Owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, the competition was held online this year

Nicholas Algot Swensen - 1st prize

First prize winner Nicholas Algot Swensen

The Oskar Nedbal International Viola Competition, held online this year owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, has announced this year’s winners.

First Prize went to 21-year-old Nicholas Algot Swensen from Denmark, who receives CZK 30000 (approx £1000), a fine bow by Luboš Odlas, three sets of Evah Pirazzi Gold strings by Pirastro, and Evah Pirazzi Gold rosin by Pirastro. He also received a further CZK 5000 (approx £165) for his interpretation of the mandatory Oskar Nedbal piece: Romantic Piece, Op. 18.

Swensen, who is currently studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Music with Lars Anders Tomter, is a former prize winner at the Øresunds Solist competition and the Max Rostal competition in Berlin (both 2019).  

Second Prize was awarded to 20-year-old Sào Soulez Lariviere (France/Netherlands). He receives CZK 20000 (approx £665), an Idea 2.6 carbon viola case from the Gewa, two sets of Evah Pirazzi Gold strings, and Evah Pirazzi Gold rosin by Pirastro). In addition, he received CZK 5000 for his interpretation of the Bohuslav Martinů piece.

Honorable Mentions went to Fiachra de Hora (Ireland), Serhiy Havrylyuk (Ukraine), Mark Liu (USA), Martina Santarone (Italy), Rica Schultes (Germany) and Samantha Souppaya (France), who each receive 2500 CZK (approx £83), 1 set of Evah Pirazzi Gold strings by Pirastro,and 1 Evah Pirazzi Gold rosin by Pirastro.

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‘In spite of the new parameters of the contest and the very complicated circumstances, the contestants performed splendidly,’ says the Czech violist Kristina Fialová, Director and Founder of the competition. ‘Each and every one of them well deserves some award, so it was by no means an easy task to pick just one as the winner. I would like to express my gratitude to all members of the jury, who did a great job in this unique situation and were an invaluable support to the management of the competition.’

The members of the jury listened to the recordings at home and subsequently debated them online by means of video conferences. They comprised the Chairman - Professor Tim Frederiksen (Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen, Denmark); Professor Stephanie Bear (Steinhardt University, New York, the U.S); Professor Jan Pěruška (Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic); Professor Piotr Reichert (Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, Warsaw, Poland); Kristina Fialová (Prague Conservatory, Czech Republic); and Karel Untermüller (Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic).