-recordings for the preliminary judging should contain the following works:
a) The etude (Repertoire section 1)
b) One work or movement from section or 2 or 3

Repertoire Category B

 (Competitors born after August 5, 1995)

The competition for category B will take place in two rounds.
For the second round, approximately twelve competitors will be chosen from those taking part in the first round.

The jury reserves the right to stop the competitor if the performance exceeds the time limit.

All works must be played from memory.

First Round:
The total playing time must amount to at least 15 min, but must not exceed 20 min.

1. Haydn: The first movement of a sonata of the competitor's choice, without repeats
2. J. S. Bach: One Prelude and Fugue from the ”Well-Tempered Clavier” Book I or ll
3. An etude by Chopin, Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Rachmaninov or Scriabin
4. One or more pieces or movements chosen by the competitor, which may also be chosen from the repertoire of the second round

Second Round:
The total playing time including repeats must amount to at least 30 min, but must not exceed 40 min

5. A sonata by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven or Schubert
6. One or more romantic works
7. One or more works from Impressionism up to the present

Pieces required in section 1, 2 and 3 (first round) may not be played in the second round.

The audio-recordings for the preliminary judging should contain the following works:
a) The first movement of the Haydn-Sonata (Repertoire section 1)
b) The etude (Repertoire section 3)
c) One work or movement from section 6 or 7 


Robert Benz, Germany (President)

received his first piano lessons from his father at the age of 4 years. He studied with Naoyuki Taneda at the University of Music in Karlsruhe, and with Rosina Lhevinne and Martin Canin at the Juilliard School in New York. He won first prize at both the International Busoni Competition in Bolzano in 1974 and in 1976 at the International Liszt-Bartók Competition in Budapest. Concert engagements have taken him throughout Europe, the USA, Korea and Japan. Robert Benz has recorded the complete cycle of Beethoven's piano sonatas onto CD and has been the Trio Bamberg's pianist since 1996. He has also held the chair of Professor for Piano at the University of Music in Mannheim since 1990.


Christopher Elton, Great Britain

was born in Edinburgh and studied piano and cello at the Royal Academy of Music in London. During his studies he won numerous prizes at British and International competitions. He currently is Head of the Keyboard Department at the Royal Academy of Music in London. His pupils have achieved many prizes at international competitions such as Van Cliburn, Moscow-Tchaikovsky, New York Young Concert Artists, Leeds, Munich, Hamamatsu, etc. Christopher Elton is jury member in international competitions, at music festivals and television events, and has given concerts in recent years in Europe, USA, Australia and Vietnam. He was appointed a Professor of the University of London in 2003.


Daejin Kim, Republic of Korea

studied with Martin Canin at Juilliard School. He won the first prize at the Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition (now the Cleveland Competition) and has given master classes and performed throughout USA, Europe and Asia. He received a decoration for 'the Artist of the Year' by the Ministry of Culture in Korea. His discography includes the Piano Concertos (KV 488 and KV 453) by Mozart in which he conducted the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra from the keyboard. Currently, he is a professor at the Korean National University of Arts and has been a jury member for the most prestigious international competitions. His student, Sunwook Kim won the first prize in Ettlingen (2004), Clara Haskil (2005) and Leeds (2006).


André Marchand, Germany

started to play the piano at age three and grew up as a member of Dresdner Kreuzchor. He studied in Freiburg and Paris with Carl Seemann, Pierre Sancan, Yvonne Lefébure and Thierry de Brunhoff. At age 27 he became Professor of Piano in the University of Wisconsin, at 30 at University of Music Freiburg, and since 1985 in University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart. His worldwide activities include Concerto, Solo and Chamber appearances and Guest-Professorships in USA, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, France, Italy, Greece, Spain etc.. His students are teaching in important Universities and Conservatories in USA, Japan, Greece, Spain, Korea, Italy and Germany.


Kristin Merscher, Germany (Preliminary Judging)

was born in 1961 in Frankfurt/Main and studied with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Pierre Sancan and György Sebök. She performed with many renowned orchestras, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Amsterdam Philharmonic and the Munich Philharmonic and played all over Europe, as well as the USA, Canada and the Far East. She recorded for radio and TV stations in Germany and abroad. With Maria Kliegel she released on Naxos Records the complete sonatas for piano and violoncello of Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Brahms. Since 1990, Kristin Merscher is professor of piano at the University of Music Saarland, Germany.  


John Owings, USA

was born in San Antonio and studied in Texas with Dalies Frantz and Karl Leifheit. Further studies with Géza Anda, Wilhelm Kempff, Rosina Lhevinne and Martin Canin. He is head of the piano department at Texas Christian University (TCU). As recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician, he has performed extensively in the USA, Europe, Asia and Latin America, and has been a jury member for many competitions. He received first prize and the Ravel Medal in the Robert Casadesus Competition (now the Cleveland Competition), and TCU’s highest honor – the Chancellor’s Award – in recognition of his performances of the 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas.


Gitti Pirner, Germany

gave her first piano recital at the age of seven and when she was eight she made her „debut“ with Mozart‘s piano concerto in A major KV 488. When, aged 12, she played this concerto in a German city the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported on what it called an “artistic sensation”. She won the first prize at the international music competition in Geneva and has performed with conductors such as Sergiu Celibidache, Rudolf Kempe, Helmuth Rilling, Armin Jordan und Franz Welser-Möst. Alongside her career as a soloist she dedicates herself to chamber music and song-accompaniment. She has been in the jury for international competitions such as the ARD competition and holds a professorship at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich.


Ewa Poblocka, Poland

studied at the Music Academy in Gdansk, and is prizewinner of competitions in Vercelli, Bordeaux and Warsaw. She has performed throughout most of Europe, as well as in America, the Far East and Australia. She has given concert performances with, among others, London Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Bayerischer Rundfunk and Polish National Philharmonic Orchestra in Warsaw. She has been broadcasted widely and recorded for labels like Deutsche Grammophon and Victor JVC. For her recording of Field’s complete Nocturnes she was awarded the John Field Medal. Ewa Poblocka also enjoys performing chamber music.


Eliane Reyes, Belgium

received her early training from her mother and gave her first concert at the age of five. She studied at the Brussels Conservatoire Royal, Berlin Hochschule des Künste, Salzburg Mozarteum and the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur. Her concert career has taken her to North America and the Far East, as well as throughout Europe. Her recordings have brought various awards and honours. She is professor of piano at the Brussels Conservatoire Royal de Musique as well as Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique and a frequent member of international competition juries. In July 2016 she was granted the title „Chevalier des arts et des lettres“ by the French Culture Minister. 1996 she was awarded the first prize (Category B) at the 5th Ettlingen International Competition.


Wolfgang Watzinger, Germany

was born in Darmstadt, Germany, and studied at the Music Academies in Freiburg, Germany and Salzburg, Austria. He has served as Professor of Piano at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna since 1994. In 1971 he won First Prize at the National Piano Competition of the German Music Academies in Frankfurt. In 1973/74 he studied with Rudolf Serkin at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. 1980-1994 he was Professor of Piano at the music academies in Berlin and Detmold. He has performed in major European cities, the USA, South Africa, Japan, South Korea and China. With Bruce Berg he recorded the complete Violin Sonatas of Brahms (Centaur Records, 2001). His Solo CD (2004, Genuin Musicproduction) includes the Paganini Variations by Brahms and the Reger Bach Variations.

Order of events


Categorie B
Fri  August, 05 19:00 h  Drawing of lots at the Musikschule
Sat    August, 06 09:30 h  Start of the First Round at the castle
Tue  August, 09 09:30 h  Start of the Second Round at the castle
Wed  August, 10 13:00 h  End of the Second Round at the castle
Categorie A
Wed  August, 10 17:00 h  Drawing of lots at the Musikschule
Thu  August, 11 09:30 h  Start of the auditions at the castle
Sat  August, 13 18:00 h  End of the auditions at the castle
Categorie A + B
Sun  August, 14 11:30 h Awards Ceremony and Prizewinners' Concert at the “Stadthalle”



The competitor's performance will be assessed on a points system.

If a member of the jury has taught a competitor within the last two years, he will abstain from assessing that competitor.

The results for Category B will be announced after each round has finished, and for Category A after the competition for this category.

The decisions of the jury are final and not subject to question, review or appeal.


A Steinway Grand Piano, Model C, will be used for the auditions in the castle. For the Prizewinners' Concert in the “Stadthalle” the instrument will be a Steinway Grand Piano, Model D.

There will be a sufficient number of Yamaha pianos available for practising purposes at the Musikschule. They may be used between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. during the time of the competition.

Prizes and Awards

Category A                       Category B

1. Prize  2,000 Euro         1. Prize  5,000 Euro
2. Prize  1,000 Euro         2. Prize  2,500 Euro
3. Prize     750 Euro         3. Prize  1,250 Euro
4. Prize     600 Euro         4. Prize  1,000 Euro
5. Prize     500 Euro         5. Prize     750 Euro

• Encouragement Awards (Categories A and B)
• Special commendation for young talents (Category A)
• Haydn-Prize (Category B)
• EMCY Special Prize (Category B)
• Bärenreiter Urtext Prize (Categories A and B)

The First Prize of both categories cannot be shared.

The First Prizewinner in Category B will be invited to give a concert in Ettlingen. In addition to this there is an invitation to perform a piano recital in Trier (Germany).

Selected participants will be invited to a master class at the Junior Academy Eppan (Italy) .

The prizewinners are obliged, according to the wishes of the jury, to participate in the Awards Ceremony and Prizewinners' Concert, otherwise they will lose their right to the prize awarded. Fees may not be claimed by any competitor on account of television broadcasts or recordings made during the whole competition.


If you need further informations or assistance:
Please use THIS LINK  to contact us by email.