Gisborne International Music Competition

Following the devastating 1988 Cyclone Bola, local music and sports retailer Ian Dunsmore initiated the Gisborne International Music Competition, with the backing of the Rotary Club of Gisborne, with the dual purposes of benefitting the Gisborne community and promoting the region nationally. Those initial goals still hold true, however with international artists now accounting for almost half the competitor field annually, the GIMC proudly promotes Gisborne as a place of world-class music and phenomenal natural beauty to a global audience. 

In 2014 governance of the GIMC was transferred from the Rotary Club of Gisborne to the newly formed Gisborne International Music Competition Charitable Trust. 

The GIMC is open to all New Zealand and international players of core orchestral instruments aged between 16 and 25 years. The format is that of a recital style competition and entrants are asked to submit a programme of 45 - 55 minutes that covers at least two musical periods and includes at least one unaccompanied work. In the first and semi final rounds, competitors perform 25 – 30 minutes of music selected for them by the jurors from their nominated programmes. The finalists then present a recital of 30 - 35 minutes. (Please check the Competition Rules and Conditions for precise details)

  • Official collaborative pianists are made available at no additional cost
  • All competitors are able to receive feedback about their performance in private interviews with the jurors
  • A number of social and community engagement activities are offered
  • Billeted accommodation is offered to all competitors during the competition

The high number of returning competitors proves the competition has successfully achieved a balance in providing a challenging but supportive musical environment and the relaxed and friendly nature of Gisborne has made it the perfect place to host such a special event. Competitors return year after year for the beauty of the natural environment and for the warm support they receive from the Gisborne community.

The first competition was held in 1989 and it has been run every year since. 2020 will be the 32nd Gisborne International Music Competition.

Testimonials received following the 2019 Gisborne International Music Competition

An incredibly well run and managed event, the GIMC has successfully curated a rare balance between a high standard of playing and a collegiate, 'festival-like' atmosphere. It has provided me numerous opportunities to perform in a high stakes competition environment while also getting to meet colleagues from all over the world.

I love the way this competition has such a supportive and encouraging environment, and all of the activities were really nice to meet the competitors. I also found the feedback from the judges really helpful and a great way to know what to improve. 

GIMC is one of the greatest musical events that NZ  has to offer; its encouraging, motivating and above all, a whole lot of fun! You feel a part of something really special, and you feel respected and honoured as an individual by all of the staff/organisers!

This was my first competition and I thoroughly enjoyed my time here. The spirit and organisation of the comp is excellent! I will definitely be back and will recommend to all my friends back in Australia. Thank you!

It has been such a motivating, inspiring and humbling experience competing in this year’s competition

This was an incredibly efficiently run, friendly, high standard competition. It has been nothing but an inspiration being around such incredible performers on a wide range of instruments, playing hugely varying repertoire. The experience I have gained competing and being here for the full ten days has been priceless to my career as a musician and I am already looking forward to coming back next year! 

GIMC was a positive experience for me as it was fun, yet maintained a professional competitive atmosphere (but friendly competitive!). I made lots of new friends, and leave with lots of motivation to better myself as a musician! 

I had such a great time this year at the GIMC! I felt that it was a very friendly & supportive environment to be playing in with just the right amount of pressure to keep me on my toes! 

I learnt so much from performing opportunities I got, judges’ feedback and from observing the other competitors. I will definitely come again next year.

The GIMC was an amazing opportunity for my own personal growth as a musician. Being surrounded by a wide range of players from an international setting, all at an outstanding level, was inspiring and really motivated me to work on my own playing and strive for higher standards.