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.

 2018 will be the 30th anniversary of the Gisborne International Music Competition.

Testimonials received following the 2017 Gisborne International Music Competition

Thanks so much for all your work for the Gisborne competition; it is such a well-run competition and it is such a pleasure to play down there - I really enjoyed the experience both times! I especially admire the relationship the competition has with the community in Gisborne.

GIMC was the first big competition that I've participated in and I am so glad that I was a part of it. My billets were so generous with their time and made sure we were all comfortable and supported us when we performed. We really felt like a team! I feel so lucky to have been welcomed with such open arms. The calibre of the other musicians present at the competition was inspiring for me and there was very much a sense of widespread support for everyone. It felt like this was more about everyone achieving to their very best since we had our billets and housemates supporting us. The social activities helped me to get to know the other competitors in another way outside music. The feedback from the jurors was genuine and helpful and specific to each musician. I will definitely take on board what they said to me so I can better myself as a musician. It was a very wholesome experience for me and I was incredibly sad when it came to an end. I hope to be back and do it all again!

This year was my second year at the Gisborne International Music Competition and was an event that I had been looking forward to and working towards since the last one ended! The community spirit is what makes this competition so special. Having all of the outreach and extra social activities allows us to talk with one another and make important contacts throughout New Zealand and other parts of the world. The outreach programmes also allow us to give something back to the community and mean we have extra performance opportunities as well, which I thought made the week even more enjoyable.