The 12 international cellists are competing for a grand prize of €25,000 in Brussels from 8 May to 3 June 2017

queen elisabeth competition

The Queen Elisabeth Competition has named the 12 cellists selected to progress to its final round, following the conclusion of the semi-finals in Brussels last week.


Whittled down from 24 semi-finalists, the 12 remaining cellists will perform a concerto and an unpublished compulsory work specially composed for the competition in next week's final, accompanied by the Brussels Philharmonic conducted by Stéphane Denève. The candidates, who are competing for a €25,000 grand prize, will this week study the new compulsory work 'without outside assistance' in the Queen Elisabeth Chapel.


The 12 finalists are:

Santiago Cañón-Valencia (1995, Colombia)

Brannon Cho (1994, United States)

Sihao He (1993, China, pictured)

Victor Julien-Laferrière (1990, France)

Seungmin Kang (1987, South Korea)

Ivan Karizna (1992, Belarus)

Maciej KuŠ‚akowski (1996, Poland)

JeongHyoun Christine Lee (1991, South Korea)

Yan Levionnois (1990, France)

Yuya Okamoto (1994, Japan)

Aurélien Pascal (1994, France)

Bruno Philippe (1993, France)

This year’s Queen Elisabeth contest, taking place from 8 May to 3 June 2017, is the first to be dedicated to the cello – the fourth instrument to be included in the annual competition, which up to this point has covered violin, piano and voice in a three-year cycle.

Sitting on the 2017 jury are: Gautier Capuçon, Marta Casals Istomin, Henri Demarquette, Roel Dieltiens, David Geringas, Natalia Gutman, Marie Hallynck, Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman, Anssi Karttunen, Mischa Maisky, Antonio Meneses, Truls Mørk, Jian Wang, Pieter Wispelwey and Arie Van Lysebeth (jury chair).

The inaugural QEMC in 1937 was devoted to the violin and dedicated to Eugène Ysaÿe, who had recently died. David Oistrakh, then aged 28, was the competition’s first winner. The first piano competition took place the year afterwards. Singing was added in 1988. There is also a composition competition, which is run outside of the three-year cycle.

The 2015 Queen Elisabeth Competition was won by violinist Ji Young Lim.

Read: Queen Elisabeth Music Competition 2017 names 70 cello candidates