Concertino Praga 2003


This week, Czech Radio was proud to announce the winner of the 38th International Radio Competition for Young Musicians. Concertino Praga took place over the weekend in Southern Bohemia, where twenty-six young candidates from thirteen countries came to present their abilities to the audience and spectators through radio and television broadcasting. The winner of the main prize - fifteen year-old violinist Hellen Weiss from Germany.

Concertino Praga is an international multidisciplinary radio competition which was established in 1966. The purpose of the competition is to scout for talented young musicians studying at national music schools all over Europe. Under the auspices of the European Broadcasting Union, the prestigious competition promotes Czech music worldwide and has opened many gates for emerging professional musicians. The competitors cannot be older than sixteen years of age. Martin Vojtisek is the Head of Concertino Praga

"It is a very important competition in the Czech Republic. It is sometimes called the little Prague Spring festival and it has a long tradition. Many significant musicians from the Czech Republic have won this competition in the past - Vaclav Hudecek, who is one of our most famous violinists, or Mr Tuma, who is a very famous organ player."

After they win this competition, what happens next? What sorts of opportunities are given to them?

"I think that the greatest thing for them is that we give them a chance to perform with a professional orchestra and this special concert is broadcast by Czech Radio and Czech Television and it is live, so I think that they can become famous easily because many people hear them and see them play, which is very good for them."

However, an ever decreasing interest in classical music is cause for concern for professionals in the field. It is a problem of international scale and it is difficult to say whether it is due to the increasing popularity of pop music or the lack of classical music appreciation in primary schools. I spoke with Steen Frederiksen from Denmark working for Danish Radio here as a member of the European Broadcasting Union music group.

"Concertino Praga has a role to play because it is a radio competition. The results, the music, which is performed by these excellent young musicians is being broadcast all over Europe and in that way, the children and young people who are playing classical music can listen to the radio and can hear somebody at a level where they are like idols, just as there are a lot of idols in pop music. So, this competition, in a way serves as bringing up idols in classical music and that is important."

The laureates of Concertino Praga will perform on the 19th of June at the Rudolfinum concert hall in Prague.