Honens International Piano Competition

Deadline: 08/11/2020
Location: Calgary, Canada
Disciplines: Piano
From: 14/10/2021 To: 22/10/2020
Age limit: 20-30


Pianists who are no younger than 20 years of age on 14 October 2021 and no older than 30 years of age on 22 October 2021, with the exception of previous Honens Laureates and professionally managed pianists, are eligible to apply.

How to Apply

Applications to the Honens International Piano Competition are accepted online through the Embark application platform.

It is not necessary to complete your application in one sitting. The information you submit will be saved and you will be able to return as many times as necessary until you are ready to submit.

Application Fee

$125 USD

This non-refundable fee must be paid by credit card with the submission of online applications. Credit card information will be submitted securely. There are no fee waivers.


DEADLINE EXTENDED. All materials, including letters of reference, must be received by 8 November 2020 (23:59 GMT-07:00).

Supporting Application Documents

Applicants must upload the following documents to the Embark platform, which support the information provided in the application:

  • Biography: a professional biography outlining your achievements
  • Identification: proof of age (passport or similar government-issued identification)
  • Education: diploma, certificates, and transcripts
  • Scholarships, Awards, and other Competitions: diploma, certificates, and letters
  • Reviews: published and / or online
  • Professional Experience: proof of orchestra, chamber music, and solo recital performances (house programs), and commercial recordings (cover art)
  • Photographs: at least one colour headshot suitable for reproduction (300 dpi minimum)

Only PDF documents and JPEG photographs will be accepted.

All document scans must be legible (grey scale or black and white recommended). Photographic images must be submitted in full colour.

Do not mail paper copies or forward email attachments of documents or photographs unless directed to do so by Honens.

To be considered, all supporting documents not in English must be accompanied by English translations.

Applicants who encounter any difficulties should contact Honens at competition@honens.com for assistance and further instructions.

Each application must include two confidential letters of recommendation from musicians of international standing, who are not related to the applicant, and who are qualified to attest to an applicant’s musical ability.  The online application requires that the applicant provide the names and email addresses of the persons who have agreed to provide recommendations. The online application system contacts these persons directly by email and asks them to submit their recommendations electronically. Honens will accept a paper recommendation when it is enclosed in a sealed envelope with the recommender’s name signed across the flap.

These confidential assessments should address the applicant’s suitability and readiness for the Honens Competition and for a professional career in music.

It is each applicant’s responsibility to ensure that letters are submitted on or before the application deadline date: 8 November 2020. Submissions not including at least two reference letters will be considered incomplete.


Application submissions are accepted from 1 February to 30 October 2020. Applicants are evaluated on their proposed Competition programming, experience relative to age, and confidential reference letters.


Each Quarterfinalist performs a 40-minute solo recital and 10-minute interview with an arts journalist in either New York or Berlin in March 2021. Quarterfinal recitals are not open to the public.


Each Semifinalist performs in two separate rounds.

Semifinals I

A 65-minute solo recital which must include a newly commissioned work by Canadian pianist and composer Stewart Goodyear.

Semifinals II

A 60-minute solo / collaborative recital which must include one of Beethoven’s ten violin sonatas, one piece from Fritz Kreisler’s Alt-Wiener Tanzweisen, and solo repertoire to complete the program.


Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Major Op. 12, No. 1
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Major Op. 12, No. 2
Violin Sonata No. 3 in E-flat Major Op. 12, No. 3
Violin Sonata No. 4 in A minor Op. 23
Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Major Op. 24 “Spring”
Violin Sonata No. 6 in A Major Op. 30, No. 1
Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor Op. 30, No. 2
Violin Sonata No. 8 in G Major Op. 30, No. 3
Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major Op. 47 “Kreutzer”
Violin Sonata No. 10 in G Major Op. 96

Kreisler (fr. Alt-Wiener Tanzweisen)

Schön Rosmarin


Each Finalist performs in two separate rounds and undertakes a 30-minute interview with an arts journalist.

Finals I

A chamber music recital which must include a Mozart concerto (from a prescribed list) with a string quintet, and a set of Schubert lieder (from a prescribed list) with a soprano.


Piano Concerto No. 11 in F Major KV 413
Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major KV 414
Piano Concerto No. 13 in C Major KV 415
Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat Major KV 449

Schubert—Program I

Die Forelle D. 550 (D-flat Major)
Du Bist die Ruh D. 776 (E-flat Major)
Der Erlkönig D. 328 (G minor)

Schubert—Program II

Gretchen am Spinnrade D. 118 (D minor)
Nacht und Träume D. 827 (B Major)
Die junge Nonne D. 828 (F minor)

Finals II

Any concerto composed after 1791 with full orchestra.


Cash Awards

Honens Prize Laureate
One pianist
$100,000 CAD

Finalists: Raeburn Prizes
Two pianists
$10,000 CAD each

Seven pianists
$2,500 CAD each

Best Performance of Commissioned Work
$2,500 CAD

Best Performance of a Beethoven Violin Sonata
$2,500 CAD

Artist Development Program

Aside from the cash portion of the award, Honens offers its Prize Laureate one of the most comprehensive artistic and career development programs in the world which includes worldwide representation; debut recitals in career-building markets which may include Berlin, London, New York, and Toronto; residencies and special projects; coaching and mentorship opportunities; and the production, release, and worldwide distribution of professional recordings.