The Prize was born in 1953. It has its roots in the old and extinted “Club Alpino”, a cultural-sporting society with a short existence. The Prize was born without big aims, created by the pianist Joaquín Reyes Cabrera and by the architect Pablo Castillo García-Negrete. Actually, the Club gave nothing but the name to this Prize, because the two prizes given, in 1953 and 1954, were donated by a music lover from Jaén, Pablo Castillo García-Negrete.

It was in this year when the promoters of the Prize looked for stronger sponsoring, and the result was the active and collaborative presence of the “Instituto de Estudios Giennenses”. The architect Pablo Castillo, member of the studies Corporation, was named managing director of the Prize, and the name of it was replaced for “Premio Jaén de Piano”, instead of “Premio Club Alpino”.

At the beginning the Prize had a national category, but in the decade of the 70s it reached the category of international Prize that now owns, and so do Gustav A. Alink believes, as he has written several books about international piano contests.

The first award of this new Prize was given to Jacinto Matute Narro in 1956, and consisted on 5.000 pesetas (30 euros). Consequently and gradually this amount has been increasing, reaching the sume of 20.000 euros in 2007 for the first award, 10.000 for the second, 7.000 for the third, 5.000 for the “Rosa Sabater” award, and another 5.000 euros for the Contemporary Music award.

The Prize has since 1993 a mandatory work written by a Spanish composer just for it, work that is paid by the “Centro de Difusión de la Música Contemporánea” from the Culture Ministry and which, since 1997, is edited and distributed by the “Diputación Provincial”.

* 1993 ‘Perpetuum’, Manuel Castillo

* 1994 ‘Morfología Sonora’, Carlos Cruz de Castro

* 1995 ‘Preludio de Mirambel nº 4’, Antón García Abril

* 1996 ‘Variaciones Auringia’, Valentín Ruiz

* 1997 ‘Suite Breve’, Ángel Oliver

* 1998 ‘Trazos del Sur’, Zulema de la Cruz

* 1999 ‘Elogio a Vandelvira’, Tomás Marco

* 2000 ‘Ocho Miniaturas’, José García Román

* 2001 ‘Alborada en Aurinx’, Xavier Montsalvatge

* 2002 ‘Homenaje a Isaac Albéniz’, José Luis Turina

* 2003 ‘Leggero Pesante’, Luis de Pablo

* 2004 ‘Marina’, Eneko Vadillo Pérez

* 2005 ‘Contrastes’, Leonardo Balada

* 2006 ‘El jardín de las rosas’, Josep Soler

* 2007 ‘Tempo Breve’, Joan Guinjoan

*2008 “Jaén 2008”, Claudio Prieto

* 2009 “Orión”, Daniel Mateos

* 2010 “Tardes de Almazara”, Juan Medina

* 2011 “Aurgitana”, José Zárate

Started then the first collaborations. They came from the Philharmonic Groups “Andrés Segovia” of Jaén and Linares. Since the beginning the city council helped together with the regional council, the “Colegio de Arquitectos” of Jaén, the “Caja de Ahorros” of Granada and Cordoba, the piano brand Hazen in Madrid and other institutions that added themselves during the following years. Above all of them is the Ministry of Culture, who very early, was aware of the prize’s importance, and collaborated the best way possible with culture and economic support. Later in the 80’s, the “Diputación Provincial de Jaén” would assume the entire organization and the expenses of the prize, and would become the main sponsor together with the city hall who sponsored the “Rosa Sabater” Prize, included in the same Prize, and the “Junta de Andalucía”.

Along the past years, different great figures have taken part of the qualifying jury, the great performer and Professor of the “Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid” Javier Alfonso was president of our jury many times. After his death different music figures have taken this position, like the recently awarded with the Spanish National Music Prize Guillermo González, Professor of the same conservatory and actual President of the Jury. Great personalities in the pianistic world have been also in the jury: Marcelle Heuclín, Professor of the Paris Conservatory; Nicole Henriot, Proffesor of the Brussels Conservatory; Salomon Mikowsky, teacher at the Manhattan School of Music on New York; Leslie Wright, performer and cultural council at the Embassy of Ecuador in France; Teresa Rutkowska, teacher at the Conservatory of Warsaw; Valentina Kamenikova, Russian performer; Antonio de Raco, Argentinian performer; Hans Graf, teacher in the Academy of Vienna; Jean Paul Sevilla, Professor of the Ottawa University; Ronald Farren-Price, dean of the University of Melbourne; María Fernanda Wansneider, performer and founder of the International Music Prize of Porto; Yuko Fujimura, teacher at the Hamburg School of Music; Carmen Graf-Adnet, teacher at the “Hochschule fur Musik und darstellende Kunst” in Vienna; Marta Marchena, performer; Begoña Uriarte, performer and teacher at a conservatory; EIza Kolodin, performer and piano teacher at the “Hochschule für Musik Freiburg” and at the “Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst” in Graz; maestro Giuseppe La Licata, performer, graduated in the Palermo School; Alfred Mouledous, piano performer and member of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra; Ralf Nattkemper, prestigious pianist flattered by international critics; Paula Baytelmann, piano Professor; Dag Achatz, teacher at the Geneve Conservatory; Yukie Nagai, Japanese performer; Rosalyn Tureck, one of the greatest pianists of the 20th Century; John Bell Young, American piano performer. Among the Spanish members we must mention the unforgettable Rosa Sabater, who protected so much this Prize while living; Joaquín Soriano, Ramón Coll, Josep Colom, Mario Monreal, Guillermo González, Rafael Quero, Joaquín Reyes, Perfecto García Chornet, Enrique Pérez de Guzmán, Zulema de la Cruz, Antón García Abril, Pilar Bilbao, Tomás Marco, Fernando Puchol Vivas, Julián López Gimeno, José García Román and Pedro Jiménez Cavallé, Secretary of the Jury for many years and working hard to push this Prize from Jaén itself. With all of them, the first prizes of each edition have been appearing as part of the jury in the next edition of the Prize, as the basis stipulate.

Since the mid 70’s the Prize has had, regarding to the awareness of the national and international professional centres, a great spreading as shows the progression of the winners after the Prize. National and European conservatories, music academies, philharmonic associations as “Juventudes Musicales” receive our basis of the Prize every year. Regarding to the media it also has had a repercussion. Not only the local press and media announce our Prize, but also the specialised national press like “Radio Nacional de España”, “Televisión Española”, “Canal Sur” and others give news from our prize and most important, they tape the final day to broadcast it a few months after the Prize. We have also worked with specialised magazines like “Ritmo”, “Scherzo”, “Melómano”, “Goldberg”, “CD Compact” and “Audio Clásica”. The same way, there have been different record productions with performances of prize winner pianists to keep alive the memories of those beautiful performances.