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  competitions 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, operates with a three year rotation of events: an adult competition for pianists 18 – 30 years of age, a young artist competition for pianists 13 – 17 years of age, and a festival that showcases past prize winners and other famous piano artists performing music ranging from classical to jazz genres. The competition events draw applicants, artists, and audience from countries the world over.

March 8-12, 2018 is the inaugural year of the festival:  BravoPiano!…a Festival from Bach to Brubeck.  Events will include solo piano recitals, lecture/recitals, a performance of chamber music, interactive discussions about jazz and the interrelationship with classical music, a jazz piano concert, and a gala finale night of three piano concerti played with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra.  Featured performers include Jon Kimura Parker, Steven Lin, Charlie Albright, Fei-Fei Dong, Elliot Wuu, Ran Dank, Soyeon Kate Lee, and The Christian Sands Trio.  We are thrilled not only to offer multiple performance formats and a range of musical genres, but also to present numerous stellar, prize-winning artists whose stars continue to rise on the international stage.

Returning in March, 2019, twenty select 18-30 year old artists will be competing in four  exciting rounds for $34,000 in cash prizes, a Carnegie Hall concert, and a CD recording on the Steinway label. In addition, the First Prize winner earns a return engagement as soloist with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, and other performance opportunities. The prestigious 2019 juries are comprised of 10 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.

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 III, and a special Lecture/Recital by the Jury Chair.

The HHIPC for ages 17-30 will return in March, 2020, when twenty pianists will compete in three rounds for $21,500 in cash prizes. The First Prize winner will also be awarded a return performance with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and other performance engagements.