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, as a positive event for the Gisborne region and as a platform for young players of orchestral instruments to hone their performance skills against their colleagues and to learn from jurors who are themselves practising musicians of the highest calibre. The first GIMC  took place in 1989 and it has been run every year since.

Such is the respect with which the GIMC is now held internationally that each year around half the competitor field is drawn from overseas, ensuring the artistic standard is as high as you could expect at any equivalent competition, anywhere in the world.

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 to all competitors
  • All competitors are able to meet individually with the jurors to discuss their performance
  • There are opportunities for competitors to play for the Gisborne community at local schools and retirement homes and at the outdoor “Concert Under the Leaves"
  • 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.

 2019 will be the 31st Gisborne International Music Competition.

Testimonials received following the 2018 Gisborne International Music Competition

I loved being part of GIMC so much, the fantastic sense of support and community really made for such a positive experience.

I’ve had a fantastic week meeting musicians from all over the world and hearing their wonderful performances. It’s also been lovely staying with the hosts who are so generous and kind. Overall, it’s been an absolutely wonderful time.

A very fun competition with friendly competitors, staff and hosts. An excellent opportunity to perform. Would recommend to friends and colleagues to attend.

I really enjoyed my time in Gisborne! It’s amazing having everything organised (accommodation) and extra activities during the week. I loved going to the school and sharing my love of music. Thanks for a great week (:

The GIMC is a wonderful opportunity to push myself to prepare a programme to the best of my abilities. Listening to the other competitors is inspiring. I’ve made new friends and everyone is super supportive of each other.

It is such a rare opportunity to have such a friendly competition where you can feel the support from the other musicians, the adjudicators, and the community. It makes the performers perform at such an ideal and relaxed state which creates a huge difference in a stressful competition environment.

Though it may have been my first time competing at the 30th anniversary of the Gisborne International Music Competition, I was warmly welcomed and received as though it had been my 30th. It was a great opportunity to meet other musicians from all across the globe, where I learned and became inspired by their performances. The billets that took care of me over the competition course truly made my stay in Gisborne special, and their generosity and support was appreciated during stressful and tense times. What marks this competition as a stand-out is the community and social events that are organised for the competitors, which developed into a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Spending some time discussing our individual performances with the adjudicators Robert Ashworth and Gordon Hunt was invaluable, as I gained more insight into my skills and knowledge, making me a better performer and musician.

This competition gave me the opportunity to meet and become friends with incredible musicians from all around the world. It was such a friendly atmosphere that we never felt like we were at odds with each other even if we were vying for the same prizes. As a musician, I have benefited from the performance opportunities this competition is provided me, the constructive feedback given by the judges, and the forming of friendships and connections with other musicians throughout the world. Listening to the other performers has broadened my own musical ideas, and the whole experience is something I will never forget.