Queen Elisabeth Competition

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Official logo, English version.

The Queen Elisabeth Competition (Dutch: Koningin Elisabethwedstrijd, French: Concours musical international Reine Élisabeth) is an international competition for career-starting musicians held in Brussels. The competition is named after Queen Elisabeth of Belgium (1876–1965). It is a competition for classical violinists (from 1937 to present), pianists (1938 to present), singers (1988 to present) and cellists (2017 to present).[1] It also used to hold international competitions for composers from 1953 to 2012.[2] The current Patron is Queen Mathilde of Belgium.

Since its foundation it has been considered one of the most challenging and prestigious competitions for instrumentalists. In 1957 the Queen Elisabeth Competition was one of the founding members of the World Federation of International Music Competitions.[3]

History[edit]

Eugène Ysaÿe, Belgian concert violinist, wanted to set up an international music competition for young virtuosi showcasing their all-round skill, but died before he could do so. Queen Elisabeth, patroness of the arts and good friend of Ysaÿe, set up the competition in his memory in 1937. The prestige of Ysaÿe and Belgium's Royal Court (King Albert and Queen Elisabeth were admired heroes of the First World War) assured that the first competition would draw great entrants.[4]

1937–1950[edit]

The first two editions of the competition, in 1937 for violin and in 1938 for piano, were named after Ysaÿe. World War II and other impediments prevented the competition from taking place from 1940 to 1950.[4]

1937 1938
Violin X
Piano X

1951–1986[edit]

In 1951, the competition was renamed for its patroness, Queen Elisabeth, and has taken place under that name since then. It is one of three musical institutions (the others being the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, residence orchestra of the Queen Elisabeth Hall) dedicated to the former Queen.

Entrants are expected to learn a compulsory work written especially for the competition. (The work is picked during the composition competition.) Usually there is also a section where contestants are expected to perform a work by a Belgian composer. From 1963 to 1980, Marcel Poot of the Brussels Conservatory chaired the jury of the competition and wrote several commissioned works to mark the occasion, that were used as competition-required pieces.[5]

The competition restarted with four-year cycles, starting with two consecutive years for violin and piano respectively, followed by a year for international composition competitions. The fourth year of each cycle had no competition. The years 1973 to 1974 were a transition to cycles with instrument competitions in even years, and the internationional composition competition in the year between the violin and the piano competitions, until the early 1980s when the cycles were re-arranged again.[2]

Year Violin Piano Composition
1951 X For Belgian composers
1952 X For Belgian composers
1953 International
1955 X For Belgian composers
1956 X For Belgian composers
1957 International
1959 X For Belgian composers
1960 X For Belgian composers
1961 International
1963 X For Belgian composers
1964 X For Belgian composers
1965 International
1967 X For Belgian composers
1968 X For Belgian composers
1969 International
1971 X For Belgian composers
1972 X For Belgian composers
1975 X For Belgian composers
1976 X For Belgian composers
1977 International
1978 X For Belgian composers
1980 X For Belgian composers
1982 International
1983 X For Belgian composers
1985 X For Belgian composers

1987–2006[edit]

With the competition for voice (singing) introduced in 1988 the four-year cycles were piano → voice → violin → year without performer competition. Before 2002 there were no composition competitions in even years.[2]

1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Piano X X X
Voice/singing X X X
Violin X X
Composition X X X
Composition for Belgian composers X X X X X
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Piano X X
Voice/singing X X
Violin X X X
Composition X X X X X X
Composition for Belgian composers X X X X X

2007–2014[edit]

From 2007 there were no longer years without competition for performers: with three disciplines (piano, voice, violin), each of these returned in a three-year cycle.[2]

There were competitions for composition in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, each of these for the performance piece of the instrumentalist finale of the next year.[2]

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Piano X X X
Voice X X X
Violin X X
Composition X X X X

2015 and beyond[edit]

From 2015 there are again four-year cycles, with, for the first time in 2017, a cello competition added after the year with the piano competition.[6] The public composition competitions stopped.[2] The 2020 competition was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[7]

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Violin X X X
Piano X X
Cello X X
Voice X X

Patronage and prizes[edit]

The Queen Elisabeth Competition generates income from its own activities, from private patronage and from sponsoring. Resources are varied: part of the funding for the prizes laureates receive is provided by public authorities and patrons, corporate sponsors, donors contributions, ticket and programme sales, advertising in the programmes and the sale of recordings. The Competition also benefits from the volunteer assistance of families who open their homes to candidates for the duration of the competition.

Prizes for the laureates of the competition (amounts as awarded in the 2015 violin competition):[8]

  • First prize, International Queen Elisabeth Grand Prize – Prize of the patron Queen (as of 2015: Queen Mathilde Prize): 25,000 euro, numerous concerts, recording on CD; for the violin competition also: loan of the 'Huggins' Stradivarius violin from the Nippon Music Foundation until the next violin competition.
  • Second Prize, Belgian Federal Government Prize: 20,000 euro, concerts, recording on CD
  • Third Prize, Count de Launoit Prize: 17,000 euro, concerts
  • Fourth Prize, Prize awarded alternately by each of the communities of Belgium (2015: awarded by the Government of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels): 12,500 euro, concerts
  • Fifth Prize, Brussels Capital Region Prize: 10,000 euro, concerts
  • Sixth Prize, City of Brussels Prize: 8,000 euro, concerts
  • For the other six laureates, sums donated by the Belgian National Lottery: 4,000 euro each

Laureates[edit]

Competitions for performing musicians have 12 finalists performing as a soloist before a full symphonic orchestra. Originally and until 1993, all finalists became ranked laureates, later only the first six laureates were ranked. The first editions of the competition were dominated by candidates from the USSR: the 1937 violin competition was won by David Oistrakh and the next year Emil Gilels won the piano competition. The piano competition of 1952 and the violin competition of 1955 were the first to see winners from the United States. By the time of the 50th competition in 2012 an increasing number of Asian contestants reached the finals.[2]

Source.[9]

Violin[edit]

Year 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1937 David Oistrakh Ricardo Odnoposoff Elizabeth Gilels Boris Goldstein Marina Kozolupova
1951 Leonid Kogan Mikhail Vayman Elise Cserfalvi Theo Olof Alexei Gorokhov[10]
1955 Berl Senofsky Julian Sitkovetsky Pierre Doukan Francine Dorfeuille-Boussinot Victor Picaizen
1959 Jaime Laredo Albert Markov Joseph Silverstein Vladimir Malinin Boris Kouniev
1963 Aleksey Mikhlin [ru] Semyon Snitkovsky Arnold Steinhardt Zarius Shikhmurzayeva Charles Castleman
1967 Philippe Hirschhorn Stoïka Milanova Gidon Kremer Roman Nodel Hidetaro Suzuki
1971 Miriam Fried Andrey Korsakov Hamao Fujiwara Ana Chumachenco Edith Volckaert
1976 Mikhaïl Bezverkhny Irina Medvedeva Dong-Suk Kang Grigori Zhislin Shizuka Ishikawa
1980 Yuzuko Horigome [jp] Peter Zazofsky Takashi Shimizu Ruriko Tsukahara Mihaela Martin
1985 Hu Nai-yuan Ik-hwan Bae Henry Raudales Hu Kun Mi Kyung Lee
1989 Vadim Repin Akiko Suwanai Evgeny Bushkov Erez Ofer Ulrike-Anima Mathé
1993 Yayoi Toda Liviu Prunaru Keng-Yuen Tseng [zh] Martin Beaver Natalia Prischepenko
1997 Nikolaj Znaider Albrecht Breuninger Kristóf Baráti Andrew Haveron Natsumi Tamai
2001 Baiba Skride Kam Ning Barnabás Kelemen Alina Pogostkin Feng Ning
2005 Sergey Khachatryan Yossif Ivanov [fr] Sophia Jaffé Saeka Matsuyama Mikhail Ovrutsky
2009 Ray Chen Lorenzo Gatto Ilian Gârnet Suyoen Kim Nikita Borisoglebsky
2012 Andrey Baranov Tatsuki Narita Hyun Su Shin Esther Yoo Tseng Yu-Chien
2015[8] Lim Ji-young Oleksii Semenenko William Hagen Tobias Feldmann Stephen Waarts
2019 Stella Chen Timothy Chooi Stephen Kim Shannon Lee Júlia Pusker

Piano[edit]

Year 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1938 Emil Gilels Mary Johnstone (Moura Lympany) Jakov Flier Lance Dossor Nibya Mariño Bellini [es]
1952 Leon Fleisher Karl Engel Maria Tipo Frans Brouw Laurence Davis
1956 Vladimir Ashkenazy John Browning Andrzej Czajkowski Cécile Ousset Lazar Berman
1960 Malcolm Frager Ronald Turini Lee Luvisi Alice Mitchenko Gábor Gabos
1964 Evgeny Mogilevsky Nikolai Petrov Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden Anton Kuerti Richard Syracuse
1968 Ekaterina Novitskaya Valère Kamychov Jeffrey Siegel Semion Kroutchine André De Groote [nl]
1972 Valery Afanassiev Jeffrey Swann Joseph Alfidi David Lively Svetlana Navasardyan
1975 Mikhaïl Faerman Stanislav Igolinsky Youri Egorov Larry Michael Graham Sergueï Iuchkevitch
1978 Abdel Rahman El Bacha Gregory Allen Brigitte Engerer Alan Weiss Douglas Finch
1983 Pierre-Alain Volondat [fr] Wolfgang Manz Boyan Vodenitcharov Daniel Blumenthal Eliane Rodrigues
1987 Andrei Nikolsky Akira Wakabayashi Rolf Plagge Johan Schmidt Ikuyo Nakamichi
1991 Frank Braley Stephen Prutsman Brian Ganz Hae-sun Paik Alexander Melnikov
1995 Markus Groh [fr] Laura Mikkola Giovanni Bellucci Yuliya Gorenman Jong Hwa Park
1999 Vitaly Samoshko Alexander Ghindin Ning An Shai Wosner Roberto Cominati [it]
2003 Severin von Eckardstein Wen-Yu Shen Unawarded after Dong-Hyek Lim refused it[11] Roberto Giordano Kazumasa Matsumoto
2007 Anna Vinnitskaya Plamena Mangova Francesco Piemontesi Ilya Rashkovsky Lim Hyo-Sun
2010 Denis Kozhukhin Evgeni Bozhanov Hannes Minnaar Yury Favorin Kim Tae-Hyung
2013 Boris Giltburg Rémi Geniet Mateusz Borowiak Stanislav Khristenko Zhang Zuo
2016 Lukáš Vondráček Henry Kramer Alexander Beyer Chi-Ho Han Aljosa Jurinic Alberto Ferro
2021 Jonathan Fournel [fr] Sergei Redkin Keigo Mukawa Tomoki Sakata Vitaly Starikov

Voice / Singing[edit]

Year 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1988 Aga Wińska [Wikidata] Jeanette Thompson Huub Claessens [Wikidata] Jacob Will Yvonne Schiffelers [Wikidata]
1992 Thierry Félix [Wikidata] Reginaldo Pinheiro Wendy Hoffman Regina Nathan Cristina Gallardo-Domâs
1996 Stephen Salters [Wikidata] Ana Camelia Ștefănescu [Wikidata] Eleni Matos Mariana Zvetkova [Wikidata] Ray Wade
2000 Marie-Nicole Lemieux Marius Brenciu Olga Pasichnyk Pierre-Yves Pruvot Lubana Al Quntar [Wikidata]
2004 Iwona Sobotka Hélène Guilmette [fr] Shadi Torbey [fr] Teodora Gheorghiu Diana Axentii [fr]
2008 Szabolcs Brickner [Wikidata] Isabelle Druet Bernadetta Grabias [Wikidata] Anna Kasyan Yury Haradzetski
2011 Haeran Hong [Wikidata] Thomas Blondelle [nl] Elena Galitskaya [Wikidata] Anaïk Morel [Wikidata] Konstantin Shushakov [Wikidata]
2014 Sumi Hwang Jodie Devos Sarah Laulan [Wikidata] Yu Shao Hera Hyesang Park
2018 Samuel Hasselhorn [fr] Eva Zaïcik [fr] Ao Li Rocío Pérez Héloïse Mas [fr]

Cello[edit]

Year 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
2017[12] Victor Julien-Laferrière Yuya Okamoto Santiago Cañón [es] Aurélien Pascal Ivan Karizna
2022[13] Choi Ha-young [es][14][15] Chen Yibai Marcel Johannes Kits Oleksiy Shadrin Petar Pejcic

Composition[edit]

The first international Queen Elisabeth Competition for composition was held in 1953. Composition competitions had less laureates or finalists, with usually only the winners who see their winning piece performed in the final of the competitions for instrumentalists receiving broad media attention.[16]

Year Category 1st Work
1953 Composition for symphony orchestra Michał Spisak Serenade
1957 Composition for symphony orchestra Orazio Fiume [it] Concerto per orchestra
Composition for chamber orchestra Michał Spisak Concerto giocoso
1961 Composition for symphony orchestra Albert Delvaux [da; fr; ru] Sinfonia burlesca
Composition for chamber orchestra Giorgio Cambissa [fr] Concerto per ochestra da camera n. 3
1965 Composition for symphony orchestra Rudolf Brucci Synfonia lesta
Composition for violin and orchestra Wilhelm Georg Berger Concert
1969 Composition for symphony orchestra Nicolae Beloiu [fr] Symphonie en deux mouvements
Composition for piano and orchestra Ray E. Luke [nl] Concerto for piano
1977 Composition for symphony orchestra Hiro Fujikake Rope Crest
Composition for string quartet Akira Nishimura Heterophony
1982 Composition for symphony orchestra John Weeks [fr] Five Litanies for Orchestra
1991 Composition Tristan-Patrice Challulau Ne la città dolente
1993 Composition Piet Swerts [nl] Zodiac
1995 Composition John Weeks Requiescat
1997 Composition Hendrik Hofmeyr Raptus
1999 Composition Uljas Pulkkis [fr] Tears of Ludovico
2001 Composition Søren Nils Eichberg Qilaatersorneq
2002 Composition Ian Munro Piano Concerto Dreams
2004 Composition Javier Torres Maldonado Obscuro Etiamtum Lumine
2006 Composition Miguel Gálvez-Taroncher La luna y la muerte
2008 Composition Cho Eun-hwa [de; nl; ru] Agens
2009 Composition Jeon Minje [fr] Target
2011 Composition Kenji Sakai [fr] Concerto pour violon et orchestre
2012 Composition Michel Petrossian In the wake of Ea pour piano et orchestre

Media coverage and prizes awarded by audiences[edit]

The competition was covered on the Belgian radio from its first edition, the press writing about contestants and their performances. Broadcasting via television expanded in the 1960s. French-language and Dutch-language Belgian broadcasting organizations started to award prizes based on the preferences of their audiences from 1975 and 1991 respectively. Abdel Rahman El Bacha, Pierre-Alain Volondat, Severin von Eckardstein and Denis Kozhukhin were among the few contestants that were as convincing to the competition jury as to the general audience. Recorded performances were commercialised from 1967. In the 21st century recordings of the competitors' performances were streamed live on the internet and/or made available as video or audio downloads, followed by social media discussions.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "In 2017 eerste Koningin Elisabethwedstrijd voor cello" in De Standaard, 19 January 2015
  2. ^ a b c d e f g All competitions Archived 6 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine at Queen Elisabeth Competition website
  3. ^ Queen Elisabeth Competition – Brussels Archived 14 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine at the World Federation of International Music Competitions website
  4. ^ a b "1937 and 1938" Archived 7 December 2019 at the Wayback Machine at Queen Elisabeth Competition website
  5. ^ "1951: a new departure" Archived 7 December 2019 at the Wayback Machine at Queen Elisabeth Competition website
  6. ^ CELLO 2017 – Presentation Archived 8 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine at Queen Elisabeth Competition website
  7. ^ The 2020 Piano Competition is postponed to May 2021 at Queen Elisabeth Competition website
  8. ^ a b VIOLIN 2015 – Prizes Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine at Queen Elisabeth Competition website
  9. ^ "List of Laureates of the Queen Elisabeth Competition". concoursreineelisabeth.be. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  10. ^ Alexei Gorokhov Archived 7 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine at Queen Elisabeth Competition website
  11. ^ "Koreaanse pianist weigert prijs" in De Standaard, 11 June 2003
  12. ^ Victor Julien-Laferrière wins the first cello competition ! Archived 4 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine at Queen Elisabeth Competition website (4 June 2017)
  13. ^ 2022 Queen Elisabeth Competition
  14. ^ Ga-young, Park (6 June 2022). "Cellist Choi Ha-young wins prestigious Queen Elisabeth competition". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  15. ^ "Hayoung Choi wins 2022 Queen Elisabeth Cello Competition". The Strad. 6 June 2022. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  16. ^ "Compulsory works and composition competitions" Archived 7 December 2019 at the Wayback Machine at Queen Elisabeth Competition website
  17. ^ "Media" Archived 7 December 2019 at the Wayback Machine at Queen Elisabeth Competition website

External links[edit]