International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs
The International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs (French: Concours des Grands Amateurs de Piano) is a piano competition for amateur pianists, held in Paris, France. It has been held annually since 1989. The competition is widely considered to be one of the top-level competitions for amateur musicians in the world. 
Created in 1989 by Gérard Bekerman, professor of economics at the university and a graduate of the Paris School of Music, the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs is designed for top-level amateurs. They come from all walks of life – doctors, office workers, lawyers, students, pensioners, engineers, and many others. The contestant's minimum age is 18; there is no upper age limit.
The competition has met with considerable success over the years, attracting hundreds of candidates from more than 50 countries worldwide. One of the basic principles of the competition is the free choice of programme. There are no set pieces. The aim is not to limit the candidates, but to discover the works of musicians of their own choosing. Gérard Bekerman, the founder of the competition, claims that in Paris, the desire to "win" is outweighed by the love of music: "Pianists discover that the Competition for Outstanding Amateurs is not a competition but an 'anti-competition'. There are no opponents, no competitors, no judges, just music lovers".
The competition is held in three rounds:
- Preliminaries: candidate’s choice (10 minutes)
- Semi-finals: a work by Bach and a romantic composition (15 minutes)
- Finals: free program (30 minutes)
Ten to twelve semi-finalists and five or six finalists are selected each year.
The originality of the competition lies in the fact that the competitors are not amateurs in the sense of "dabblers", but pianists, "who don’t just play the piano", musicians who, at some time in their lives, have had to make a choice, often a difficult one, between their profession and their potential career as a concert performer, the choice between making a living and their love of music.
As a result, the quality of the performance is very high. Many of the amateurs are real virtuosi; pianists often choose technically tough pieces by Liszt, Chopin or Rachmaninoff for their repertoire.
The winners have been invited to play with orchestral backing in the Sorbonne in Paris, under the baton of Georges Prêtre and the American conductor George Pehlivanian and, more recently, with the Symphony Orchestra of the Republican Guard of Paris directed by François Boulanger and the orchestra of the Paris Conservatorium of Music conducted by Pierre-Michel Durand. Many award winners have been invited to play at the Les Amateurs Virtuoses! festival, one of the most significant festivals for amateur pianists held all over the world.
Each year, the panel of judges consists of well-known pianists and key personalities: Idil Biret, Geneviève Joy-Dutilleux, Anne Queffelec, Sabine Lacoarret, Germaine Devèze, François-René Dûchable, Marc Laforet, Aldo Ciccolini, Michel Dalberto, Jay Gottlieb, Alexis Weissenberg, Marc-Olivier Dupin, Éric Heidsieck, Jean-Claude Pennetier, Dominique Merlet, Siheng Song, Michel Beroff, Nella Rubinstein and so on.
A second "press panel" consists of more than twenty music critics representing both the main European dailies and the national and international media.
Finally, there is an "audience award" which is given to the amateur pianist who has the most votes from the audience, collected at the final round of the competition.
|No.||Year||1st||2nd||3rd||Press award||Audience award|
|20th||2009||Rupert Egerton-Smith (lawyer)||Dmytro Vynohradov (airline manager)||Romaine Coharde (meteorological engineer)||Romaine Coharde (meteorological engineer)||Rupert Egerton-Smith (lawyer)|
|21st||2010||Loïc Lafontaine (assistant manager)||Michael Cheung (management consultant)||Daniel Chow (chartered accountant)||Loïc Lafontaine (assistant manager)||Loïc Lafontaine (assistant manager)|
|22nd||2011||Simon Grisdale (interpreter)||Claire Rocher (mathematician)||Gorden Cheng (financial analyst)||Simon Grisdale (interpreter)||Robin Stephenson (mathematician)|
|23rd||2012||Dominic Piers Smith (race car designer)||Kensuke Ota (physician)||Ricker Choi (financial analyst)||Dominic Piers Smith (race car designer)||Dominic Piers Smith (race car designer)|
|24th||2013||Sylvain Carpentier (mathematician)||Paolo Gilardi (phycologist)||Jeremy Mätzener (law student)||Sylvain Carpentier (mathematician)||Sylvain Carpentier (mathematician)|
|25th||2014||Antoine Moreau (manager)||Thomas Prat (quantitative analyst)||Mikhail Dubov (computer scientist)||Mikhail Dubov (computer scientist)||Thomas Prat (quantitative analyst)|
|26th||2015||Samuel Bach (mathematician)||Eric Rouach (estate agent)||Eric Rouach (estate agent)||Eric Rouach (estate agent)|
|27th||2016||Olivier Korber (trader)||Olivier Dupont (financial engineer)||Olivier Korber (trader)||Olivier Korber (trader)|
|28th||2017||William Galton (mathematician)||Eric Rouach (estate agent)||Jean-Roch Le Henaff (medical student)||William Galton (mathematician)||Zach Weiner (software engineer)|
- Official International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs website
- 25ème Concours des Grands Amateurs de piano - Parlons Piano
- Mikhail Dubov (Press award 2014) in the final round of the 25th competition
- Interview with Ricker Choi, award winner at the 23rd competition
- International Chopin Piano Competition for Amateurs
- Piano Bridges International Competition for Amateur Pianists
- Competition report in the International Piano Magazine, accessed 5 January 2015.
- Putting the Amour Back in Amateur, Colorado Springs Independent, accessed 3 February 2015.
- Website of the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, accessed 5 January 2015.
- Interview with Gérard Bekerman in the "Crescendo" magazine Archived 2014-10-05 at the Wayback Machine., accessed 3 February 2015.
- Competition report in the "Pianist" magazine, accessed 3 February 2015.
- Website of the "Les Amateurs Virtuoses!" piano festival, accessed 3 February 2015.