George Enescu International Piano Competition

The George Enescu International Piano Competition is a music competition for young pianists that takes place in Bucharest, Romania. It has helped launch the careers of many musicians, and among its list of first-prize winners are legendary pianists such as Radu Lupu, the winner in the 1967 edition. Other winners include Russian pianists Elisabeth Leonskaja, in 1964, and Dmitri Alexeev, in 1970.


The competition started in 1958, as part of the George Enescu Festival, and celebrated its first five editions (1958, 1961, 1964, 1967, and 1970) in what was then the Socialist Republic of Romania. It was considered, by the countries of the Eastern Bloc, one of the most prestigious music competitions. Jury members included famous musicians such as Claudio Arrau, Nadia Boulanger, Arthur Rubinstein, Magda Tagliaferro, Guido Agosti, Florica Musicescu, Dmitri Bashkirov, Carlo Zecchi, and Lazar Berman. After the 1970 edition, there was a 21-year hiatus, after which the next competition was held in 1991, already in modern Romania. Only twice, in 1961 and in 2011, no first-prize was awarded.

The competition is a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions in Geneva. There have been twelve editions of the competition since its inaugural session in 1958, the next edition being in 2014.

The competition and prize-giving ceremony has historically taken place in the Romanian Athenaeum, with the mayor always traditionally attending.

The competition has, since 1958, discovered dozens of outstanding musicians for all over the world. Past piano laureates (not-including the first-prize winners) include Mikhail Voskresensky, Pascal Rogé, and Cristina Ortiz.

The prize has always included a generous cash award and numerous performing opportunities as a recitalist, soloist, and in chamber music settings, including concert appearances in many prestigious venues and festivals all over the world.