The results of the XIX International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig have been announced. One hundred musicians from 28 countries competed in this year’s competition, vying for the top prizes in the categories for piano, harpsichord and violin/baroque violin.
First prize for piano was awarded to this year’s youngest finalist, 18-year-old Hilda Huang from the USA; Jean-Christophe Dijoux from France took the top prize for the harpsichord category; and Seiji Okamoto from Japan came away with first place for violin.
The winners, each presented with a €10,000 prize, have received invitations to perform at upcoming events: piano category winner Hilary Huang has been invited to perform at the Montréal Bach Festival by Steinway & Sons; she will also perform during the BASF concert series, Ludwigshafen. All successful participants of this year’s competition will perform at the Baroque Summer Hall of the Leipzig Bach Museum, as well as appearing at 2015’s Leipzig Bach Festival and the Musikfesttage an der Oder festival.
The runners up, taking second and third places in the competition, were: (for piano) Schaghajegh Nosrati from Germany and Georg Kjurdian from Latvia; (for harpsichord) Russians Olga Pashchenko and Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya; (for violin) Marie Radauer-Plank from Austria and Niek Baar from The Netherlands. Winners of second place received €7,500, with those in third presented with €5,000.
The prizewinner’s concert for the competition took place on 19 July at the Great Concert Hall of the Gewandhaus. The competition’s president, Robert D. Levin spoke highly of this year’s winners: ‘The Bach prizewinners, who were presented in the closing concert at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, display musical and intellectual profundity and virtuosity. There is no more important duty in the classical music world than the selection of those musicians, who will animate and perpetuate Bach’s unique legacy for the next generation.’
The next International Bach Competition, Leipzig will be held in July 2016 with competing categories of organ, voice and cello/baroque cello.
Image: (from left): First prizewinners: Jean-Christophe Dijoux (harpsichord, France), Hilda Huang (piano, USA) and Seiji Okamoto (violin, Japan). Credit: Leipzig Bach Competition/Gert Mothes