The 2013 York Early Music International Young Artists Competition has been won by Thalia Ensemble from the Netherlands. The group won with their programme including works by Franz Danzi and Anton Reicha entitled ‘Grand Finale: The masters’ last wish’.
The final of the biennial competition took place on 13 July as part of the York Early Music Festival. Ten ensembles, originating from 16 different countries, competed for this year’s prize. The finalists performed in front of a panel of judges, led by chairman of the jury Laurence Cummings. All of the recitals were recorded by BBC Radio 3 and highlights will be broadcast on 11 August.
Jury chairman Cummings described the competition as ‘a day full of joyous music-making which showed every affect from the transcendent euphoria to the death knoll of a lament.’ He said: ‘The standard of playing was superb. Altogether a very uplifting experience and lovely for the jury to sit back and soak it all in.’
Thalia Ensemble’s winning programme included excerpts from the last quintets written by Danzi and Reicha. The group specialises in the repertoire of chamber music for wind instruments from 1750 to 1850. The winners came away with a range of prizes for this year’s competition: a cheque for £1,000, a performance at the 2014 York Early Music Festival, a recording produced by Linn Records and opportunities of work at BBC Radio 3.
The ensemble was established in 2011 by students studying at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Current members of Thalia Ensemble include Belén Nieto Galán (flute), Sarah Aßman (oboe), Diederik Ornée (clarinet), Hylke Rozema (horn) and José Rodrigues Gomes (bassoon).
The win at this year’s York Early Music festival adds to a good year for the ensemble; last August they became one of the Selected Promising Ensembles at the International Young Artists Presentation in Antwerp.
Director of the National Centre for Early Music, the organisation which arranges the competition, Delma Tomlin, said: ‘The overall standard of this year’s competition has been especially high which has given our judges a tough but thoroughly enjoyable task over the last three days. We have been impressed not only by the ensembles’ excellent musicianship and fine ensemble playing but also their warm acknowledgement of their fellow competitors and our audiences’ appreciation of their performances. We wish them all great success in their future careers.’
The York Early Music International Young Artists Competition first took place in 1985. Previous winners include I Fagiolini and Musikfreunde (later to be renamed Florilegium), who received the prize jointly in 1989, Le Jardin Secret, La Serenissima’s Mhairi Lawson, Ensemble Meridiana and 2011 winners Profeti della Quinta.
The next York Early Music International Young Artists Competition will take place in 2015, visit for updates and further details www.ncem.co.uk/competitions