A world-renowned pianist famed for his interpretations of Beethoven’s music will star at an international piano festival celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Organisers have revealed for the first time the talented line up for next year’s Wales International Piano Festival which takes place at Galeri Caernarfon between May 1 and 4 next year.

The four-day festival organised by Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (William Mathias Music Centre) kicks off with a celebrity recital to be given by the legendary pianist John Lill CBE on Friday, May 1, at 7.45pm.

Tickets for the festival, which also sees the return of former BBC Young Musician of the Year Lauren Zhang, who won the festival’s Junior Solo piano competition in 2016, are now on sale at Galeri.

Aspiring pianists aiming to follow in Lauren’s footsteps are being reminded to apply to take part in the festival’s competitions before the January 17 deadline.  They include the junior solo piano competitions, the senior solo piano competition and the piano accompaniment competition.

Described as one of the leading pianists of his generation, John Lill has enjoyed an international concert career spanning five decades.

His talents emerged at an early age and he gave his first piano recital at the age of nine.

At the age of 18 he performed Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto under Sir Adrian Boult and made his London debut playing Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto at the Royal Festival Hall.

John has travelled the world as a recitalist and soloist and performed with the world’s most renowned orchestras, scooping numerous international accolades and awards. Awarded a CBE in 2005 for his services to music, he was also a good friend of the distinguished composer, William Mathias.

Iwan Llewelyn-Jones, artistic director of the festival, said: “John is our patron, he’s also one of the leading interpreters of Beethoven’s piano music and in 2020 it will be 50 years since he won first prize in the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow which is one of the greatest world platforms for launching the international careers of young pianists.

“For his recital John has chosen a wonderful programme including four of Beethoven’s most iconic and well-known sonatas including the Pathétique, Moonlight, Waldstein’ and the breath-taking Appassionata.”

On Saturday, May 2, the festival’s evening concert will be devoted to Beethoven’s chamber music including the magnificent Archduke Trio and his rarely heard arrangements of Welsh folk songs.

Iwan added: “This will be also be a landmark event in the Welsh music calendar as there will be four world premieres of new chamber compositions inspired by Beethoven, and based on Welsh folk songs, written by Pwyll ap Sion, Joseph Davies, Sarah Lianne Lewis and Bethan Morgan-Williams.

“Lauren Zhang won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition in 2018 with an incredible performance of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto in the final. She is now on the threshold of a major career.’

“She will performing in a special concert on Sunday, May 3, at 7.45pm that celebrates one of the most colourful decades of the 20th century, the Roaring Twenties. This concert will also include multi-hand piano works by some of the most outrageous characters of the era, Satie, Grainger, Walton and Saint-Saëns.

“The 2020 festival presents an opportunity for pianists of all ages to take part in several competitions in front of a panel of international pianists and expert adjudicators.

“We want to inspire the next generation of young pianists and musicians from the local community as well as bringing world class performers to Caernarfon. People should have access to music of the highest quality on their doorstep and that’s our principle aim with this unique festival.

“The festival will close with the finals of the competitions on Monday May 4 and a warm welcome awaits everyone.

“We are particularly grateful to our sponsors who include Tŷ Cerdd, the Arts Council of Wales, the Foyle Foundation,  the Colwinston Trust , the Pendine Park care organisation, Roberts of Port Dinorwic and  Snowdonia Fire and Security.”

Tickets are on sale now. To book call the Galeri Box Office on: (+44) 01286 685 222 or visit: https://www.galericaernarfon.com/. For more information about the festival and to apply for competitions visit: https://www.pianofestival.co.uk/