Your Adjudicators for the Birmingham Music Festival 2021 are:

John Gough

John Gough was born and bred in Chester and enjoys a busy and varied career. Engagements have taken him to America (including Carnegie Hall), Denmark and throughout the United Kingdom. He has given frequent broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and also recorded for Radio 2, Classic FM, World Service, S4CTV and BBC TV. 

As a soloist he has appeared with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and has performed at the Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall on several occasions and at the Buxton and Chester Festivals. Following his studies with Marjorie Clementi and Gordon Green at the Royal Northern College of Music he won several scholarships and prizes including the John Ireland Centenary Piano Competition at the Wigmore Hall. 

As a chamber music player he has given live broadcasts of the complete piano quartets of Brahms, Dvorak and Faure.

He has given recitals at the Ribble Valley International Piano Week, a live broadcast from the Bridgwater Hall, Manchester and for many seasons was the soloist with the Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra in concerts at many stately homes throughout England.     


He has appeared under such conductors as Sir Neville Marriner, Edward Warren and Timothy Reynish and in concert with Martin Roscoe, Jane Irwin, Louise Winter and Janet Hilton.


He is currently Senior Tutor in Piano and Accompaniment at the Royal Northern College of Music, RNCM Junior School, and Manchester University.  He has examined at the Royal Academy of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and more recently at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Venezuelan/Italian pianist Luis Parés enjoys an international career as a soloist and chamber musician having performed in numerous countries in Europe, Asia, North and South America. He has appeared at the most prestigious British venues, including the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall and Bridgewater Hall, played with orchestras in Europe and South America and made live broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, RAI, Kol HaMusika Israel and Spanish radio. 


He started his piano studies with Juan Antúnez and Igor Lavrov and later studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Gordon Fergus-Thompson and Andrew Ball and also held the Mills Williams Junior Fellowship at the RCM.


He was a prize-winner at many national and international piano competitions, including First Prize at the XI Ricard Viñes International Piano Competition in Lerida, Spain, Third Prize at the Maria Canals International Competition in Barcelona and he was a winner of the Making Music Young Concert Artists Awards.


He is Head of Keyboard at Dulwich College in London, a grade and diploma examiner and a presenter for ABRSM and he regularly adjudicates competitions and gives masterclasses in the UK and Europe.

Luis Parés

Adjudications at the Festival
The adjudication scheme at the Festival is…

There are six categories of assessment: 
●    OUTSTANDING (mark 90+): An exceptional performance both technically and artistically. A stimulating and persuasive performance showing stylistic flair and unobtrusive technical command. 
●    DISTINCTION (mark 87 - 89): An excellent performance technically and artistically demonstrating a high level of technical security and stylistic insight. 
●    COMMENDED (mark 84 – 86): A convincing performance technically and artistically.  An assured performance with clear evidence of tonal and stylistic qualities and instrumental features although there may be moments of imprecision.
●    MERIT (mark 81 – 83): A capable performance showing some artistic appreciation and/or technical ability with a generally fluent performance with some awareness of tone and style. 
●    MODERATE (mark 78 – 80): A performance showing development of technique and/or communication.  A generally secure performance in notes and rhythm at a reasonable tempo but with limited attention to detail and tonal qualities. 
●    FAIR (mark 75 – 77): A performance limited in its communication with an overall need for artistic development. 

Participation certificates will be awarded to all competitors entering classes 1 - 4.  

Festival Certificates will also be awarded to the winner plus 2nd and 3rd placed competitors in each class (if applicable).  

Only class winners awarded a certificate will be eligible to receive a trophy. Only entrants receiving a mark of 85 or over will be eligible to receive a trophy. Second and third place certificates will only be awarded to classes with 6 or more participants.