PianoFest: the piano festival for the amateur

On December 21 & 22, 2019, the second edition of PianoFest, a piano festival especially for amateur pianists, will take place. The festival is open for everyone (min. age of 5 years) with a passion for piano music, for beginners as well as more advanced level and for all kinds of music styles. Students currently enrolled in vocational training at the conservatory, including preparatory education (from 15 years) and professional pianists, are excluded from participation.

Amateur Pianists

Would you like to be a concert pianist for just 5 minutes? Then this is your chance. On Saturday, 21 and Sunday 22 December, you can play 5 minutes on a beautiful Steinway concert grand piano on the main concert stages of the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Join in for fun and to gain stage experience in the 5-minutes-festival or sign up for the competition. In the concours you will be judged by a jury of professional musicians (Yoram Ish-Hurwitz, Daria van den Bercken, Tilmar Junius, Julien Libeer and David Kuyken) and perhaps be selected to take part in the finals on 22 of December. The finalists will play a repertoire of 10 to 15 minutes, this includes the 5 minutes of the preliminary round. Master pianist, Thomas Beijer, will also play a recital during the finale. The prize for the winners of PianoFest Competition 2019 is a masterclass with a famous pianist and two free entry tickets for three piano concerts of the Series Meesterpianisten (first price), two free entry tickets for two piano concerts of the Series Meesterpianisten (second price) and two free entry tickets for one piano concert of the Series Meesterpianisten (third price). This year, PianoFest also introduces a new price for the best composition. The winner of this price will also receive two free entry tickets for three piano concerts of the Series Meesterpianisten in het Concertgebouw.

Visitors and workshops

The festival is for every music lover, even if you do not play piano. Of course, you can come and listen to the 5-minute performances, but the program also offers free interactive workshops. Professional pianist will help you to discover your hidden talents and will show you what you can do on a piano. Even if you do not have experience playing, you can join professionals who will help you to make music. You can play for example your favourite piece of music on a historical instrument, you can learn how to improvise or play a quatre-mains with a professional. If you are more advanced you can even play together with a small-scale orchestra. Please note: Registration is required for some workshops. Registration can be done here.

All music styles and crossovers

The festival does not have music categories. You can participate with any kind of music: classical, Jazz, modern/contemporary music or even your own composition. The festival is also open to crossovers between different styles.

Ticket Sales and Registration

Participating in the competition or the 5-minute-festival is €25.00. Registration can be done here. Visiting the festival and participating in the workshops is free. You only need a free entry ticket. Tickets for the final concert on 22 of december, including a performance by master pianist, Thomas Beijer, cost €20.00. Both tickets are available here.

Help PianoFest to take place every year!

To make the second edition of PianoFest possible, PianoFest needs your help. With your contribution we can organise the 15 workshops and performances that take place on December 21 & 22. You can do a donation here.

If you have a question, do not hesitate to contact us at info@pianofest.nl.

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Terms & Conditions

I: The festival

During PianoFest 2019 each participant can play for a maximum of 5 minutes. The competition takes place in the main hall (Bernard Haitink hall). If you don’t want to compete, you can also perform in the 5-minute-festival in the Sweelinck hall. For the purpose of getting feedback, those candidates will also be judged by a committee of professionals. All participants receive a jury report with the image and sound recordings of their performance at home. Please note: In the finale of the competition a maximum of 4 participants will play a final repertoire of at least 10 and maximum 15 minutes, including the 5 minutes from the preliminary round. Registration for the competition requires you to prepare a set piece for the finale.

II: Terms of Participation

Participants are not allowed to be following any vocational training, such as preparatory education (from 15 years)/ vocational training conservatory (with the exception of the young talent class). You may also not be a professional pianist. Participants from the age of 5 can participate in PianoFest. All grade levels can enter. You can only register for a solo performance. There are no set pieces, no need to be able to play by heart, and there are no musical categories: light, classical, jazz, contemporary music and an original composition may be played. Each participant gets 10 minutes of playtime prior to the performance. Guidance behind the stages is only allowed for children up to 12 years and only by one person. Changes to the specified repertoire can only be sent by e-mail to info@pianofest.nl until 1st of December. After that, changes are no longer possible.

III: Registration Terms

You can register until 1st of December 2019 through the website, www.pianofest.nl. The registration and payment takes place via Eventbrite. If it is 'full' registration may close earlier. The entry fee for 2019 is € 25.00 per 5-minute play session during the festival or competition. A participant may participate only once. After choosing between the 5-minute-festival or competition (concours) stage, stating the piece of music to be played (including playing time) and selecting the preferred time of performance, the participant first pays the amount via Eventbrite, after which the place is definitively reserved. The organization determines the final program of the competition and reserves the right to make changes to the program. Naturally, this is done in consultation with the relevant participants. The registration fee will not be refunded if cancelled. In the event of a cancellation, an email must be sent to info@pianofest.nl. If a participant is younger than 18, it is assumed that the parents or guardians agree with the registration and with the terms and conditions.

IV: Judging the Preliminary Round of the Competition

The professional jury answers the question for each participant: To the final? With the answer: yes or no. In addition, each jury member assigns two points (numbers) to each participant: for musical interpretation and for technical execution. Point assignment is per decimal in decimals from 1.0 to 10.0. The three pianists with the most 'yes' will go to the final. The highest figures apply to ex aequo or 'close calls'. If the playing time is exceeded, a point is deducted from the total value. If the candidate plays a piece other than the specified works, a point is deducted from the total value. If two or more participants have an equal total score, the highest grade for musical interpretation is decisive. If this is also the same, the chairman of the jury will decide. If a participant has any kind of relationship with one of the judges, of whatever nature, this member of the jury will abstain from the assessment. In that case, the jury total of the other jury members is multiplied by a correction factor by the jury assistant. The award is not announced and the jury result is binding at all times. In all cases not provided for in the regulations, the jury will decide by a majority of votes.

V: Judging the Final Competition

The finalists will play a repertoire of a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 15 minutes. This repertoire is specified when registering for the competition. Every jury member has two more points: musical interpretation and technical execution. The points are added together. With equal score, the musical interpretation is decisive. If this score is also the same, the chairman decides. There will be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winner

Festival Location

The festival takes place at The Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Oosterdokskade 151


Parking Centrum Oosterdok is located under the Oosterdokseiland, next to the conservatory.

Public transport

By public transport you can reach the Amsterdam Conservatory with all subways, trams and buses with Amsterdam Central Station stop. Tram line 26 (IJtram) and 25 have a stop at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. From there it is a few minutes’ walk to the Conservatory van Amsterdam.

On Foot

From Central Station: take exit center, go left (eastbound) past the bus platforms. Follow signs to Route Oosterdok, the Conservatorium van Amsterdam is temporarily accessible via the bike path. from the Eastern town / Waterhole: Valkenburgerstraat, via NEMO pier over the Van der Velde bridge (at NEMO). from the IJ (PTA, De Ruyterkade, ferry): through the East Tube of the Oostertoegang and the jetty.

By Bike

Via the bicycle bridge (left of the running pier to the Nemo). At the end of the bicycle bridge you will see the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. In front of the entrance of the conservatory is the entrance to the guarded bicycle shed (you have to go down the stairs).

Professional Jury

Yoram Ish-Hurwitz

The chairman of the jury is Yoram Ish-Hurwitz, concert pianist and also active in chamber music. He is a cultural entrepreneur and artistic director of Oranjewoud Festival at Heerenveen. Ish-Hurwitz has also released eight solo CDs with works by, among others, Franz Liszt, Isaac Albéniz and Sergey Prokofiev.

Daria van den Bercken

The Dutch, Daria van den Bercken, is a concert pianist of Russian origin. In 2012 she received the Amsterdam Art Award, one of the most prestigious prizes in the capital. Daria specializes in, among other things, the rarely played keyboard music by Georg Friedrich Händel, which she propagates with striking activities, such as house concerts in Amsterdam and a concert in São Paulo in the summer of 2012, with her concert grand piano hanging on a crane.

Tilmar Junius

The Dutch pianist Tilmar Junius has a great fascination for jazz and improvisation. He is a freelancer in many music styles and plays in various bands. With drummer Wim Kegel and bass player Jan Voogd, Tilmar recorded two very well received trio CDs, 'Plots' (2000) and 'Songs and Dances' (2005). He gave concerts on important Dutch jazz venues such as the Bimhuis and Lantaren / Venster and played at the North Sea Jazz Festival on several occasions. Tilmar is affiliated with the ArtEZ Conservatory as head of the Jazz & Pop department and as Main Subject Teacher, Piano.

David Kuyken

Principal Teacher of Piano at the conservatories in Amsterdam and The Hague and Artistic Advisor to the Stichting PianoFest. David Kuyken is a frequently asked juror and regularly gives master classes at home and abroad. David Kuyken is a very versatile pianist and has played with various orchestras under conductors such as Comissiona, Montgomery, Haenchen, Lazariev, Ros Marbá, Vedernikov, Vonk, Östmann, Brüggen and Spanjaard. Besides recitals, David Kuyken also gave numerous chamber music concerts alongside violinists, Janine Jansen, Candida Thompson and Ilya Grubert.

Nino Gvetadze

Of the Georgian concert pianist 5 solo CDs, have been published with works by Liszt, Debussy, Moussorgsky, Rachmaninoff and Chopin. She has won several prizes including the Second Prize of the Press Prize and Audience Award of the International Fransz Liszt Piano Competition 2008. And she was also the winner of the prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2010

About Us

The Board - foundation PianoFest Lizzy Beekman (chairman / business coordinator) Willem Mulder (treasurer / production coordinator) Olga Jansz (secretary / technical coordinator) Sandra Buijs (communication)

The board receives artistic advice from David Kuyken of the Conservatory of Amsterdam. In addition, foundation PianoFest is a member of the working group, Competitions of the Classical Music Coalition.

Vision foundation

The PianoFest Foundation is a bridge builder between public and culture. The festival focuses on activating amateur musicians and on the broadening of an audience for professional performing arts.

Objective foundation

Encouraging active participation and involvement in practicing piano music by contributing to:

  • the development of the talent of amateur musicians, possibly, but not necessarily as a stepping-stone to a professional practice;
  • the social embedding of music by showing that practicing music is accessible to everyone and not just for a small elite;
  • the cultivation of audiences for (among others, classical, jazz, contemporary, etc.) music and other performing arts.

Cultural ANBI Status

Foundation PianoFest has had a cultural ANBI (Public Benefit Organization) status since December 2017. RSIN: 858218562 Chamber of Commerce: 70256624


The festival is made possible in part by the support of: The Conservatory of Amsterdam, AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts), the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, the P.W. Janssen's Friesche Foundation and the Hofstee Foundation. There is still room for more donors!

Contact us for any question through info@pianofest.nl

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