The City of Malaga International Piano Competition was inaugurated Friday, June 7, 2024, with a concert by one of the best pianists in the world, Elizabeth Leonskaja.

Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, she began her piano studies at age 6 and gave her first concert at age 11. In 1964, at the age of 19, she continued her musical training at the Moscow Conservatory with Jacob Milstein. After winning several prestigious competitions, such as the Enescu, the Marguerite Long and the Queen Elizabeth, she left the Soviet Union in 1978 and settled in Vienna. It was precisely her fantastic appearance at the Salzburg Festival (Austria) in 1979 that marked the beginning of her successful international career.

Today, Elisabeth Leonskaja is among the most celebrated pianists of our time. True to herself and her music, she follows in the footsteps of the great Russian musicians of the Soviet era, such as Oistrakh, Richter and Gilels, who never gave up their way of interpreting music despite a very difficult political environment. In her second homeland, Austria, Elisabeth Leonskaja is an honorary member of the Vienna Konzerthaus. In 2006, she was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor for Sciences and Arts, First Class, for her outstanding service to the country’s culture. It is the highest award in Austria. In Georgia, she was named a Priestess of Art in 2016, this country’s highest artistic honor. In 2020 she received the International Classical Music Lifetime Achievement Award (ICMA).

She has appeared as a soloist with virtually every major orchestra in the world, under the direction of conductors such as Thomas Dausgaard, Charles Dutoit, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Iván Fischer, Tugan Sokhiev, Yuri Temirkanov, and many others. In addition, she is frequently invited to summer music festivals, such as the Wiener Festwochen, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Schubertiade in Hohenems and Schwarzenberg. Despite her busy schedule as a soloist, chamber music has always played a prominent role in her work. Elisabeth frequently appears with ensembles such as Artemis Quartet, Belcea Quartet, Borodin Quartet and Emerson Quartet.

The first edition of the Málaga City International Piano Competition is carried out thanks to the main sponsorship of the Málaga City Council, the Unicaja Foundation, and the Málaga Provincial Council. Also thanks to the sponsorship of Sierra Blanca Estates, Marítimo 26, University of Málaga, AIE (Society of Performing Artists of Spain), Madese, Arizón Abogados, Royal Pianos, Bodegas Campos, Flow81, Andraca and Román sworn translators. And the support of the Málaga Philharmonic Orchestra, Córdoba City Council, Marbella City Council, Tenerife Auditorium, Lidiare, University of Málaga, Pharos Arts Foundation and Shigeru Kawai, Speaker Training and Bureau.