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Jaemin Han from South Korea is the big winner of the Cello Final at the George Enescu International Competition 2020/2021

Tuesday, 18 May 2021 , ora 15.24

Age record: the youngest winner in the history of the Enescu Contest

Jaemin Han won the grand prize of the cello section at the George Enescu International Competition, after a final in which he performed Concerto no. 1 in E flat major for cello and orchestra op. 107 by Shostakovich, on Saturday, May 15th, at the Romanian Athenaeum. Sebastian Fritsch from Germany was on the second place, and the third place went to Ștefan Cazacu from Romania.

Jaemin Han, who entered the competition at the age of 14 and in the meantime turned 15, is the youngest winner in the history of the Enescu Contest. The cellist from South Korea won the First Prize of the cello section at the end of a final in which he performed Shostakovich - Concerto no. 1 in E flat major for cello and orchestra op. 107, accompanied by the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of the well-known conductor Nicolas Altstaedt

The winner of the second place, Sebastian Fritsch, aged 25, performed in the Final the Concerto in E minor for cello and orchestra op. 85 of Elgar. 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 Thorsten Theis cello, since 2016.

The third place was occupied by Ștefan Cazacu (27 years old), who performed in the Final the Concerto in and minor for cello and orchestra op. 104 de Dvoűák. He studied in Bucharest and Vienna, with professors Marin Cazacu, Răzvan Suma and ReinhardLatzko. He has given recitals in Romania, the Netherlands, Israel, Austria, Germany and has 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 for the best accompanist of the sonata for piano and cello no. 2 in C major op. 26 by George Enescu, worth 4,000 Euros, to pianist Naoko Sonoda. He accompanied Sebastian Fritsch in the semifinals. The award is a recognition of the quality of the pianist's performance, given that the work is very difficult.

The first prize of the George Enescu 2021 International Competition is worth 15,000 euros. The winner has the opportunity to perform on the stage of the Enescu Festival, along with some of the most important orchestras in the world, as well as special awards and opportunities for international promotion. The second prize is 10,000 euros, and the third prize is 5,000 euros. The prizes of the Cello section are worth 30,000 euros.

The trophy of the 2020/2021 edition, offered to the three young musicians, is made by the artist Iulia Năstase from hand-processed and hand-engraved glass, especially for the Enescu Contest and inspired by the theme of the edition, Beauty in Life.

The president of the Cello Jury, David Geringas, announced the results on the stage of the Romanian Athenaeum. Along with him, Myung-Wha Chung, Leonid Gorokhov, Alexandra Guțu, FransHelmerson, ArtoNoras, JérômePernoo, Meehae Ryo, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and Raphael Wallfisch were part of the specialized jury. The judging was done in a hybrid system: 5 members of the jury are present in Bucharest, watching the finalists' recitals live at the Romanian Athenaeum, and 5 watched the performances of the young musicians through online transmission.

The George Enescu International Competition 2020
took place in the first phase last year, with the promise to bring "Beauty in Life", despite the pandemic. The contest was reinvented online with a premiere in the world of international classical music - the first two stages of the sections were organized online, this measure being taken to be able to run the competition, despite the pandemic. Thus, 205 young artists were able to follow their dream and participate in the Contest, between August 29 and September 20, 2020. The last two stages - Semifinals and Finals - are organized live, in Bucharest, at the Athenaeum, between May 12th and 23rd, 2021 , with audience in the hall.

In 2020, the George Enescu International Competition offered more than music and competition. The message of this year's edition is "Beauty in life", and in the context of the pandemic, the Enescu Contest aimed to show that we all have the power to reinvent ourselves, to choose life and beauty alike. In a troubled world, reduced to silence and pandemic isolation, we have created a model of resilience based on the need for beauty in life, indispensable to our humanity.

The campaign spot is at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxuylvvHHWQ

The complete program of the Contest can be consulted here.

The George Enescu Competition functions as an international launching platform for future world-renowned musicians and for promoting the compositions of the great Romanian musician among the new generation of artists around the world, and is thus a natural complement to the George Enescu Festival, the most important international cultural event organized in Romania. The competition has four sections - violin, cello, piano and composition - and ranks in the top five worldwide in the landscape of classical music competitions.

Translated by Dărăban Denisa,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu