International Norah Sande piano contest held in town

Norah dande Award in Eastbourne SUS-160714-163004001
Norah dande Award in Eastbourne SUS-160714-163004001

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 £3,000 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. Fifteen semi-finalists performed a 20-minute programme on Saturday July 9 before a prestigious adjudication panel, Timothy Barrratt, Ruth Gerald and David Patrick – 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.

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.

Daniel Evans, 22, from Bristol was named as runner up and received a cheque for £1,000. 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.

Spencer Freeman, the award’s artistic director, said, “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.

“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 12th Award finals there next year.”

Details of the 2017 event and entry form will shortly be available on This award has been enabled by a substantial bequest from the late Norah Sande.

It is run by Eastbourne Music and Arts Festival.

Alternatively, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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