Darko Brlek
General and artistic director of Ljubljana Festival

We are proud that in 2023, the Ljubljana Festival – which has a 70-year tradition of excellent events – will be enriched by a first International Piano Competition.

We are pleased that the news about the competition has also been published by the Alink-Argerich Foundation, which operates under the patronage of the world famous pianist Martha Argerich. Thanks to Ljubljana Festival’s exceptional international reputation, it has in its first year placed its competition on par with the world’s most important piano competitions, such as the Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition (Warsaw), International Tchaikovsky Competition (Moscow), Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition (Tel Aviv), Franz Liszt International Piano Competition (Budapest), Georges Enescu International Competition (Bucharest), Paloma O’Shea Santander International Piano Competition (Santander), Vendôme Prize for Piano (Paris), and Queen Elisabeth Competition (Brussels) competitions.

As the name itself indicates, the competition is not only open to Slovenian pianists, but to all young musicians from anywhere in the world. We would like the competition to offer them a new opportunity that will help pave their paths into the global musical world and enable them to showcase their talent and the skills they have already acquired to a wider audience. Participation in the competition serves as motivation and invaluable experience for their future careers as pianists.

Good luck to all participants!

Darko Brlek is the General and Artistic Director of the Ljubljana Festival. He became the youngest ever director of the Slovenian National Theatre Opera and Ballet in Ljubljana in 1991. A year later he also became the youngest ever artistic director of the Ljubljana Festival, eventually taking over as executive director of the country’s one of the most important cultural institutions in 1995. He was among the founders of the Cultural Chamber of Slovenia and has served as chairman of the Council for Culture of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. Despite his extensive commitments to the promotion of culture in Slovenia, he also finds time to participate in various international bodies. After becoming the Vice President of the European Festivals Association (EFA) in 1997, he served as its President from 2005 to 2017. At present, he is the President of the Festival Academy, an initiative of the European Festivals Association (EFA) for young festival managers and honorary member of European Festivals Association. Art and culture are more than just a profession for Darko Brlek, who in 2016 was one of the two recipients of the annual management award for outstanding economic achievements given by the Finance newspaper and the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana. He has also been the recipient of numerous other awards, including the Betetto Award for artistic achievements and the Župančič Award, which is the highest prize granted by the City of Ljubljana for outstanding creation in the field of art and culture. On the 4th of July 2018 Darko Brlek received the prestigious state award of the President of the Republic of Slovenia – Order for merits, for his contribution to Slovenian culture and merit for program excellence and international acclaim of cultural and artistic events. In 2020 The Slovenian Ambassador Programme committee named Darko Brlek with the honorary title of Congress Ambassador of Slovenia 2021. He is still active as a concert clarinetist, performing regularly on stages around the world.