At this year’s Leopold Mozart Violin Competition in Augsburg, Spanish violinist Julen Zelaia (*1995) won the special prize for the best performance of the commissioned work for solo violin and recording, Soleos, by Polish composer Elzbieta Sikora.

Julen Zeliaia
(c) Christian Menkel LMW

And since, as a Jury member, I am not allowed to write about the violinists’ performances, I decided to share my impressions about a young pianist who played as accompanist of the candidates currently studying at Salzburg’s Mozarteum.

His name is Yu Nitahara, a Japanese pianist, born in 1990, who studied in Tokyo and Salzburg. We won First Prize at the Hummel Piano Competition in 2017.

Yu Nitahara

During the Leopold Mozart Violin Competition, he impressed as a particularly good accompanist, attentive, flexible and extremely tasteful. Nitahara’s playing always was subtle and sensitive. With a striking delicacy of touch, a beautifully shaped colourful and always lively pianism as well as an impeccably moulded phrasing he was every bit as (and sometimes even more) impressive and inspirational than the violinists. A fine achievement!

Let us mention also that the youth development price of the Leopold Mozart Competition goes this year to four young musicians (500 Euro each) who did not reach the second round:

Hyojin Kan (South Korea, *1997)

Naoko Nakajima (USA/Japan, *1997)

Hsin-Yu Shih (Taiwan, *1999)

Sara Zeneli (Italy, *2000)

(report by Remy Franck, currently in Augsburg)


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