22-year-old pianist wins German Music Competition | Music | DW | 05.04.2014
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22-year-old pianist wins German Music Competition

Pianist Frank Dupree from Rastatt has won the 40th annual German Music Competition. This week winners and fellows were announced for Germany's most important project promoting young musicians.

Frank Dupree, performing at the piano

Frank Dupree

Founded in 1975, the German Music Competition (DMW), hosted by the non-profit umbrella German Music Council, has been a springboard to a big career for artists such as Alban Gerhardt and Nils Mönkemeyer.

For those who succeed at the DMW, doors open - from financial and other kinds of sponsorship to concert engagements around the country. This year, 220 soloists and ensembles competed for awards in the categories of piano, flute, oboe, horn, trombone, harp, harpsichord and chamber music.

Big opportunities

Back in 1975, German orchestras were clamoring for young talent. At international competitions, German musicians were few and far between and generally unsuccessful. Seeing a need for urgent action, the German Music Council founded the German Music Competition, saying "To be internationally competitive, new generations of German musicians need support in their artistic development."

One BAKJK inductee, Fabian Müller, stands with project head Thomas Rabbow

BAKJK inductee Fabian Müller (l) with project head Thomas Rabbow

Four decades later, it's hard to imagine music education in Germany without the DMW. Participating musicians vie for honors from debut CD production to long-term support measures including arranged tours in concert halls nationwide.

"No other competition in the world supports young musicians as intensely as this one," said Thomas Rabbow, DMW project head since 1993.

Those successfully completing the third round receive scholarships under the heading "National Young Artists' Select Concerts," abbreviated in German as BAKJK. "It's a big opportunity because they can get concert experience, network with organizers and meet other musicians with whom they may want to form chamber music ensembles," Rabbow explained.

Broad spectrum

Over the past two weeks Bonn saw part of the German Music Competition in eleven categories. "They alternate every year, so we've had a wide range of specialties right from the beginning," said Thomas Rabbow, adding, "That includes instruments you never see elsewhere, like double bass, bass trombone and horn."

Horn player Marlene Pschorr and flautist Maximilian Randlinger

Horn player Marlene Pschorr and flutist Maximilian Randlinger

After the four rounds, the winners of the 2014 cycle were announced Thursday (4.04.2014) in Bonn's Beethoven Hall. Jury chair Siegfried Mauser called them to the podium one by one - starting with this year's top prize winner, 22-year-old pianist Frank Dupree from Rastatt in southern Germany. A student of piano performance and conducting at the State University of Music and the Performing Arts in Stuttgart since 2011, Dupree has already won over other juries, including at the International Piano Competition in Rome. He also took top honors in 2012 at the International Hans von Bülow Competition in the category "Conducting from the Piano."

'Wonderful music'

Dupree and twelve other soloists and chamber ensembles were inducted into the BAKJK. They include pianist Fabian Müller, flute players Maximilian Randlinger, Elya Levin and Anna Klie, oboist Juri Schmahl, horn players Marlene Pschorr and Kristian Katzenberger, trombone player Louise Anna Pollock and three ensembles: the Boreas Quartet Bremen, who play recorder, the clarinet trio Pierrot and the vocal group Nobiles.

Visibly moved, Thomas Rabbow, set for retirement in June, rounded out the contest's 40th edition. Speaking to the contendants, he remarked, "You have not made it difficult for us to guide you through this competition. Above all, we thank you for the wonderful music you've given us."