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Jaemin Han From South Korea Is the Big Winner of the Cello Final In the 2020/2021 George Enescu International Competition

Youngest Winner of the Enescu Competition Ever


Jaemin Han has won the grand prize of the Cello Section at the 2020/2021 George Enescu International Competition, in a Final that took place Saturday, May 15, at the Romanian Athenaeum, where he performed Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat Major Op. 107. Sebastian Fritsch from Germany came second and the third prize went to Stefan Cazacu from Romania.

Jaemin Han, who entered the competition aged 14 and in the meantime turned 15, is the youngest winner in the history of the Enescu Competition. The cellist from South Korea won the First Prize of the Cello Section at the end of a Final in which he performed ShostakovichConcerto no. 1 in E flat major for Cello and Orchestra op. 107, accompanied by the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of the distinguished conductor Nicolas Altstaedt.

The winner of second place, Sebastian Fritsch, aged 25, performed Elgar’s Concerto in E minor for Cello and Orchestra Op. 85. He studied at the music universities of Freiburg and Weimar, his training being currently completed at the Kronberg Academy, under the guidance of Professor Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt. Winner of the German Music Competition in 2019, Sebastian plays a 2016 Thorsten Theis cello.

The third place was occupied by Stefan Cazacu (27 years old), who performed Concerto in B minor for Cello and Orchestra Op. 104 by Dvořák. He studied in Bucharest and Vienna, with professors Marin Cazacu, Razvan Suma and Reinhard Latzko. He has given recitals in Romania, the Netherlands, Israel, Austria, Germany and collaborated as a soloist with all the symphony orchestras in Romania, but also with the Chisinau Philharmonic or the Alicante Youth Orchestra.

The Jury also offered a Special Prize worth 4,000 Euros for the Best Accompanist of the Sonata for Piano and Cello no. 2 in C major op. 26 by George Enescu, to pianist Naoko Sonoda. He accompanied Sebastian Fritsch in the semifinals. The award is recognition of the pianist’s performance high quality, given that the Sonata is considered a very challenging work.

The First Prize of 2020/2021 George Enescu International Cello Competition amounts to 15,000 euros. The winner has also the chance to perform on the Enescu Festival stage, together with some of the most renowned international orchestras, to which special prizes are added as well as opportunities for international promotion. The second prize is 10,000 euros and the third – 5,000 euros. The total prize value for Cello Section is 30,000 euros.

The trophy offered to the three young artists in this Edition is made of hand-blown and engraved glass, bearing the signature of artist Iulia Nastase.

The President of the Cello Section Jury, David Geringas, announced the results on the Romanian Athenaeum stage. The other members of the Cello Jury were Myung-Wha Chung, Leonid Gorokhov, Alexandra Gutu, Frans Helmerson, Arto Noras, Jérôme Pernoo, Meehae Ryo, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, and Raphael Wallfisch. The jury proceedings have followed a hybrid system: 5 members of the judging panel are in Bucharest and watched the three concertos live at the Romanian Athenaeum, while 5 others watched the performances of the young musicians live-streamed online.

The 2020 George Enescu International Competition has seen its first phase unfold last year, fulfilling the promise to bring Beauty in Life despite the pandemic. The Competition reinvented itself online, marking a premiere in the world of international classical music – the first two rounds were held virtually, to allow the Competition to take place and defy the pandemic. Despite the uncertainty, 205 young artists were able to follow their dream and participate in the Competition between August 29 and September 20, 2020. The last two rounds – Semifinals and Finals – are organized live, in Bucharest, at the Romanian Athenaeum, between 12 and 23 May 2021, with audiences in the hall.

In 2020, the George Enescu International Competition offered much more than music and competition. The message of this edition is Beauty in Life and, in the pandemic context, 2020/2021 George Enescu International Competition has set out to prove that we all have the power to reinvent ourselves while embracing equally beauty and life. In a troubled world, silenced and isolated by the pandemic, we have created a model of resilience based on our longing for beauty in life, vital to our humanity.

The campaign spot is accessible here:

The Competition’s full Program can be viewed here. All contestants who have taken part in the Semifinals of the three sections are listed on, under the Results tab.

George Enescu Competition is an international platform for launching future world-class musicians and for promoting the compositions of the great Romanian composer to the new generation of artists from all over the world. It is thus a natural extension of the George Enescu Festival, the most important cultural event organized in Romania. The Competition has four sections – violin, cello, piano, and composition – and it ranks in the top five classical music competitions worldwide.


Press information: Oana Marinescu | | tel: 0741 278 737