Kian Soltani

Kian Soltani, from Austria, won the 15,000-euro first prize at the International Paulo Cello Competition in Finland. He performed the Lutoslawski Concerto in the final concert at the Helsinki Music Centre.

Soltani (pictured) was born in 1992 and is a student of Ivan Monighetti at the Basel Music Academy in Switzerland. He has previously won first prize at the Karl Davidoff International Cello Competition in Latvia, and at the International Cello Competition 'Antonio Janigro' in Croatia.

Second prize in the Paulo Cello Competition was awarded jointly to Pablo Ferrández Castro, from Spain, and Frenchman Aurélien Pascal. Russian–Lithuanian cellist Alexander Ramm took third prize, and two Germans, Norbert Anger and Janina Ruh, shared fourth prize.

This year's competition attracted a record 113 applicants from 27 countries. The final round was split into two parts, with each of the six finalists first playing Haydn's Cello Concerto no.1 with the Tapiola Sinfonietta in Espoo, and then performing a 20th-century concerto with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

Previous prizewinners of the Paulo Cello Competition include Xavier Phillips, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Andreas Brantelid and Nicolas Altstaedt.

photo: Heikki Tuuli