The Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM) is an elite-level competition for classical musicians wishing to pursue an international career as a professional concert artist. The Piano 2020 edition is open to pianists of any nationality born in 1990 or later. Applications can be submitted on Acceptd.

First Prize Laureates from previous CMIM piano editions are not eligible to re-apply.

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CMIM Dates

   November 15, 2019      May 3 to 14, 2020    



The jury will be presided by Zarin Mehta. Names of jury members will be unveiled in January 2020.

During the CMIM, eliminated competitors will get the chance to meet jury members if they wish.

Prizes & Awards

Piano 2020 offers more than CA$150,000 worth of prizes, awards and grants:


First Prize Laureate
$30,000 cash from the City of Montreal;
$50,000 Joseph-Rouleau career development grant;
$2,500 artist residency at Canada’s Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity;
and concert engagements

Pierre Péladeau and Raymonde-Chopin Second Prize Laureate

Third Prize Laureate

Audience Award

André-Bourbeau Award for the best Canadian artist
5 000 $ 

Sonata Award for the best performance of a sonata

André-Bachand Award
$2,000 for the best performance of the compulsory Canadian work

Bach Award
$1,500 for the best performance of a work by J.S. Bach 

Finalists (non-laureates)
$3,000 each

Important Dates

  • November 15, 2019: application deadline
  • May 3, 2020: competitors’ welcome meeting and piano selection
  • May 4–6, 2020: First Round
  • May 7–8, 2020: Semifinal Round
  • May 12–13, 2019: Final Round and Awards Ceremony

Xian Zhang, Guest Conductor

Since September 2016, Zhang has held the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales, becoming the first female conductor to hold a titled role with a BBC orchestra. She also holds the post of Conductor Emeritus of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, following her tenure as Music Director from 2009–2016.

Last season included returns to Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Belgique, Orquesta Nacional de España, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, San Francisco Symphony and NAC Orchestra, Ottawa. 2018/19 sees her debuts with Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, and the orchestra of Royal Stockholm Opera.

Born in Dandong, China, Xian Zhang made her professional conducting debut at the Central Opera House in Beijing at the age of 20. She was appointed as the New York Philharmonic’s Assistant Conductor in 2002, subsequently becoming their Associate Conductor and the first holder of the Arturo Toscanini Chair.

Xian Zhang will be directing the Orchestre symhonique de Montréal during the final CMIM round.

Application Information

Completed applications may be submitted online on Acceptd at any time before midnight, November 15, 2019.

To be considered completed, an application must include the following:

  • a duly completed online form
  • payment of the non-refundable application fee of US$135
  • two (2) high-resolution colour photographs (including one headshot) cleared for use by the CMIM for publication and promotional purposes
  • contact information for at least two (2) referees willing to provide a personal recommendation in support of your application if requested
  • proposed repertoire for all competition rounds
  • four (4) audition videos (one video per work, not per movement):
    – a prelude and fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach (BWV 846- BWV 893)
    – a virtuosic study
    – a 3 or 4 movement sonata
    – an additional work of the applicant’s choice

All audition videos must be high-quality with excellent audio, shot from one angle with a single fixed camera (no zooming, tilting, or panning) and no edits. The pianist must be easily identifiable, with profile and hands fully visible at all times.

All recordings must be made after June 1, 2018.

CMIM officials will review all the applications to ensure they are complete and meet the required technical standards. The CMIM reserves the right to disqualify any candidate who has failed to fulfill all application requirements. A preliminary selection committee appointed by the CMIM will evaluate the video auditions. A maximum of 24 pianists will be selected to compete at Piano 2020.


For more information, please contact :
Scott Tresham, director of Artistic Operations and Strategy


Each competitor must include at least one work by J. S. Bach in their First Round or Semifinal programme. You must include the imposed Canadian work (6 minutes) in your semifinal recital programme. All other works are chosen by the competitors. Repertoire selected for performance during the competition rounds may include any of the works recorded for the audition videos. No other duplication of repertoire is permitted.

The jury will consider the difficulty and artistic merit of the programmes for each round.

First Round

No more than 24 competitors will each perform a 45-minute recital (incl. pauses and applause). The 12 pianists who receive the highest scores from the jury will move on to the semifinal round.

Semi-Final Round

12 semifinalists will each perform a 60-minute recital (incl. pauses and applause). The six (6) pianists who receive the highest scores from the jury will move on to the final round.

Final Round

Six (6) finalists will each perform a major concerto for piano and orchestra (choice of concerto subject to CMIM approval) accompanied by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Each finalist will have a 50-minute rehearsal with the conductor and piano accompaniment, and a 50-minute rehearsal with the full orchestra.


Travel and accomodation

CMIM will provide competitors with one (1) return economy-class flight or train ticket from their city of residence to Montreal. Competitors who wish to make alternate travel arrangements may do so at their own expense. Travel is not provided for the any person accompanying the competitor (parent/chaperone, spouse, etc.).

CMIM will arrange for free accommodation for the competitors with volunteer host families in the Montreal area. Competitors who wish to make other arrangements may do so at their own expense.