Concertino Praga

Concertino Praga – the Antonín Dvořák International Radio Competition for Young Musicians – has been held each year since 1966. The mission of this multidisciplinary competition is to find extraordinary talents up to age 15 or 16. It is jointly organised by the Academy of Classical Music and Czech Radio. Candidates in two categories – solo and chamber music – are judged by an international jury of experts. In the first round, the jury evaluates the candidates anonymously on the basis of submitted recordings. The finals are held in public as a concert of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival. In 2021, the competition is open to contestants in both categories. The solo category will be held for violin, cello, piano, harpsichord, harp, accordion, guitar, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, and trombone. The chamber music category is open to ensembles ranging from duos to sextets.

The winners will receive a scholarship in the amount of up to EUR 5,000. Laureates will also have the opportunity to make a professional radio recording at Czech Radio and to appear at the South Bohemia Festival Concertino Praga.

Since 1988, Concertino Praga has been a member of the European Union of Music Competitions for Youth (EMCY). It is held under the auspices of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), of which Czech Radio became an active member in 1993.

 

Concertino Praga is open for entries for 2021. Let your talent shine!

Terms and Conditions of the Competition

      1. Which categories have been announced for the 2021 competition?

        The 2021 competition will be opened:

        in the solo performance category on the following instruments: violin, violoncello, piano, cembalo, accordion, harp, guitar, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, French horn, saxophone and trombone.

        in the chamber ensemble category in the following groupings: DUO | TRIO | QUARTET | QUINTET | SEXTET. The instrumental composition of the individual groupings is arbitrary; each ensemble may only include one keyboard instrument.

        The 2022 competition will be opened in the solo performance category.

      2. What is the age limit for the competitors?

        a) In the solo performance category:
        musicians who are not older than 16 as of the date of the Competition’s public final round, i.e. 18th September 2021, will be entitled to participate in the competition on the following instruments: violin, violoncello, piano, cembalo, accordion, harp and guitar.

        musicians who are not be older than 17 as of the date of the Competition’s public final round, i.e. 18th September 2021, will be entitled to participate in the competition on the following instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, French horn, saxophone and trombone.

        b) In the chamber ensemble category:

        musicians, whose average ages do not exceed the age of 20 as of the date of the Competition’s public final round, i.e. 17th September 2021, may perform in the ensembles ranging from duos to sextets. The oldest ensemble member must not be older than 21 as of the date of the public final competition, i.e. 17th September 2021.

        With regard to all the aforementioned age limits, a Competition participant may reach the given age limit on the day of the public final round (for example, a pianist in the solo performance category may celebrate his or her 16th birthday on 18th September 2021)

      3. Do any limits apply to those who can register in the competition?

        Only those competitors who meet the age limit for the given category and comply with all the registration parameters can register in the competition.

        In addition, any competitors who won the 1st to 3rd prizes in the final of the previous year’s competition, i.e. during the 54th year of the competition in 2020, are also barred from registering in the solo categories.

      4. When is the latest that I have to send in my registration?

        In order to avoid any problems with submitting your complete registration, we recommend that you start making all the required recordings sufficiently in advance of the registration deadline which is midnight on Sunday 31st January 2021. It will take you a number of hours to make the required recordings. 

      5. What has to be included with the registration?

        a) Recordings of the individual competition works.

        b) Videos from the recording sessions of the competition works.

        c) The competitor’s profile/a file at a maximum length of 1000 characters (the registration system will not accept a longer profile).

        d) Two professional photographs of the competitor/ensemble in print quality (at least 300 dpi), along with the photographer’s name and the photographer’s consent for its use. The photographs will accompany the laureates throughout the entire period of the festival, so it is important to make an effort.

        e) Comprehensive sheet music for the competition recordings (be sure to remove all written notes in order to preserve the competitor’s anonymity).

        f) A copy of your passport (if you are a competitor from abroad).

        g) The repertoire, if the competitor is chosen for the 3rd final round of the competition (the solo performance category).

        h) The repertoire, if the competitor is for the 2nd final round (the chamber ensemble category). 

      6. How should I send in the compulsory registration enclosures?

        Put all the enclosures in a single folder and label it with your name / the name of the chamber ensemble. Zip the file. You have the following options for uploading the enclosures once you have sent in your registration:

        a) if you have prepared all of the enclosures according to the instructions above, you can upload the enclosures into the window which will open once you have sent your registration,

        b) you will receive an email with a link, which will allow you to upload the enclosures, after once you have sent your registration. 

      7. Does the competition include a compulsory repertoire?

        No, it doesn’t. However, the organiser does publish a list of recommended works for the solo performance category every year, the performance of which will have a positive impact on the evaluation of the competition performances, may constitute one of the evaluation criteria and may be associated with special prices.

        The evaluation of the competitor by the expert juries will also be influenced by the maturity of the competitor’s repertoire selection while taking into account the promotion of the works of Antonín Dvořák and other Czech composers.

        The organiser does not publish a list of recommended works for the chamber ensemble category, but it is recommended that the ensembles take the works of Czech composers into account when putting together their repertoires. 

      8. Can I send in a recording which I have made for a different broadcasting organisation?

        The competition does not accept any recordings that are subject to any broadcasting rights of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) or any mechanical rights (IFPI).

      9. Can I include an unaccompanied work for solo instrument in my competition repertoire for the solo performance category?

        Yes. You can include works for solo instrument without the accompaniment of any other instrument in the competition repertoire. 

      10. Can I include an instrumental concerto or a movement thereof with piano accompaniment in the solo performance competition category?

        Yes, you can. However, in such a case, you must also include at least one work originally designated only for solo instrument or originally accompanied by another instrument.

        An exception to this rule involves those works which are authorised to be accompanied by piano or works which have been included in the list of recommended competition works. In the case of works not listed in the list of recommended works, it is necessary to provide the organisers with proof that the participant is authorised to perform them, either with a historical source or a reference. 

      11. Can I include a work, where my solo performance is accompanied by an orchestra, in my competition repertoire?

        No. Works with orchestral accompaniment are not permitted for rounds 1 and 2 of the solo performance category. 

      12. Can I send the competition a recording which has been made at a public concert?

        Yes, you can, but please make sure that the recording has been made with the necessary technical quality so that it can be used in radio broadcasts. 

      13. Can our competition repertoire for the chamber ensemble category include works that were written for different instruments than the ones we play?

        Yes, the repertoire may involve a transcription or arrangement of works written for different instrumental settings.

        Duos in particular must perform works with balanced roles for both instruments, e.g. sonatas. 

      14. Can we use a different repertoire in the final 2nd round of the chamber ensemble category?

        Yes, you can, but it must be included in your registration. 

      15. How should I put my competition repertoire together?

        It is recommended that the competition repertoire should consist of a selection of different stylistic periods, while taking the works of Antonín Dvořák and other Czech composers (see the recommended works) into account.

        In the solo performance category, it is necessary to choose concertante works set for your instrument and an accompanying orchestra for the final round. This means a single or multiple-movement instrumental concerto and not merely the individual movements from a work.

        In the chamber ensemble category, especially in ensembles of the duo format, this must involve works with balanced roles for both instruments such as sonatas. This therefore may not involve concertante works where the second instrument serves as accompaniment. 

      16. How long should the competition recording be?

        The total length of the recorded competition performance must be 20-30 minutes for both categories. Recordings lasting less than 20 minutes will be eliminated from the competition, while recordings in excess of 30 minutes may be shortened by the jury.

        With regard to the live final round, the solo performances should last 20-30 minutes, while the performances in the chamber ensemble category should last 30-35 minutes. 

      17. Should the program for the first and second rounds of the solo performance category be different?

        No. The second-round jury will assess the same recordings as in the first round; the second-round jury will be different to that of the first round. 

      18. When will I find out, if my recording has progressed into the 2nd round?

        The candidates progressing into the 2nd round will be informed by the middle of March 2021.

         

      19. When will I find out, if I have progressed into the final round?

        The results of the 2nd round of the solo performance category and the 1st round of the chamber ensemble category will be announced by the middle of May 2021. 

      20.  How does the competition take place?

        The competitors make their competition recordings and send them in with their completed on-line registration. The jury will meet and listen to all of the anonymous recordings once the registration period has been completed.

        The solo performance category will take place over three rounds and the chamber ensemble category will take place over two rounds. 

      21. How many competitors can progress into the public final round?

        A maximum of 4 participants from the solo performance category can progress into the public final round. Likewise, a maximum of 4 ensembles from the chamber ensemble category can progress into the final round involving a live public performance. 

      22. How does the competition’s final round take place?

        The final round in the solo performance category takes the form of a live public concert with an orchestra associated with a live radio broadcast by Czech Radio under the auspices of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival.

        The final round in the chamber ensemble category takes place in the form of a live public concert associated with a live radio broadcast by Czech Radio under the auspices of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival. 

      23. What is the Concertino Praga South Bohemian Festival?

        The South Bohemian Festival is a concert cycle for the prize winners and recipients of honourable mentions, which follows directly on from the performances in the competition’s final round. The participants are accommodated at the Concertino Hotel in Jindřichův Hradec, from where they then head to the concerts in surrounding towns. The festival usually includes a total of 4 performances (Český Krumlov, Třeboň, Bechyně a Jindřichův Hradec) and several accompanying events. 

      24. Is the competition truly anonymous?

        Yes, it is. None of the jury members has any information about the competitors. The recordings are submitted under serial numbers and the jury members merely receive a repertoire list for the individual recordings. The jury will only receive any information about the performers (their name, age and nationality) after it has reached its decision on the competitors proceeding through to the final and the winners of any honourable mentions. 

      25. How will the recording session take place, if I record my competition recording at Czech Radio?

        A short sound check will take place once the technician has correctly adjusted the microphones. This will be followed by the recording session. All the candidates have the same amount of time reserved to make their recording. A sound technician will be present during the recording session and will be responsible for the quality of the recording. 

      26. Can anybody accompany me to the studio during the recording of the competition recordings?

        Only a candidate’s music teacher or his or her representative and a page turner may be additionally present during the recording session. 

      27. What if I make a mistake in part of the piece during the recording?

        If the time limit allows, you can rerecord the competition work or the movement in question. You may not, however, record only part of a movement or a single-movement work. You can then select the best recordings. The recording and selection of the works must all fall within the set time limit. 

      28.  What parameters do the competition recordings have to have?

        Mistrovské interpretace předvedli publiku v Praze např.: Dmitri Hvorostovsky (zpěv), Joseph Calleja (zpěv), Pavel Černoch (zpěv), Krystian Zimerman (klavír), Maria Joao Pires (klavír), The recordings of the individual competition works must be in the WAV/PCM format – 16/24 bits – 44.1/48kHz. 

      29. Does the performance have to be recorded in a single sitting?

        No. If the repertoire includes multiple-movement works, each work or movement may be recorded separately. 

      30.  Can I modify my recording?

        No modifications, i.e. edits, are permitted. The compilation of a recording through editing constitutes a gross breach of the competition conditions and will lead to the elimination of the candidate from the competition. 

      31. Does the video recording have to correspond to the audio recording?

        Yes. Video recordings must be made at the same time as all of the audio recordings of the competition works. 

      32. What are the parameters for the video recording?

        The video recording may be made using a mobile telephone, as the video quality will not be taken into account. The camera must be placed in such a way that the candidate is visible from head to foot, including his/her hands. The camera angle may not change throughout the recording. 

      33.  How old can the recordings sent to the competition be?

        The recordings may have been made at any time in the period from 1st February 2020 to 31st January 2021. 

      34.  Can I redo a recording, if I progress into the 2nd round as a solo performer, but the jury has found some technical inadequacies in my recording from the 1st round?

        Yes, you can redo the recordings. If you do not have the option of redoing the recordings at your local radio organisation, recording studio or music school, Czech Radio will offer those participants who have been requested to redo recordings at the jury’s request the opportunity to redo their competition recordings at its expense. The candidate or the organisation which has registered the candidate in the competition will cover any associated travel and accommodation costs. 

      35. Will the organiser provide me with a page turner, if I need one?

        If a performer requires a page turner, for example during a recording session at Czech Radio, he or she will have to secure this. The organiser does not provide this service. The sheet music pages may be turned by either the performer’s teacher or a designated page turner.

        The organiser will provide a page turner for the 3rd round with the orchestra (the solo performance category). 

      36. Will the organiser of the South Bohemian Festival provide me with a professional piano accompanist, if I am competing in the solo performance category and I am not a pianist?

        Piano accompaniment is provided for the young performers on solo instruments at the South Bohemian Festival. 

      37. How will the piano be tuned?

        The piano will be tuned to the frequency of 442 kH. 

      38. Who will be in the expert jury?

        The jury will be different in every round of the competition. It always consists of renowned instrumentalists from the Czech Republic and abroad, conductors, music teachers or representatives of the European Broadcasting Union. You can find more information in the Jury section. 

      39. How will the jury evaluate the candidates?

        The candidates’ artistic performances will be evaluated regardless of the candidates’ age or chosen instrument.

        The first round (in the chamber ensemble category) and the first two rounds (in the solo performance category) will take place completely anonymously and the jury will evaluate the competitors purely on the basis of their submitted recordings.

        In the solo performance category, the jury will select 25 competitors to proceed into the second round.

        Four competitors will be selected to progress into the final round in both categories along with 2 understudies for the public 3rd round of the solo performance category and 1 understudy for the final round of the chamber ensemble category. If the understudies do not perform in the final due to the availability of all four finalists selected by the jury, they will perform their solo repertoires in a concert on the “Talent Stage” at the 2021 Dvořák Prague Festival.

        The final rounds will take place in the form of a public concert on 17th and 18th September 2020 as part of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival. 

      40. When will the final results be announced?

        The announcement of the results and the prize-giving ceremony will take place immediately after the completion of the final round of the competition under the auspices of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival. The announcement of the results in both categories will take on stage in the Dvořák Hall of the Prague Rudolfinum place on 18th September 2021.  

      41. Is there a “registration fee”?

        No registration fee is required for participation in the competition. 

      42. Will the organiser cover any costs for me and my escort?

        If a competitor progresses into the final round, the competition organiser will cover any essential accommodation costs in Prague. This will especially involve:

        a) accommodation with full board in Prague and Jindřichův Hradec,
        b) bus, train or plane travel to and from Prague,
        c) transport to and from Jindřichův Hradec,
        d) local transport from the hotel to the rehearsals and the public final round under the auspices of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival.

        The costs associated with making the recordings sent to the competition will be borne by the competitor or by the registering organisation (for example, Czech Radio) which made them. 

      43. What prizes can I win?

        Financial scholarships
        The prizes in the form of scholarships are awarded at the following amounts thanks to the Karel Komárek Family Foundation (KKFF):

        a) In the solo performance category
        1st prize - 5 000 EUR
        2nd prize - 2 700 EUR
        3rd prize - 1 800 EUR

        b) In the chamber ensemble category:
        1st prize - 5 000 EUR for ensemble
        2nd prize - 2 700 EUR for ensemble
        3rd prize - 1 800 EUR for ensemble

        Prizes are awarded in the form of special-purpose scholarships for participation in master classes or study stays, or in the form of a contribution for the purchase of a musical instrument. So you will not receive a check or cash or an account; the organizer will pay for you for the chosen master class (or part of it), or contribute to a new musical instrument.

        Concert opportunities
        The organiser will secure the laureates’ participation at the South Bohemian Concertino Praga Festival and at any other concerts according to the options available to the organiser.

        Special prizes
        The organisers will award special prizes for exceptional performances of the recommended works or works by Czech composers. Other possible prizes for the successful participants in the competition are regularly posted online at www.concertinopraga.cz

      44. What is the timetable for the competition’s 55th year?

        31. 1.2021 - the closing date for registration
        February 2021 - the 1st recording-evaluation round for the solo performance category
        April 2021 - the 1st recording-evaluation round of the chamber ensemble category
        the 2nd recording-evaluation round of the competition’s solo performance category
        17. 9.2021 - the public final round of the chamber ensemble category at the Convent of Saint Agnes in Prague
        18. 9.2021 - the public final round of the solo performance category in the Dvořák Hall at the Rudolfinum, the official prize-giving ceremony for both categories
        20.- 24. 9.2021 the South Bohemian Concertino Praga Festival
        20. 9.2021 Český Krumlov, the château, the Masquerade Hall
        21. 9.2021 Bechyně, the château, the Vok Hall
        22. 9.2021 Třeboň, the Schwarzenberg Tomb
        24. 9.2021 Jindřichův Hradec, the château, the Knight’s Hall

        Other accompanying events will also take place under the auspices of the South Bohemian Concertino Praga Festival. 

      45. As this involves a radio competition, will Czech Radio publicly broadcast my recordings?

        Yes. The finalists’ recordings will be included in Czech Radio broadcasts. In addition, the final round will also be recorded by Czech Radio with the option of a live broadcast in both audio and audio-visual form. All of the concerts at the South Bohemian Festival will be recorded and broadcast either live or as recordings.

        All of the candidates’ rights with regard to the creation of the artistic performance and the use thereof are set out in the competition’s Statute. 

      46. Who organises the competition?

        The competition organisers are Czech Radio and the Academy of Classical Music.

         

      47. Whom can I contact, if I am unsure about anything?

        If you are unsure about anything, do not hesitate to contact Mrs Simona Hopfingerová in relation to the solo performance category (simona.hopfingerova@rozhlas.cz, +420 603 169 317) or Mrs Markéta Mamicová (program@dvorakovapraha.cz, +420 777 039 838) in relation to the chamber ensemble category. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Application

The 2021 competition has been announced, and the competition rules are available HERE. The deadline for applications is 31 January 2021. Applications are to be submitted to concertinograga.cz.

Concert

Tickets to the talent stage and the concert of the competition finals are available here.

Jury

The competition jury of the 54th year consists of leading instrumental soloists, conductors, music teachers, and representatives of the European Broadcasting Union. The jury members for the 1st and 2nd rounds will not have any information about the competitors, and the voting is secret and entirely anonymous. The final third round is public in the form of a concert that is an official part of the programme of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival. The results will be announced immediately after the completion of the programme.

Jury for the 1st round

Evert van Berkel, Sveriges Radio, EBU (Sweden)
Anna Fusek, flute, violin (Germany)
Milan Langer, piano (Czech Republic)
František Novotný, violin (Czech Republika)
Vít Petrášek, cello (Czech Republic)
Milan Puklický, music director (Czech Republic)
Irvin Venyš, clarinet (Czech Republic)                                                                    

Jury for the 2nd round

Milán Bolla, MTVA, EBU (Hungary)
Jana Brožková, oboe (Czech Republic)
Ian Fountain, piano (United Kingdom)
Irena Jakubcová, violin (Czech Republic)
Kateřina Javůrková, French horn (Czech Republic)
Denisa Kerschová, France Musique, EBU (France)
Jens Peter Maintz, cello (Germany) 

Jury for the 3rd round

Walter Auer, flute (Austria)
Jana Boušková, harp (Czech Republic)
Jakub Hrůša, conductor (Czech Republic)
Václav Hudeček, violin (Czech Republic)
Ivo Kahánek, piano (Czech Republic)
Francois Leleux, oboe, conductor (France)
Thibaut Maillard, R.T.S., EBU (Switzerland)
David Mareček, piano, director Czech Philharmonic (Czech Republic)
Daniel Ottensamer, clarinet (Austria)
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, violin (United Kingdom)
Lukáš Vondráček, piano (Czech Republic)
Marek Zvolánek, trumpet (Czech Republic)

History

Concertino Praga – the Antonín Dvořák International Radio Competition for Young Musicians – was founded in 1966 at the initiative of the Czechoslovak Radio editorial staff for broadcasting for children and young people. Among the leading figures in the initial development of the idea of a radio competition were the harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková, the composer Viktor Kalabis, and the radio editor Helena Karásková. Thanks to the existence of the Organisation Internationale de la Radiodiffusion et Télévision, a former east-European institution that facilitated cooperation between radio and television stations, the competition was able to attain an international character and thus to differentiate itself from a large number of established national competitions for performing musicians.

In view of the complications associated with organising international activities under the former political regime, the decision was made to hold a competition without the direct participation of the competitors by only using submitted audio recordings. It was not until the concert that the winners were invited to appear together on one stage for the first time in history in the Dvořák Hall at the House of Artists in Prague on 18 November 1966, where the violinists Václav Hudeček (2nd prize) and Dmitry Sitkovetsky (1st prize) were among the now familiar artists presenting themselves.

The following year, Václav Hudeček won first prize, and among the pianists to win prizes were Dina Joffe and Zoltán Kocsis. Despite the competition’s necessarily strong orientation towards eastern Europe, among the laureates at the turn of the 1960s and ’70s were the Israeli violinist Yuval Yaron, a string quartet from West Germany (with Ulrike Fleming, Assunta Kwoka, Brigitte Schmeid, and Doris Laidler), a Japanese piano duo with Shizuka Ishikawa and Mariko Horie, and the Canadian pianists Louis Lortie and Jon Kimura Parker. Still today, there is an apparent tradition of candidates from eastern Europe – each year, Russian competitors usually represent the most numerous foreign nationality at Concertino.

While the competition was initially open to just three categories (piano, violin, and chamber music), the number of instruments gradually grew. For this reason, among the laureates were not only the violinists Sergei Stadler, Julian Rachlin, Isabelle Faust, and Jan Mráček and the pianists Vladimír Felcman, Igor Ardašev, and Ivo Kahánek, but also the cellists Leonid Gorochov, Alexander Rudin, and Tomáš Jamník, the organist Jaroslav Tůma, the flautist Michael Martin Kofler, the oboists Jana Brožková and Vilém Veverka, the clarinettists Sabine Meyer and Ludmila Peterková, the French horn player Radek Baborák, and the trumpet player Giuliano Sommerhalder.

The multidisciplinary and international character of Concertino Praga has been strengthened thanks to the establishment of cooperation between Czech Radio and the Academy of Classical Music in 2019. This has brought together the potential of the large media company that founded the competition and has been leading it successfully for more than 50 years, and of an institution that has been presenting the internationally recognised Dvořák Prague Festival for twelve years. The support for exceptionally talented young artists was thus able to take on a new form, and the 54th annual Concertino Praga competition gained the subtitle Antonín Dvořák International Radio Competition for Young Musicians. Dvořák’s legacy is reflected in the fact that the composer himself gave financial support to promising young artists. Successful contestants therefore receive scholarships or a contribution towards the purchase of their own instrument thanks to major support from the Karel Komárek Family Foundation.