May in Prague, Czech Republic

Nearly 100 musicians from 23 countries will compete in 2020 Prague Spring contest

Ninety-eight musicians from 23 states will take part in the Prague Spring competition of young players that annually precedes the Prague Spring international music festival in May

Prague, Jan 27 (CTK) – Ninety-eight musicians from 23 states will take part in the Prague Spring competition of young players that annually precedes the Prague Spring international music festival in May and that will focus on the bassoon and clarinet categories this year, festival’s spokesman Pavel Trojan has told CTK.

Out of the total of 169 young bassoonists who filed their applications, the organisers have chosen 50 based on a preliminary round.

In the clarinet category, 215 players sought participation and 48 have been invited to Prague.

The highest number of players, 22, will represent South Korea.

In the preliminary round, the bassoonists were asked to send in a video recording with their interpretation of the Sonata for Bassoon and Piano by Camille Saint-Saens, while the clarinetists had to present their interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet and a part of Carl Maria von Weber’s Concerto No 1 in F minor.

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The three-round contest, which is a part of the Prague Spring festival, will take place from May 8 to May 14. As usual, it will be open to the public, which traditionally shows the biggest interest in the concerts of the finalists accompanied by a symphonic orchestra.

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The juries in the two categories are to include renowned soloists, teachers and orchestra players. In the bassoon category, the jury will be chaired by Carlo Colombo, an Italian professor at the conservatory in Lyon, France. The clarinet jury’s head will be Harri Maki, a professor at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

Like in previous years, the Prague Spring festival has ordered new compositions for the contestants to play. For the bassoonists, the compulsory composition will be Petr Wajsar’s MonoPoly. For the clarinetists, it will be a composition written by another Czech author, Jan Dusek. The compulsory compositions will be sent to the contestants three months before the competition and they will be played in the world premiere during the contest’s second rounds on May 11 (bassoon) and May 12 (clarinet).

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The Prague Spring competition was established in 1947 by renowned conductor Rafael Kubelik, who initiated the birth of the eponymous festival one year earlier. The festival annually starts on May 12, the death anniversary of Czech national music founding-father Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884).

Last year, the contest was held in the oboe and flute categories, which were won by Czech Martin Danek and South Korea’s Chaeyeon You.

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