About Us

One of the World’s Greatest Piano Competitions

The Sydney International Piano Competition has always held events at the highest international level. It inspires pianists and audiences a-like stimulating interest in the piano and music in general and providing a platform to showcase outstanding pianists from around the world and assist in developing their careers.

The Sydney is one of the major international events of its kind in the world. Founded by the late Miss Claire Dan AM, OBE, Rex Hobcroft AM and Robert Tobias, it was inaugurated in July 1977 and has since been held every four years, except in 1988 when it was brought forward to coincide with the Bicentenary of Australia celebrations. The Sydney was admitted as a member of the Geneva based World Federation of International Music Competitions in 1978, the first Australian competition to be accepted as a member.

Sydney is not only a significant centre of the arts, but a city which has produced and fostered artists of international distinction, whose contributions to music are well known. The Sydney Opera House is a symbol of the city’s commitment to attaining the highest standards in all areas of the performing arts. The Sydney Conservatorium of Music, in the centre of the city with its ‘back-yard’ the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens, is home to the Competition.

Sydney Opera House

Our Patrons

His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret'd)
Vice Regal Patron

His Excellency General the Honourable David John Hurley AC DSC (Retd) was sworn in as the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 July 2019.
Maestro Valery Gergiev
Artistic Patron

The Sydney welcomes back Maestro Valery Gergiev as Artistic Patron of the 2020 Sydney International Piano Competition. As one of the most prominent musical figures of our time, one of the world’s most renowned and indefatigable conductors, Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg for over twenty years, Principal Conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, and Chair of the Organising Committee of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, he is in an extraordinary position to help our prize-winners on their own paths to musical glory.

Artistic Director

Piers Lane AO
Artistic Director

Piers Lane AO is the Artistic Director of the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia; 2016 was the first year with Piers at the creative helm, and his enthusiasm, skills and sheer musical ability bring exciting changes.

Our Team

Marcus Barker
Chief Executive

Suzy Browne

Kate Murphy
Administration and Marketing Coordinator

Our Board

Virginia Braden OAM

Tom Breen

Hamish Lane

Cyrus Meher-Homji OAM

Ron Ogden

Elizabeth Stuart

Our Founders

Claire Dan, AM OBE

Claire Dan AM, OBE was born in Hungary 1920, and became an Australian citizen in 1954. She committed her life to the performing arts and improving opportunities for artists both internationally and in Australia.

In 1976 she founded the Cladan Cultural Institute of Australia, a private philanthropic body established to encourage and develop cultural exchange. Her aim through the Insitute was “to help music, theatre and the arts, and to encourage young people” and to bring prestige to the musical profile of Australia. One of Dan’s first achievements with the help of Rex Hobcroft, Director of NSW Conservatorium of Music, was to establish the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia; the foundation continues to this day to be a major sponsor of the Competition, providing on-going financial support.

Rex Hobcroft, AM

Rex Hobcroft was one of the most universally admired figures in Australian music.

A teacher, conductor and administrator and notably the first Australian to play the complete cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas in public. He held directorships at the Conservatoriums of Sydney and Tasmania. Hobcroft was a co-founder of the Competition and was one of the international jurors for the Competition over a number of years. Many of his innovations have been incorporated into other competitions around the world.

Robert Tobias, OAM

Robert has had a great interest in piano since he was young and is one of the co-founders of the Sydney International Piano Competition. He has been a lifelong advocate of the benefit and joy that the piano brings to people and to that end has sat on either the Executive Committee or the Board of Directors of the Competition for more than 35 years and has been involved with the Competition since its inception in 1977. Robert has been a lawyer for more than 45 years with global law firm, DLA Piper in Sydney before retirement. His focus in the corporate world is on regulation and compliance and he also advises on directors’ duties and corporate governance.