Concertino Praga winners announced


Concertino Praga - Czech Radio's prestigious international competition for young musicians - has just announced the winners of this year's contest. Ever since this special event for up and coming musicians was established 41 years ago, it has become a conveyer belt for young talent in the world of classical music.

Many previous winners have gone on to bigger and better things and include luminaries like the renowned Czech organ player Jaroslav Tuma. This year, the competition attracted 36 entrants from 14 different countries. The chairman of the jury, Czech violinist Vaclav Hudecek - who is himself a former winner of Concertino Praga - says that the standard of recordings entered for this year's event was just as high as in previous years.

"I think that in all the categories there were accomplished musicians of at least an international standard. The performances really were exceptional. There was a rather big gap between the first two prize-winners and the rest of the applicants. To decide who should be in the first two places was very easy for us. When I looked at how my colleagues voted in the competition, after it was all finished, I realized that we had been incredibly unanimous in our notes and grading. It is all the more interesting if we take into account that the competition is completely anonymous. Our decisions should therefore be just."

For the first time, this year's competition added a guitar section to its more traditional disciplines of piano, violin and cello, which regularly alternate each year with other categories like woodwind or brass instruments. It also extended the age limit from 16 to 19, which meant that more young musicians could enter, including Petr Spacek, who won the cello section:

"I had never paid much attention to this competition before because I thought that it was only for kids. But later I found out that the age limit had been increased and that I would therefore meet this basic criterion for taking part in the whole thing. It was already quite late and I was lucky not to miss the deadline! I'm very much surprised by my victory and I still almost can't believe it! It's a big success for me, it's probably the biggest success in my life. I think it's great that Concertino Praga encourages young musicians in their chosen profession and gives them a chance to present themselves."

The overall prize this year went to Alexey Sychev, an 18-year-old pianist from Russia. Competition organiser Czech Radio will now record and release a CD of his performance work. All four section winners will also perform at a special joint concert in Prague's Dvorak Hall on the 17th of June. You can get more information on the Concertino Praga competition at