Concertino Praga 2021 - Final Competition Round in Concert, Solo Category
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25
Petr Iljič Čajkovskij: Concerto No. 1 in B minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 23
Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47
Sergej Prokofjev: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D flat major, Op. 10
Outstanding concert artists are not just virtuoso technicians, able to master any score. They must also be resistant to the stress that accompanies every performance; they must keep their adrenaline and nerves under control, and they should certainly also radiate an indescribable charisma. The public finals of the Concertino Praga competition serve to let the contestants demonstrate not only their artistry and mastery of their instruments, but also how they withstand the rigours of concert performance. They will be accompanied by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Vahan Mardirossian, in the presence of a live audience and a discriminating jury consisting of renowned figures from the world of music. The prizes for the winners – including an audience award – will be announced and presented on the spot. Under the joint organisation of Czech Radio and the Academy of Classical Music, the Concertino Praga will brighten the air, bringing youthful élan with a touch of sportsmanlike rivalry to the dignified Rudolfinum.
Among the Concertino Praga jury members for the solo performance category will be Christine Anderson, the longstanding head of the “Debut in German Broadcasting Culture” project, along with British violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Professor Ewa Kupiec from the Hochsule für Musik in Hanover, pianist Ivo Kahánek, and the trumpet player Sergei Nakariakov.
Conductor and pianist Vahan Mardirossian is of Armenian origin, and since 1993 he has been living in Paris, where he graduated from the conservatoire. For several years, he has been the chief conductor of the Orchestre de Caen in France and the music director of the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia. Since the 2019/2020 season he has held the post of chief conductor of the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong and from January 2020 the post of music director of the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie. He makes regular guest appearances with a number of European and Asian orchestras, including the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonia, the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, the Toulon Opera Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, and the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. Mardirossian has performed as a pianist on a number of esteemed concert stages, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, and he has collaborated with the world’s leading conductors, including Kurt Masur and Paavo Järvi. His discography covers a wide range of styles from the Baroque to music of the 20th century. He was awarded a prestigious Diapason d’Or for his album of piano music by Franz Schubert.
Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra is one of the most important contemporary Czech orchestras. Starting from the season of 2022/2023, Czech conductor Petr Popelka will become the orchestra’s chief conductor and artistic director. Robert Jindra has assumed the post of principal guest conductor.
In the 2022/2023 concert season, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra welcome outstanding violinists such as Frank Peter Zimmermann and Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Pianists Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Benjamin Grosvenor and Nicolas Hodges, cellists Jean-Guihen Queyras and Daniel Müller-Schott, and conductors John Axelrod, Sylvain Cambreling and Jessica Cottis have accepted our invitation as well. A concert performance of Act 1 of Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde, where the two other acts will be performed in the following two seasons, is a unique project. The lead roles will be played by Michael Weinius and Elisabeth Teige. Among the local performers, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra will feature pianists Ivo Kahánek and Martin Kasík, Markéta Cukrová and Jana Kurucová, as well as conductor Václav Luks.
Over the past few years, the orchestra has collaborated with leading Czech and international conductors such as Tomáš Netopil, Petr Altrichter, Jakub Hrůša, Cornelius Meister, Alexander Liebreich, Ilan Volkov, Stephan Asbury, Ion Marin, Michał Nesterowicz, Anu Tali and Wayne Marshall.
The soloists accompanied by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra include pianist Krystian Zimerman, violinists Leila Josefowicz and Pierre Amoyal, cellists Gautier Capuçon, István Várdai and Steven Isserlis, trombonist Christian Lindberg, as well as jazzman Avishai Cohen. Singers include Renée Fleming, Elīna Garanča, Asmik Grigorian, José Cura, Juan Diego Flórez, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Jonas Kaufmann. Among the local artists, one should certainly not omit Lukáš Vondráček, Ivo Kahánek, Jan Bartoš, Josef Špaček, Jan Mráček, Tomáš Jamník, Adam Plachetka, Simona Šaturová, Kateřina Kněžíková, Petr Nekoranec and Vilém Veverka. The orchestra commissions and regularly performs works by leading contemporary Czech composers such as Miroslav Srnka, Ondřej Adámek, Pavel Zemek Novák, Jan Ryant Dřízal, Ondřej Štochl and Jiří Kadeřábek.
The recording activity of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra is quite extensive as well. Consider the Janáček trilogy with conductor Tomáš Netopil released by Supraphon. Two of these recordings were highlighted as the Editor’s Choice by the prestigious Gramophone magazine. The very first complete recording of Miloslav Kabeláč’s eight symphonies (Supraphon, 2016) or the recording of all of Bohuslav Martinů’s piano concertos (Radioservis, 2016) was a singular achievement. The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra celebrated the 150th anniversary of Vítězslav Novák’s birth by recording a new album featuring pianist Jan Bartoš and conductor Jakub Hrůša (Supraphon, 2020), which won the Anděl Award in 2021. More recent productions include late orchestral works by Bohuslav Martinů entitled Fresky, Paraboly, Rytiny, recorded with the internationally renowned conductor Tomáš Netopil (Supraphon, 2021) and a forthcoming album in collaboration with the prestigious Hyperion label with works by Martinů, Kalabis and Krása for harpsichord and orchestra with soloist Mahan Esfahani and conductor Alexander Liebreich.
Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra offers its audience concerts as part of subscription cycles in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum or the convent of Saint Agnes as well as individually in DOX+ or in Studio 1 of Czech Radio. It is a regular guest at prominent festivals such as Prague Spring International Music Festival, Dvořák Prague International Music Festival, Smetana’Litomyšl, Leoš Janáček International Music Festival and International Music Festival Český Krumlov. The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra regularly performs on international stages in Europe and Japan.
Ryan Martin Bradshaw began playing the piano at the age of seven and he began performing with the Russian Philharmonic under Vladimir Spivakov from the age of eight. He is the youngest soloist in residence at Slovak Radio. He is a laureate from a large number of piano competitions: he has received the 1st prize at the Golden Nutcracker Competition in Moscow, the EMCY Prize, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory Prize, the 1st prize at the Krainev Competition in Moscow, the 1st prize at the Chopin Piano Competition in Poland, the 2nd prize at the International Piano Competition in Aarhus, the Carl Nielsen Prize and the audience prize at Enschede, the 2nd prize for the youngest participants at the International Piano Competition for Young Musicians in the Netherlands, the 2nd prize at the Mihaela Ursuleasa Competition in Bucharest, the 3rd prize and the prize for the youngest ever finalist at the Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Weimar, the Grand Prix and the 1st prize at the International Vienna Open, the 1st prize at the Peter Toperczer International Piano Competition in Košice, the 1st prize at the Young Virtuosi competition in Zagreb, the 1st prize at the Young Virtuosi competition in Sofia, the 1st prize at the Grand Prize Virtuoso competition in Salzburg, the 1st prize at the Amadeus Mozartian competition in Brno and the 1st prize at the Bratislava Young Virtuosi competition.
Mark Anthony Lewin began playing the violin at the age of five. He studied under Tamara Prischepenko until the age of ten and has been working under the tutelage of Professor Bernhard Hartog at the Julius Stern Institute in Berlin since 2015. He has also participated at a number of master classes by Professor Dora Schwarzberg. He has regularly performed at music festivals such as Youth Classics 2015 (Switzerland), the 2015 Kastela Summer School (Croatia), the International Summer Academy in 2016 and 2019 (Austria) and the 2019 Chieti Classica (Italy). In 2018, he joined the International Academy for Talented Young Musicians in Germany. He regularly participates at international courses where he has worked with renowned musicians such as Michael Erxleben, Frithjof-Martin Grabner, Felix Korinth, the Ensemble Modern or Roeland Gehlen. In 2020, he became a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Germany (BJO). He has performed at many concerts and festivals as a soloist and in a duo with his brother Michael Lewin. These include the 27th Brandenburg summer concerts, amongst others. He has been studying at the Carl Philippe Emanuel Bach Music School since 2017.
Ildikó Rozsonits was born in Budapest in 2006. At the age of four, she started playing the recorder and then began the piano one year later. She was accepted into the Liszt Academy for exceptional young talents in Budapest as a ten-year-old and became the youngest student at the school under the tutelage of Professor Gábor Eckhardt. She is a laureate from a number of prestigious international piano competitions: she received the 1st prize at the Carl Filtsch competition in Romania and she won the Ars Nova competition in Italy with the highest possible number of points in 2017. One year later, she came first in competitions in Essen and Ústí nad Labem. In 2019, she won the Béla Bartók competition in Graz, Austria. Last year, she received the 1st prize at the César Franck International Piano Competition in Brussels, at the Piano Talents competition in Milan and at the International Music Festival and Competition in Paris. In 2020, she also became the Hungarian winner of the Virtuosos V4+ television show. She was the absolute winner of the Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Spain in 2021.
Jan Schulmeister has been playing the piano since the age of five. In addition to studying in Eva Zonová’s class at the Arts Primary School in Kroměříž, he has also completed a number of master classes with leading teachers and artists both at home and abroad. He has received the most prestigious prizes from many piano competitions, including being the two-time winner of the National Arts Primary School competition, the two-time absolute winner of the Piano Talents competition in Milan and the recipient of the absolute winner’s title in the Amadeus and Beethoven’s Teplice competitions. He has also added victories at the César Franck Competition in Brussels and at the Estonian Odin International Music Competition. He became a finalist in the 2020 Concertino Praga competition and received the EMCY Prize. He performs with leading Czech orchestras under the batons of Tomáš Netopil, Dennis Russell Davies or Jiří Rožeň and he cooperates with the Wihan Quartet. He plays regular solo concerts at both Czech and international concert halls and he participates at international music festivals such as the Prague Spring, Dvořák Prague, Smetana’s Litomyšl, Svátky hudby or the South Bohemian Festival.
The Rudolfinum is one of the most important Neo-Renaissance edifices in the Czech Republic. In its conception as a multi-purpose cultural centre it was quite unique in Europe at the time of its construction. Based on a joint design by two outstanding Czech architects, Josef Zítek and Josef Schultz, a magnificent building was erected serving for concerts, as a gallery, and as a museum. The grand opening on 7 February 1885 was attended by Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, in whose honour the structure was named. In 1896 the very first concert of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra took place in the Rudolfinum's main concert hall, under the baton of the composer Antonín Dvořák whose name was later bestowed on the hall.