The mission of the Hilton Head International Piano Competition is to encourage and support excellence in the performance of classical piano music by showcasing the talents of young pianists on the threshold of their careers in a competition adjudicated by internationally acclaimed judges, and to offer additional performance opportunities.


The Hilton Head International Piano Competition, one of the leading international piano competitions in the United States, holds a competition each year: an adult competition for pianists 18 – 30 years of age in the even numbered years, and a young artist competition for pianists 13 – 17 years of age in the odd-numbered years. The competition draws its applicants and audience from countries the world over .

The HHIPC will present its 22nd competition March 6–11, 2017. Twenty of the world’s best pianists, ages 13 – 17, compete in three exciting rounds for $21,500 in cash prizes. In addition, the First Prize winner earns a return engagement as soloist with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, and other performance opportunities. The prestigious 2017 juries are comprised of 8 internationally acclaimed pianists from numerous countries.

Competitors stay in the homes of host families, who provide lodging, meals, transportation, and access to a competition quality grand piano for practice. Over 200 volunteers staff all Competition events. Island residents host the judges for dinners in their homes during the week of Competition and others offer the judges use of their grand pianos for personal practice.

Most of the twenty competitors serve as Ambassadors to our local schools. Ambassadors perform at one of the public or private local schools and talk with students about life in their home country. Several thousand students in our area have benefited from, and are inspired by, this wonderful outreach program. The competition also provides the opportunity for students from local schools to attend the competition, many of whom have never before been exposed to a live performance.

Special events during the week which are open to the public include Master Classes given by the competition judges to competitors who are not advancing beyond Round II, and a special Lecture/Recital by the Jury Chairman.

The HHIPC for ages 17-30 will return in March, 2019, when twenty pianists will compete in fourrounds for $34,000 in cash prizes. The First Prize winner will also be awarded a return performance with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, a debut recital at Weill Recital Hall, a recording on the Steinway & Sons label, and other performance engagements.