C. Bechstein University Piano Competition Baden-Württemberg 2009

The goal of C. Bechstein's University Piano Competition Baden-Württemberg was to promote young pianists in Baden-Württemberg. The first competition took place in 2007 in Tübingen, the second time in May 2009 at the University for Music and Performing Arts Mannheim.

High level in young pianists

In Mannheim the first prize - endowed with €2,000 plus concert engagements in various C. Bechstein Centers as well as in the classic series in Spandau - went to Mzia Jajanidze. The pianist, born 1981 in Georgia, studied at the time of the competition at the Staatlichen Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. She impressed listeners in the finals with Johann Sebastian Bach's French Suite BVW 813, Robert Schumann's Fantasie Opus 17 and Frédéric Chopin's Polonaise-Fantasie Opus 61.

Kerstin Mörk, winner of the second prize, who studied piano at the Staatlichen Hochschule für Musik und Darstellenden Kunst in Stuttgart, also had Schumann in her program. She played his Kreisleriana Opus 16 and Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata Opus 109.

The third prize was awarded to Fanny Vincens from France. The 21-year-old studied at the Stattlichen Hochschule für Musik Trossingen. In the finals, Fanny Vincens presented only sonatas: Ludwig van Beethoven's Opus 78 followed by Frédéric Chopins Opus 58 and Henri Dutilleux' Piano Sonata. In addition, Fanny Vincens was able to take home the special prize donated by music company PIANO-FISCHER for the best Haydn interpretation (compulsory composer in the first round).

A further special prize was secured by Korean Eunju Song from Stuttgart (class of Prof. Andrzej Ratusinski). The prize donated by the Lepthien piano company in Freiburg was awarded to her for the best performance of one of the three contemporary compositions by Sidney Corbett, Gilead Mishory and Caspar Johannes Walter originated on behalf of C. Bechstein AG, all of which were presented as world premieres in the second round.

Jury of professors and journalists

The seven-person jury headed by Gregor Willmes (with no voting right), Cultural Manager of C. Bechstein Pianoforte AG, was composed of university instructors Ulrike Meyer (Karlsruhe), Reinhard Becker (Trossingen), Prof. Michael Leuschner (Freiburg), Prof. Florian Wiek (Stuttgart) and Prof. Rudolf Meister (Mannheim) as well as journalists Stefan M. Dettlinger (Mannheim Morgen) and Theo Geissler (New Music Magazine).

Altogether 18 pianists from the five music universities in Baden-Württembergs seized the opportunity to participate in the C. Bechstein University Piano Competition. Focus of the competition was on piano music from the romantic and classical modern periods. Contestants had to survive two rounds before entering the finals. For the first competitive round one compulsory piece was prescribed: On the occasion of Joseph Haydn's 200th death day participants played one movement from one of his piano sonatas. In addition, works by Brahms, Franck, Liszt, Mussorgsky, Clara and Robert Schumann and Rachminow were on the program.

Ten pianists worked their way up to the second round. The rules posed a special challenge to the participants: Along with compositions by Bartók, Busoni, Debussy, Granados, Lipatti, Prokofiev, Anton Rubinstein or Schnabel, there was the opportunity to select one of three music pieces composed especially for this competition: Piano Valentine No. 13 „Die Liebe der Steine“ (in memoriam Heiner Müller) by Sidney Corbett (University of Music and Performing Arts Mannheim), „Walzerstaub“ by Gilead Mishory (Freiburg University of Music) und „Versunkene Form“ by Caspar Johannes Walther (State University of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart).

The first C. Bechstein University Piano Competition Baden Württemberg took place in 2007. No first prize was awarded. Second prize went to Korean Hee-Jin Jung and Igor Palmov from St. Petersburg. Soyeon Kang and Jakub Lojek each received a third prize.

For this first competition, the jury was composed of members Berenice Kuepper (chairman, Marketing Director C. Bechstein Berlin), Prof. André B. Marchand (Stuttgart), Reinhard Becker (Trossingen), Prof. Andreas Immer (Freiburg), Prof. Rudolf Meister (Mannheim) and Prof. Sontraud Speidel (Karlsruhe), as well as Annette Eckerle (Stuttgart Newspaper) and Theo Geissler (New Music Magazine).

C. Bechstein University Piano Competition Baden-Württemberg 2009