The prize winners received cash, plus products from GEWA and Pirastro
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The results of the International Oskar Nedbal Viola Competition fifth edition have been announced. The competition took place at Prague Conservatory from 28 September to 1 October 2023. A total of 95 violists under the age of 30 applied, representing 32 countries from all around the world.
The contestants selected to take place in the final round were Duleen Van Gunsteren (Netherlands), Héloïse Houzé (France), Maria Rallo Muguruza (Spain) and Xunyu Zhou (China). They each performed a concerto by Stamitz or Hoffmeister, accompanied by the Pilsner Philharmonic and conductor Chuhei Iwasaki. The finalists had been whittled down from 18 contestants, who had been selected from video submissions in July.
The jury did not award first prize this year, echoing the results from the 2021 edition.
Second prize went to Héloise Houzé (b.2001, France), who won 30.000 CZK (£1064), a viola bow by Luboš Odlas, a viola case by GEWA, plus strings and rosin from Pirastro. Houzé also won the Audience Prize.
Maria Rallo Muguruza (b.1996, Spain) and Duleen van Gunsteren (b.1995, Netherlands) were both awarded third prize, worth 20,000 CZK (£709). They both received a viola case by GEWA, plus strings and rosin from Pirastro.
The prize of Competition Laureate went to Xunyu Zhou (b.2007, China). Honorary mentions were awarded to Brian Isaacs (US), Sarah Strohm (Germany/Switzerland). Isaacs received the prize for the best interpretation of a piece by Martinů, worth 15.000 CZK (£532), while Strohm took the prize for the best interpretation of a work by Oskar Nedbal, worth 5,000 CZK (£177). The Pirastro Prize for an outstanding young talent went to Jimin Jang (South Korea), who received a Korfker Rest Shoulder Rest.
The international jury comprised competition director and founder and Czech violist Kristina Fialová, Tim Frederiksen (Denmark), Peter Bársony (Hungary), Jan Pěruška (Czech Republic), and Lech Antonio Uszynski (Italy/Switzerland).
The competition received support from the Ministry of Culture, Czech Republic, the State Fond for Culture, the Municipal Government of the Capital of Prague, the City District of Prague I, the ‘Life of the Artist’ Foundation, the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation, The Antonín Dvořák Society, and the Antonín Dvořák Foundation for Young Musicians. The general partner of the competition was the Prague Conservatory.
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