Tunbridge Wells International Music Competition

It may be early in 2024, but the Mayfield Festival is already well organised, offering a feast of music and culture to appeal to the ear and eye. As part of the Festival, the Tunbridge Wells International Music Competition will be taking place between 1st and 5th May.


The aim of the Competition is to encourage youthful musical talent, and it has been going since 1979. In that time, it has seen many of its winners such, as Paul Lewis and Anne-Sofie von Otter, go on to international careers in music.

The Competition held in 2022 was a great success, with a record number of young people taking part. The three finalists, Edvard Pogossian, cello (also overall winner and audience prize winner); Tabea Streicher, piano; and Sofiia Matviienko, flute, have gone on to even greater things since then, winning more prizes and taking part in concerts around the world. And this is true of other former finalists, with some even taking to composing – a piece by Joy Lisney, cello, who was a strings finalist in 2018, was recently premiered at Wigmore Hall, in a concert by the Mithras Trio, made up of two former finalists, Dominic Degavino, piano and Ionel Manciu, violin, together with Leo Popplewell, cello. The trio won the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition in 2019 and has just launched its first CD.

The Competition is held in the beautiful surroundings of the Mayfield School. A feast of wonderful playing will be on offer on all five days: the first round from 1st to 3rd May; the semi-finals on 4th May and the finals on 5th May. Anyone can come along to the school to hear the stars of tomorrow play, for a very reasonable sum. Edvard Pogossian will be giving a concert during the Festival, as one of the aims of TWIMC is to offer performance opportunities to its finalists. In fact, he will be playing the iconic Elgar Cello Concerto in the final concert of the Festival. The winner of this year’s Competition will be returning in 2026.

As ever, there will be impressive judges casting a firm but fair eye over the young competitors. This year, they are: Martin Roscoe and Susan Tomes, piano section; Juliet Bausor and Richard Watkins, wind; and Raphaël Pidoux and Louise Williams, strings. Two of the judges, horn player Richard Watkins and pianist Martin Roscoe, will be giving a concert on Friday 3rd May, in a tradition started by Levon Chilingirian, the President of the Competition.

The Competition is run by volunteers and funded by donations, and the friends scheme, a link to which can be found on the website, is open to anyone. We are always looking for volunteers, who can help in a variety of ways, from reception to driving, to stewarding; if you would like to be involved, please contact [email protected]. So please, get involved, come along, hear some wonderful music and see the stars of tomorrow!


CommunityAd Exclusive - Tunbridge Wells International Music CompetitionVivian Widgery

Tunbridge Wells International Music Competition


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