1. REGISTRATION AND Preliminary round (video selection)

  • 21 December 2023: Feedback on admission to the competition by e-mail.
  • 31 December 2023: Deadline for the binding confirmation or cancellation of participation in the competition.

2. Competition rounds and concert

  • 01-02 March 2024: 1st competition round

The pianists will present their 20-30 minute programme to the jury committee. Participants must also explain their programme idea to the jury in a maximum 2-minute oral presentation (German or English) before the start of the competition.


The participants with the highest score will advance to the 2nd round of the competition.

  • 03 March 2024: Final competition round and public prize-winners concert

The participants present their 35-50 minute programme to the jury. Participants must also explain their programme idea to the jury in a maximum 2-minute oral presentation (German or English) before the start of the competition.


In the evening, the 3 participants with the highest score will give a public prize-winners concert.




The distinctive feature of the Schimmel Piano Competition is that the program to be performed must be independently conceived and follow a thematic idea. The result should be an attractive concert program in which the concept of the program is ideally already understood from its title and the chosen works without further oral or written explanations. Thus, in addition to the pianistic-artistic quality, the attractiveness and originality of the submitted concert programs will also be evaluated.


The program concept can deal with the connections as well as with contrasts and breaks between the individual works, and thus show references beyond the boundaries of epochs and genres. Improvisations and compositional interventions are permitted if the concept convincingly demands them. A curious immersion in the abundance of piano literature is strongly recommended!


The themes or headings of the program concepts may be abstract or concrete, and may be drawn from all sorts of fields: Mythology, literature, everyday life, nature, history, visual arts, life experience, technology, psychology. These are just a few examples. However, compositional or instrumental features can also be used to create a consistent program (e.g. "preludes", "capriccio", "staccato", "octaves"). Therefore, the possibilities are limitless.


Decisive in the conception of the program are artistic independence, individuality, originality, comprehensibility and attractiveness (entertainment value, pedagogical effects) for an audience. Participants must also explain their program idea to the audience and the jury in a maximum 2-minute introduction in German or English before the start of the competition. This introduction is mandatory.


The individual works of the program can be chosen freely and should, of course, meet high pianistic-artistic standards.


Two different program concepts must be prepared for the 1st competition round and the final round. Works from the 1st competition round may only be repeated in the final round if it is necessary for the realization of the intended program idea. 


Concept examples

Concept example for the 1st competition round on the topic of  "Dance voyage through the world of the 19th century" 

  • Moritz Moszkowski (1854–1925): Polonaise in B minor, op. 55 no. 3 (5,30 min.)
  • Enrico Granados (1867–1916): Valses poéticos (11 min.)
  • Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829–1869): Bamboula, op. 2 (7 min.)
  • Mili Alexejewitsch Balakirew (1837–1910): Tarantella in B major (7 min.)

 Duration of the 1st competition round: 20 to 30 minutes


Dance functions without any words and is therefore found in all nations and social classes, but can also be communicated across borders. In the piano music of the 19th century, there are excellent compositions for the folk dances practised at that time in practically every country. For a journey around the world, the works of these 4 composers offer an excellent cross-section:

Moritz Moszkowski's Polonaise op. 55 belongs to a collection of four Polish folk dances.  The Polonaise with its catchy melody sounds very majestic and dignified, but thus also perfectly corresponds to the character of this Polish national dance.

In the nine-part cycle Valses poeticos, Enrico Granados makes the waltzes sound less vivacious and more poetic. The Spanish soul can be found in the tender, melancholy melodies, which wonderfully "turn" and "waltz".

"Bamboula" was originally the name of an African drum dance with the characteristic of shouting, rattling, twirling and contorting. In the 19th century, black slaves in New Orleans in particular danced the Bamboula and sang to it in their respective languages, sometimes with the support of drums and wooden trumpets.

With the Tarantella, a folk dance from southern Italy, Mili Balakirew has composed an energetic piano piece that demands a lot from the pianist, but also corresponds very well to the character of the dance. The wild tarantella dance was performed by people after a scorpion or spider bite in order to expel the poison from the body.


Concept example for the final round on the topic of "Composed Improvisation"

  • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903 (12 min.)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Variations in G major, KV 455 „Unser dummer Pöbel meint“ (13 min.)
  • Ludwig v. Beethoven (1770-1827): Fantasia in G minor, op. 77 (10 min.)
  • Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849): Prelude in F minor, op. 28 no. 18 (1 min.)
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007): Klavierstück XI (14 min.) 

Duration of the final round: 30 to 50 minutes


The works in this example move between the traditional improvisation of the Baroque, which is presented here in composed form, and aleatoric music, which demands improvisational actions from the performers. In between, the historically interesting variations KV 455 by Mozart, which the composer improvised as an encore in honour of Christoph Willibald Gluck, who was present at a concert, and which was later written down.


You can find more concept examples on the page of the public final of the International Schimmel Piano Competition 2022: Final 2022


A change of your program concepts is no longer possible after registration!

Please contact us directly with any questions that relate exclusively to your program concept.




Please prepare the following files for the application form:

  • Your application video*
    • 10-15 min.
    • MP4
    • max. 1 GB
  • A portrait photo
    • JPG, PNG
    • professional quality
    • max. 10 MB
  • Copy of your passport or identity card
    • JPG, PNG, PDF
    • max. 10 MB

We also need from you:

  • The programme concepts for the 1st competition round (20-30 minutes) and the final round (35-50 minutes), including the planned play literature (maximum one DIN A4 page per concept).
  • Your brief vita (max. 2500 characters)

* What should I consider when creating the video?

  • Play a freely chosen repertoire for piano solo with a duration of min. 10, max. 15 minutes
  • Your face and hands should be clearly visible
  • The video should be uncut and unedited (without effects, zoom, titles or fades)
  • The sound recording should be of good technical quality (no dynamic compression)
  • The application video must have been recorded within the last 6 months

Your registration is only valid upon complete receipt of the files mentioned.

Please read the terms and conditions of participation carefully before registering! 

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