Competition Stages

Juries & Rules / Competition Repertory

Applicants are advised to consider each performance a concert, and to design programs with the same care and on the same principles as for a public recital. They are reminded to construct programs only after reviewing once more the artistic principles and criteria of the Competition.

Technical mastery of the piano is expected of all Honens pianists. While the choice of music which primarily displays virtuosity is of course acceptable, the Competition strongly encourages applicants to include in all their programs some pivotal works of the piano literature which are as demanding intellectually and emotionally as they are technically.

Applicants are ultimately free to choose whatever solo repertory they wish to perform, with the one exception that at some point in their Quarterfinal recital they must include a work specially commissioned for the Competition. However, jurors take into account the presence or absence of these pivotal works in the chosen repertory of each pianist.

Applicants are advised to include in their Stage One and Quarterfinal recitals a substantial work (or pivotal) which they feel shows their musicianship to best advantage, and not to leave such a work until their Semifinal recital. They are further encouraged to integrate the choice of songs creatively and logically into the design of their Semifinal program.

Chamber and song repertory is limited to works listed later in this application documentation. Applicants may choose any concerto written after 1760 that can be performed by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra without the addition of more than a few extra players. Should the Application Screening Jury feel that any applicant has chosen a concerto which might not show him or her off to advantage because of the rehearsal time needed or for any other reason, it so notifies the applicant who is then obliged to submit an alternative. Jurors consider the choice and performance of a demanding concerto from the classical era equally with the choice and performance of a work composed later. All repertory is subject to final approval by the Application Screening Jury. Repertory chosen for Stage One recitals must be programmed in Quarterfinal or Semifinal programs. No repertory played in the Quarterfinals may be repeated in the Semifinals.

Successful applicants may make changes to their programs as long as notice reaches Honens by March 10 2009, and the proposed changes are approved by the Competition’s Executive Director. After that date, absolutely no program changes are allowed.


The total time allotted for each recital or concert is to be taken as inclusive of applause and pauses between movements and works, i.e. the timing of the music itself will be slightly shorter than the times specified.

Applicants must include accurate timings of every work they choose. If, in the opinion of the Application Screening Jury, any program submitted appears too short or too long, Honens reserves the right to require a change or changes. Notice of such change(s) will be given within three weeks of the receipt of an applicant’s proposed repertory list.

Quarterfinal Compulsory Workk

Applicants must include in their choice of music the 8-minute work for piano by Canadian composer Brian Current that has been commissioned specially for the Sixth Honens Competition. The score of the commissioned work will be sent by June 30 2009 to all pianists invited to take part in the Quarterfinals. This piece includes an improvisatory element.


Semifinalists are encouraged to perform encores of two to three minutes after their 65-minute Semifinal recitals. Applicants are not required to include these works in their submission of Competition repertory.

Quarterfinal Recital for Violin and Piano

Applicants must choose one of the following programs for their Quarterfinals chamber music recital (performance order of works may not be changed).

Program I

Beethoven Sonata No. 9 for violin and piano in A major Op. 47 “Kreutzer”
Lutoslawski Subito

Program II

Brahms Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano in A major Op. 100 “Thun”
Stravinsky Suite Italienne from “Pulcinella”

Program III

Mozart Sonata No. 32 for violin and piano in B-flat major K. 454
Bartók Rhapsody for violin and piano No. 1 Sz. 86

Program IV

Janácek Sonata for violin and piano JW 7/7
Beethoven Sonata No. 4 for violin and piano in A minor Op. 23

Semifinal Song

Repertory The list of songs from which applicants must choose one 10-minute group for inclusion in his or her Semifinal recital follows (performance order of songs may not be changed):

Program I

Hahn (Verlaine) L’heure exquise Fêtes galantes
Debussy (Verlaine) Les Ingénus Colloque sentimental from Fêtes galantes II

Program II

Duparc (Leconte de Lisle) Phidylé
Chanson triste
La vie antérieure

Program III

Mahler (Rückert) Liebst du um Schönheit
Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder
Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen from Fünf Rückertlieder Program

Program IV

Schumann (von Eichendorff) Waldesgespräch
Frühlingsnacht from LiederkreisOp. 39

Applicants are reminded to integrate their choice of lieder / art songs creatively and logically within their 65-minute Semifinal recitals.

Finals Concerto

For performance in the Finals with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra each applicant may choose any concerto composed after 1760. If however, in the opinion of the Application Screening Jury, an applicant chooses a work for which the rehearsal time is considered inadequate or which requires an unusual number of musicians beyond the normal personnel of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, or for some other valid reason that will be conveyed to the applicant, Honens reserves the right to require a different choice. Notice of such a change will be given within three weeks of the receipt of an applicant’s proposed repertory list. Applicants must include with the listing of their chosen concerto the edition they have used in its preparation as well as details, where relevant, of the cadenza or cadenzas they have chosen. Scores of cadenzas must be provided to Honens by October 21 2009.


Pianists will be required to bring with them to Calgary and to provide the jury and/or administration of Honens with a score of every work on their programs in the edition they use.

    • 31 October 2017
    • 2018 Honens Piano Competition Application Deadline
    • More Info
    • March 2018
    • 2018 Honens Piano Competition Quarterfinals
    • More Info
    • 30 August to 8 September 2018
    • 2018 Honens Piano Competition Semifinals & Finals
    • More Info
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