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The 6th NTD International Piano Competition

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The NTD International Piano Competition is truly unique. Except for a specially commissioned composition, talented pianists perform pieces of the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras only. NTD believes those periods, spanning from 1600 to 1900, represent the purest form of classical music.

“Classical music composed between 1600 and 1900 was written in complete style, with beautiful melodic lines. There was a spiritual component to it as well: For instance, we know Baroque music was used to serve the church and to glorify God,” celebrated pianist Janara Khassenova said. Khassenova is the competition’s jury member and artistic advisor.

“It is important not to lose these [classical music] traditions and to maintain them. I think this particular mission of the competition is very valuable and important for society, and for musicians as well,” Nicolas Giacomelli, the 2019 Silver Award winner from Italy, said.
The last time the competition was held, in 2019, hundreds of pianists applied from across the world. Seventy-eight pianists, from 28 countries, qualified for the live rounds in New York.

This year, successful applicants will compete in three live rounds at one of the premier venues in New York City. Pianists performing in the semifinals onwards could have an audience of millions. The NTD Television and Epoch Times will livestream the semifinals, finals, and the Winners’ Concert and Award Ceremony via their multilingual websites and social media networks.


For the preliminary round, pianists must perform two pieces from a short list—a Toccata by J.S. Bach and an Étude by Chopin.
For the semifinal, pianists will perform the Commissioned Composition and select a Sonata by Beethoven, from a short list.
Competition finalists will perform a 40-minute recital, of their choice, from the Baroque, Classical, or Romantic periods.

Pianists cannot play the same piece twice in the competition.

Exclusive Commissioned Composition

Since 2016, pianists that advance to the semifinal have had the unique opportunity to perform a specially Commissioned Composition that blends beautiful Chinese melodies with the power and precision of the piano.

“It is a special piece of Chinese and Western tradition combined together,” Becky Yao, the Jury Chair of the competition, said.
This year’s competition is no different. The competition’s organizing committee will be honored to select a vocal piece composed by D.F., the artistic director of the New-York based Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company.

Competition jury, Susan Liu then rearranges the piece paying particular attention to the profound divine meaning of the lyrics, while staying true to the Eastern and Western music tradition.

According to the Shen Yun website, traditional Chinese music emphasizes the expression of inner feelings—the ancients always used musical instruments to relate their states of mind. Western music, meanwhile, focuses on the overall effect of the musical ensemble—and to achieve that, arrangement and harmony are of utmost importance.

“When I arrange the piece for the piano, I like to get back to the traditional harmony, the functional harmony,” Liu said.
All qualified contestants will be sent the specially arranged composition 45 days prior to performing the piece, by heart.
Liu encourages contestants to listen to the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra play the Shen Yun music, so they can understand how to convey the profound meaning of this harmonic blend of Eastern and Western music.

Performance Purity

Another unique quality of the competition is the judging. Competition jury members, all veteran piano scholars and educators, not only judge the pianist’s technical brilliance but they will be looking for the purity of the pianist’s performance, particularly how pianist communicates the inherent beauty and goodness of a classical composition to the audience.

“If a pianist puts very genuine thoughts and feelings into their performance then it will directly enter the audience’s ears: They will feel that energy and they will be moved,” Khassenova said.

Organizers of the NTD International Piano Competition sincerely believe that pianists entering the competition will be contributing to the renaissance of not only classical music but preserving traditional culture and uplifting humanity as a whole.
Pianists, between 17 and 35 years old, at the commencement of the competition, have until September 1, 2021 to enter the 6th NTD

International Piano Competition.

To apply, visit

Key Competition Dates
Application deadline:   September 1
Contestants announced:   September 15
Preliminary, semifinal, and final rounds:   November 3-5
Winners’ Concert and Award Ceremony:   November 6
Competition Awards
Gold   $10,000 USD
Silver   $6,000 USD
Bronze   $3,000 USD
Best Rendition of the Commissioned Composition   $3,000 USD
Outstanding Performance
Honorable Mentions