Enthusiasm for 36 young pianists in Zwickau
Another “Little Schumann Competition” drew to a close in Zwickau on 27th April, and this for the twenty-third time, as this event, much loved by young pianists throughout Germany,has been in existence in the Robert Schumann town since 1968! The competition, traditionally always held on the weekend after Easter, “raged” for two and a half days. This time, three dozen participants had come together, which approximately corresponded to average numbers during the previous contests. And, oh wonder, they were evenly spread by a dozen each amongst the three age groups envisaged: between 6 and 10, 11 and 14, and between 15 and 19 years, as it is a youth competition and addresses young artists who have not yet begun their professional music training.
The Little Schumann Competition is organised by the Robert Schumann Conservatoire of the town of Zwickau, whose Director, Thomas Richter, was also in charge of management. Co-organisers are each time the Robert Schumann Society of Zwickau and the town of Zwickau, and the event is sponsored by Sparkasse Zwickau Savings Bank and from funds of the cultural area of Vogtland-Zwickau. The jury was composed of representatives of three conservatoires; it was chaired by Professor Gunnar Nauck (C. M. von Weber Conservatoire of Dresden), assisted by Professor Sontraud Speidel (State Conservatoire of Karlsruhe), and Professor Dietmar Nawroth (F. Mendelssohn Bartholdy University of Music and Theatre of Leipzig) who also chairs the Schumann Society of Zwickau. They were joined by his predecessor in this function, Dr Gerd Nauhaus, currently its Honorary Chairman, and Renate Wachsmuth, Head of the Department of Piano at the Robert Schumann Conservatoire.
Highly impressive performances within an interesting and varied programme could be experienced at the festive prize winners’ concert held on Sunday evening, which was attended by Dr Pia Findeiß, Lord Mayor of Zwickau, and Dr Michael Löffler, Head of the Municipal Office for Cultural Activities. Speeches by Maria Eydmann and Hanna Schulte (First and Second Prize of age group I) and by Elisabeth Hermelink and Jonas Aumiller (First Prizes of age groups II and III), were dedicated to Robert Schumann, the name patron, whilst the other prize winners, Julia Meyerding and Monan Jülch (Third Prizes of age group I), Elias Friedrich Projahn (Third Prize of age group II), Charlotte Steppes (First Prize of age group II), Leon Wenzel and Violetta Quapp (Third Prizes of age group III), and Robert Bily (Second Prize of age group III) performed works by Frédéric Chopin, Béla Bartók, Olivier Messiaen, Unsuk Chin, Nikolai Medtner, and Henri Dutilleux. The Robert Schumann Society awarded a special prize endowed with EUR 250 to the highest-ranking winner of the Competition by points, 15-year-old Jonas Aumiller, and several donations in kind as sponsorship prizes. Another special prize for best performance of a contemporary composition went to Leon Wenzel. The professional and enthusiastic concert audience consisted of parents, teachers, and music lovers from Zwickau and its surroundings, and we may already look forward to the 24th Little Schumann Competition to be held in Zwickau in the spring of 2016.
G. N. (Translation: Th. Henninger)
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