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Romanian Valentin Serban Is the Big Winner of the Violin Final in the 2020/2021 George Enescu International Competition

Valentin Serban has won the grand prize in the Violin final of the 2020/2021 George Enescu International Competition, with a performance of Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 47 that brought the public to a standing ovation, on May 19, at the Romanian Athenaeum. Jaewon Wee from South Korea came second and the third prize went to Tassilo Probst from Germany.

Violinist Valentin Serban from Romania won the First Prize of the Violin Section at the end of a Final in which he performed Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 47, accompanied by the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of the distinguished conductor Wilson Hermanto.

Valentin Șerban (b. 1990) previously graduated with bachelor’s studies at the Transilvania University in Brașov and attended his master’s studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, under the guidance of Silvia Marcovici. He has performed in Romania, France, Germany, Austria, and Italy. He has been a member of the Les Dissonances Orchestra in Paris since 2018 and a guest concertmaster of the Romanian Youth Orchestra.

The second-place winner, South Korean Jaewon Wee, aged 22, performed Brahms Violin Concerto in D major Op.77. She is currently a student of Juilliard’s Master of Music Degree program, studying with Ronald Copes. He graduated from the Korea National University of Arts, where she studied with Nam Yun Kim, Koichiro Harada, and Takashi Shimizu. She has performed at the Aspen Festival and the Busan International Festival. She won the 2014 Menuhin International Competition and the Tchaikovsky International Competition for Young Musicians.

The third prize went to Tassilo Probst, 19, from Germany, who performed Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major Op. 35. Tassilo Probst studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München with Professors Sonja Korkeala and Ingolf Turban. He plays a violin by Giovanni Grancino (Milan, 1690), a loan of the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben. He won Second Prize at the International Louis Spohr Competition for Young Violinists in Weimar in 2019.

The First Prize of 2020/2021 George Enescu International Violin Competition amounts to 15,000 EUR. 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 EUR and the third – 5,000 EUR. The total prize value for Violin Section is 30,000 EUR.

The trophy offered to the three young artists in the 2020/2021 Edition is made of hand-blown and engraved glass, inspired by the edition’s theme Beauty in Life, and bears the signature of artist Iulia Nastase.

Special prizes were also awarded at the ceremony. The organizers of iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates 2021 have offered the chance to take part in this large-scale event to finalists Tassilo Probst and Jaewon Wee. Their participation will involve giving recitals in famous venues such as the Disney Concert Hall; the expenses will be covered entirely by the organizers. The purpose of iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates 2021, which takes place annually in Los Angeles, USA, is to support exceptionally talented young musicians under 30. These prizes have been presented by conductor and violinist Eduard Schmieder, a member of the Jury in this year’s edition of George Enescu International Competition.

Another Special Prize was awarded by the Kronberg Academy to the youngest musician to ever reach the Final of the Violin Section, Tassilo Probst, aged 19.

The first prize winners in the cello, violin, and piano sections of the 2020/2021 Enescu Competition are special guests in a concert that will take place at the prestigious Musikverein Concert Hall in Vienna, on October 15, 2021, together with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Yalchin Adigezalov. This Special Prize is offered by IMK, courtesy of Igor Petrushevski, a member of the Jury.

The Jury also offered a Special Prize worth 4,000 EUR for Best Accompanist of George Enescu’s sonatas for piano and violin – to pianist Alberto Ferro, who accompanied Giuseppe Cardaropoli (Italy) in the semifinals. The award is in recognition of the pianist’s high-quality performance, given that the sonatas they presented are considered very challenging works.

The President of the Violin Section Jury, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, announced the results on the Romanian Athenaeum stage. The other members of the Violin Jury were Remus Azoitei, Koichiro Harada, Silvia Marcovici, Mihaela Martin, Igor Petrushevski, Eduard Schmieder, and Krzysztof Wegrzyn. The jury proceedings have followed a hybrid system: 6 members of the judging panel are in Bucharest and have watched the three concertos live at the Romanian Athenaeum, while 2 others have 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxuylvvHHWQ

The Competition’s full Program can be viewed here.

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.