South Korean cellist Tae-Yeon Kim wins the €20,000 first prize and further concert engagements


Cellist Tae-Yeon Kim © Witold Lutosławski International Cello Competition,

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The 12th Witold Lutosławski International Cello Competition took place from 1–12 May, concluding with a final round at the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, Poland. The competition was open to cellists of all nationalities under the age of 30.

First prize was awarded to South Korean cellist Tae-Yeon Kim, 18, receiving €20,000. Kim also won further awards including the €1,000 special prize for an outstanding performance of Grave by Polish composer Witold Lutosławski and performance engagements with the Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic, Tadeusz Szeligowski Philharmonic, Feliks Nowowiejski Warmia-Mazuria Philharmonic, Tadeusz Baird Philharmonic, Henryk Wieniawski Philharmonic, Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki Philharmonic, and Baltic Fryderyk Chopin Philharmonic.

Kim is currently studying with Gary Hoffman and Peter Wiley at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, US.

The second prize of €10,000 was awarded to Polish cellist Maria Leszczyńska, along with concert invitations to perform with the Lower Silesia Philharmonic, the Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra, the Elblag Chamber Orchestra, and Capella Cracoviensis. Third prize of €5,000 was won by Polish cellist Antoni Wrona, who also received performance engagements with the House of Creative Work in Radziejowice and the Oskar Kolberg Świętokrzyska Philharmonic. The fourth prize of €2,500 was awarded to Polish cellist Gustaw Bafeltowski, as well as concert engagements with the Józef Wiłkomirski Sudety Philharmonic and Toruń Symphony Orchestra.

Honourable mention was also made of Spanish cellist Esteban Jiménez Suárez, who received the €1,000 special prize for the best performance of the Sacher Variation for solo cello by Lutosławski, and the €1,000 special award from the Society of Authors ZAiKS for the best interpretation of a contemporary work by a Polish composer.

The competition was established in 1997 as the first international cello competition in Poland, and the only one to include all cello works by Lutosławski. Its aim is to create an international platform for Polish and international cellists to perform for and engage with prominent artists and professors from both Poland and abroad. 

This year’s jury comprised Mindaugas Bačkus, Andrzej Bauer, Magdalena Bojanowicz, Henri Demarquette, Roel Dieltiens, Anssi Karttunen, Yuri Laniuk, Jens Peter Maintz, Tomasz Strahl, and Marcin Zdunik. It was chaired by Roman Jabłoński, with Kazimierz Michalik posthumously acknowledged as honorary chairman.

Past winners of the competition include Haruma Sato, Maciej Kułakowski, Zuzanna Sosnowska, Chiara Enderle, Tomasz Daroch, Philip Higham, Luka Šulic, Marcin Zdunik, Kenji Nakagi, Julian Steckel, Bartosz Koziak, Danjulo Ishizaka, and Anna Tyka.

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