Japanese violinist Tsukushi Sasaki took first prize of CZK 250,000, as well as special prizes including recording and performance opportunities

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The violin finalists (l-r) Tsukushi Sasaki, Jan Novák and Marie-Astrid Hulot © Prague Spring Festival 2024/Petra Hajská

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The finals of the Prague Spring International Music Competition violin edition were held on 14 May 2024 at Dvořák Hall of the Prague Rudolfinum. Three finalists performed a concerto of their choice, as well as a four-minute encore. The finalists were accompanied by the Prague Philharmonia conducted by Marek Šedivý.

First prize of CZK 250,000 (£8,600) was awarded to Japanese violinist Tsukushi Sasaki. She also won the Czech Radio Prize, comprising a studio recording and broadcast on Czech Radio; Prize of the City of Prague, Bärenreiter Prize, comprising a gift voucher for a selection of sheet music published by Bärenreiter Praha and Bärenreiter-Verlag Kassel; and the Viktor Kalabis and Zuzana Růžičková Prize, worth US $1,500. As part of her first prize, Sasaki received an invitation to perform at the 80th annual Prague Spring International Music Festival in 2025.

Czech violinist Jan Novák took second prize worth CZK 150,000 (£5,000), as well as several special prizes, including the Audience Prize of CZK 25,000 (£860), Czech Music Fund Foundation Prize of CZK 20,000 (£700) for the best performance of works composed for the 2024 competition, plus the Oleg Podgorný Prize of CZK 25,000, Czech Centres Prize of CZK 20,000, Gideon Klein Foundation Prize of CZK 20,000 and Mercedes Benz Prize, comprising use of a car during the 2024 season celebrating Novák’s participation as a Czech musician.

Marie-Astrid Hulot from France won third prize of CZK 100,000 (£3,400), while Swiss violinist Ilva Eigus took a laureate title and the jury’s Honorary Mention.

The jury comprised Ida Kavafian (Armenia/US), Hana Kotková (Czech Republic/Switzerland), Sergei Krylov (Italy), Daniel Phillips (US), Liviu Prunaru (Romania/Belgium), Josef Špaček (Czech Republic) and Soyoung Yoon (South Korea).

The Prague Spring International Music Competition was initiated in 1946, with the first competition taking place in 1947. The competition is held for two instruments each year in a regular rotation and invites musicians up to age 30 who perform on the flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, piano, harpsichord, organ, violin, and cello. The next edition of the competition will be held in 2025, in the disciplines of cello and oboe.

Previous laureates of the competition include violinists Ivan Ženatý (1987) and Pavel Šporcl (1997), and cellists Mstislav Rostrovich (1950), Tomáš Jamník (2006) and Victor Julien-Laferriѐre (2012).

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