The Danish quartet also won four special prizes alongside the CHF 20,000 first prize
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The finals of the 2023 Concours de Genève string quartet competition took place at the Victoria Hall in Geneva, Switzerland, on 29 October. Following performances by the Hana Quartet, Elmire Quartet and Novo Quartet, and an hour-long deliberation by the jury, the awards and special prizes were announced. The Novo Quartet from Denmark won the CHF 20,000 (£18,000) first prize alongside the Young Audience Prize (CHF 1,000), Students’ Prize (CHF 1,000), Audience Prize (CHF 1,500) and the Concerts de Jussy Prize (CHF 3,000). As part of the latter prize, they will perform at the Temple de Jussy in Geneva at 8pm on 30 October.
The Elmire Quartet from France and Hana Quartet from Germany were awarded joint second prize. They will each receive CHF 12,000 (£11,000). President of the jury, Corina Belcea from the Belcea Quartet, told the audience before announcing the results that due to the competitors’ uniquely high level, third prize would not be awarded. The Elmire Quartet also won the Fondation Etrillard Prize, worth CHF 5,000 (£4,500). It recognises the quartet with the best artistic project, which all semi-finalists had to present during the semi-final stages.
The Novo Quartet consists of violinists Kaya Kato Møller and Nikolai Vasili Nedergaard, violist Daniel Śledziński and cellist Signe Ebstrup Bitsch. The quartet was founded in 2018 in Copenhagen at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. They are currently based in both Copenhagen and Vienna. Other competition successes include second prize at the 2023 Carl Nielsen Chamber Music Competition and 2021 Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition. They also won the 2023 Irene Steels-Wilsing Foundation Competition. In their semi-final performances they played works by Haydn, Brahms, Bartók, Donatoni, Nielsen and Beethoven, and for the final they performed Mendelssohn’s String Quartet no.2. The final also saw the Elmire Quartet perform Beethoven’s String Quartet no.8 and the Hana Quartet perform Mendelssohn’s String Quartet no.3.
All three finalists will benefit from the competition’s Career Development Programme, which includes two years of concert management by Sartory Artists.
The three finalists were whittled down from an intial pool of 23 quartets from around the world. From these, a pre-selection jury chose 14 quartets, from 11 different countries, to proceed to the next round. Six quartets were then chosen from this group and came to Geneva to perform in the semi-finals from 24-27 October. They performed two recitals at the Conservatoire de Genève and presented an artistic project in front of a panel. The competition jury comprised president of the jury Corina Belcea, William Coleman, Gabriel Le Magadure, Christian Poltéra, Lesley Robertson, Vineta Sareika, and Lydia Shelley. The competition, which changes disciplines every year, last had a string quartet edition in 2016, which was won by the Vision String Quartet.
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