If the entrants to this year's Hilton Head International Piano Competition look a little young, that's because they are. But that doesn't mean they're less talented.
The 16th annual piano competition will take on a new form starting this year. From now on, odd-numbered years will be the Hilton Head International Young Artists Piano Competition.
Twenty competitors between the ages of 13 and 17 were chosen from around the world to compete Monday through Saturday on Hilton Head.
The setup is different from years past, when competitors were between 18 and 30 years old. The older participants will compete again in even-numbered years starting in 2012.
Competition organizers had been looking for several years to integrate younger pianists into the competition and settled on holding two separate events.
"These pianists may be younger, but they're just as talented," said Gayle Lang, director of operations for the piano competition.
The format for the week is similar to what it's always been. Three rounds whittle down the participants, with the finals featuring six pianists performing a movement from a concerto with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra.
A jury of five international judges will determine a winner, who will receive a cash prize of $11,500 and a four-week scholarship to the Aspen Music Festival and School.
The 20 competitors come from China, Singapore, Indonesia, Korea, Russia and the United States. In addition to performing, most of the competitors will be playing and speaking at local schools during their stay.