Liszt Preisträger Bayreuth 2021
The winners (left to right) Rune Leicht Lund, Shota Kaya, and Valentin Magyar. Photo: Thomas Müller

The jury has decided: Three winners of the 10th International FRANZ LISZT Piano Competition Weimar – Bayreuth 2021

The 10th International FRANZ LISZT Piano Competition Weimar – Bayreuth culminated in a celebrated final concert in the Weimarhalle on Saturday evening, November 6th. Accompanied by a very well presented Staatskapelle Weimar under the direction of Dominik Beykirch, the 21-year-old Japanese Shota Kaya won the second prize worth 8,000 euros – if the first prize was not awarded. The third prize, endowed with 5,000 euros, was awarded twice: to the 21-year-old Hungarian Valentin Magyar and the 18-year-old Dane Rune Leicht Lund.

The 10th International FRANZ LISZT Piano Competition Weimar – Bayreuth has been organized by the FRANZ LISZT Weimar University of Music in cooperation with the City of Bayreuth since October 27th.

Valuable support from Steingraeber

The competition was largely financed by the Free State of Thuringia and the City of Bayreuth. The NEUE LISZT FOUNDATION, the piano manufacturer Steingraeber Bayreuth and the Staatskapelle Weimar provided valuable support. Steingraeber not only provided the instruments for the opening concert in the Margravial Opera House and the 1st round in the Bayreuth Music School, but also enabled all participants to play the piano in the Steingraeber Haus over several days and to familiarize themselves with the grand pianos.

In addition to the 2nd prize, Shota Kaya also won the audience award, donated by Ulrich Bergmann, as well as the special award for the best interpretation of a work by Saint-Saens, donated by the “Ming Cheng Institute”. The 3rd prize winner, Valentin Magyar, was awarded the special prize for the late work of Franz Liszt, donated by Gilbert Hönig. The Rune Leicht Lund, also awarded the 3rd prize, also won the special prize for the best interpretation of a classical sonata, donated by the piano manufacturer Steingraeber, as well as the special prize for the best interpretation of the sonata in B minor by Franz Liszt, donated by Gilbert Hönig.

Another special prize for a particularly talented participant (except for the prizewinner), donated by the NEW LISZT FOUNDATION, went to Oscar Paz (USA), a competitor who was only 16 years old. In addition, the 20-year-old Russian Ilia Papoian won a scholarship for the most talented Eastern European participant (except for prize winners) for a semester at the FRANZ LISZT Weimar University of Music, donated by Dr. Rainer Braunschweig.

The winners of the 10th International FRANZ LISZT Piano Competition could be seen again on Sunday, November 7th at 5:00 p.m. in the Europa Hall of DAS ZENTRUM in Bayreuth: There they performed solo works from their competition program in a winners’ concert.

37 participants from all over the world

A total of 37 participants were nominated for this year’s competition after a preselection. While the first round was held in the Wagner Hall of the Bayreuth Music School, the participants moved to the Princely House of the Weimar Music Academy for the second and third round. In the final concert in the Weimarhalle on November 6th, Franz Liszt’s “Dance of Death” for piano and orchestra (Shota Kaya and Valentin Magyar) was performed twice and his Concerto No. 1 in E flat major (Rune Leicht Lund) was performed once.

In addition to the jury chairman Gerlinde Otto, the jurors also included Rolf-Dieter Arens (Germany), Dana Borsan (Romania), Wolfgang Döberlein (Germany, 1st round), Carsten Dürer (Germany) and Gábor Farkas (Hungary) 2nd round), Pasquale Iannone (Italy), Eugene Skovorodnikov (Canada), Natalia Trull (Russia) and Zhu Xiao-Mei (China / France).

More information:

The winners:

Shota Kaya (Japan), 2nd prize

For him, it was worth it to arrive safely in Weimar after a twelve-hour flight and five-hour train ride, despite all the Corona adversities. The 21-year-old only had a very short preparation time for his first major international competition: his professor had only made him aware of the possibility at the end of May. “I was surprised that I was even able to qualify for the competition in such a short time,” says Shota Kaya. “I love Liszt”, confesses the young Japanese who is studying music in his third year at Tokyo College with professors Yusuke Kikuchi, Minoru Nojima and Mari Takeda. As a 13-year-old he played the double bass in an orchestra, has a big heart for musical theater, and composed and conducted. His previous competition successes include a 4th prize at the “2nd Tokyo International Piano Competition” and a 1st prize at the “8th Miyoshi Akira Piano Competition”

Valentin Magyar (Hungary), 3rd prize

Since he was 16, he has only played works by Franz Liszt, says the 21-year-old Hungarian who studies at the renowned Liszt Academy in Budapest. Nevertheless, Liszt’s piano concertos were uncharted territory for him in the preparation for the competition, and he had to enter this territory in the final concert with the concertante variation cycle “Dance of Death”. In 2017 Valentin Magyar already won a 2nd prize and the special prize for the best interpretation of a Bartók piece at the 5th International “Béla Bartók” piano competition in Graz (Austria). In 2018 he made his debut in the “Grand Hall” of the Liszt Academy in Budapest with Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor, for which he had composed his own cadenzas, as a soloist in the “Anima Musicae” chamber orchestra. Solo concerts also took him to many cities in Hungary, to Vienna and Belgrade. In February 2021 he played Johann Sebastian Bach’s Piano Concerto in F minor with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra in Budapest.

Rune Leicht Lund (Denmark), 3rd prize

In the final concert in the Weimarhalle, Rune Leicht played Lund Liszt’s E-flat major concerto, which the Danish pianist had already performed with an orchestra in Poland. In general, the only 18-year-old pianist has traveled a lot, more than 100 concerts have taken him across Europe, to Georgia and Kazakhstan. At the age of 12 he made his debut with Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto not only with the chamber orchestra The Danish Sinfonietta, but also with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen. He is currently studying in the fourth Bachelor semester at the Music and Art Private University in Vienna. Rune Leicht Lund has already won prizes at piano competitions in Sweden, Great Britain, Lithuania, Germany, Denmark and Poland, including the 2nd prize at the 17th International Music Without Limits Competition in Lithuania in 2017.

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