OUR PRIZE WINNERS
Sào Soulez Larivière
The French-Dutch violist Sào Soulez Larivière convinced and touched the jury equally with his virtuoso playing and his outstanding concept under the title "Impression". Inspired by the colors, timelessness and dreaminess of Impressionism, especially Claude Monet's work "Soleil levant", the winning concept brings music, art and literature together in a unique way. Fascinated by the connection between the different art forms, Sáo gets to the bottom of the mutual influence they have on each other. With works by Rebecca Clarke, Paul Hindemith and Tōru Takemitsu, among others, he not only explores the limits of the viola's repertoire, but also transcribes pieces that were not originally written for the instrument. The 22-year-old currently lives in Berlin and studies at the Hochschule für Musik 'Hanns Eisler' with Professor Tabea Zimmermann, who also nominated him as a patron for the Fanny Mendelssohn Förderpreis.
The jury of the Fanny Mendelssohn Förderpreis unanimously selected the French flutist, Joséphine Olech. She impressed not only with her innovative concept but also with her virtuoso play and her natural personality. With “Reconnect Nature and the Modern Man” she gets to the bottom of the complex relationship between humans and nature. This is examined from three perspectives:
contemplation – communion – appropriation. Finally, the question is asked whether people will be able to find "back to nature". "The flute is an ancient symbol for the sounds of nature and is therefore the perfect instrument to reflect on this topic," says Joséphine Olech.
Joséphine has been the first flutist of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra since 2017. She studied at the Conservatoire de Paris (CNSMDP) with Sophie Cherrier and Vincent Lucas and at the Royal Concertgebouw Academy in Amsterdam. She won several awards at international competitions, including she won the Carl Nielsen International Competition.
In the final round in the Composers Quarter in Hamburg, the seven-member jury of the Fanny Mendelssohn Förderpreis unanimously selected the 23 year old trombonist Michael Buchanan from England as winner. He won over the jury, with a highly original program concept in which he showcased the intricate significance of his instrument and the diverse traditional demands put on it. Here, his profound musicianship and the brilliant technical and interpretive mastery of his instrument were on display. "The Many Faces of God" was the title of his composition of works, which will be the basis of the winning prize debut album. This album will be released under the Hamburg label ES-DUR. Michael Buchanan was born in London in 1993. He studied at the University of Cambridge and at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern. He has already played at numerous concerts with leading orchestras and ensembles, e.g., the Deutschen Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the SWR Radio Symphonieorchester.
The seven experts on the Fanny Mendelssohn Förderpreis jury, under the leadership of the music critic Jürgen Kesting, selected Cellist Christoph Heesch in the final round in Hamburg. He not only convinced the jury with his intense and multi-faceted performance, but also through an innovative recording concept for his debut CD. Four works for cello and a chamber orchestra were created by four different composers between1924 and 1925: Ernst Toch, Paul Hindemith, Jacques Ibert and Bohuslav Martinû. The four works share one thing in common, they all call for a greatly reduced orchestra (maximum 12 musicians) a "concentrate of instrumental music." For Christoph Heesch the question arises about the concept of the word "concert" in the period of the "Golden Twenties." It is my intention to consider this question with regard to the works of four fantastic composers from totally different cultural backgrounds, schools and various influences. "This allows us to draw inspiration and ideas for our future from the innovations of our predecessors," is how Heesch described his idea. Born in Berlin in 1995, Christoph Heesch is currently studying at the Universität der Künste Berlin under Prof. Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, after having been a student of Jens Peter Maintz. He has already received a number of awards at international competitions, was a semifinalist at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2017, and received a special award for music mediation at the TONALi Competition. The album "The Golden Age: Cello 1925" was realized by GENUIN and released on September 7, 2018.
The third Fanny Mendelssohn Förderpreis was presented on January 1, 2017. The violinist Matthias Well, born in Upper Bavaria in 1993, was not only selected by the seven-member jury for his exceptionally sensitive playing but as well for his authentic recording approach. In this way, he was able to prevail against the four other finalists in the competition. Matthias Well devotes himself to music stemming from family tradition, played at memorial services and funerals in his early childhood. He took the panel of judges by surprise, showing, among other things, that such music can also be cheerful in honoring the deceased while still offering comfort and solace to the bereaved. In search of the almost entirely forgotten guild of the so-called "Funerary Violinists," Matthias Well encountered funeral music from many different cultures around the world. Much of which he has in the meantime rewritten for violin and accordion. Matthias Well is currently studying at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich and was recommended by the renowned professor of violin, Julia Fischer, who is also his mentor and supporting his application for the Fanny Mendelssohn Förderpreis.
Vera Karner & Dominik Wagner
Building bridges with popular songs. This concept by Vera Karner and Dominik Wagner convinced the high-ranking jury of the Fanny Mendelssohn Sponsorship Award that picked its laureate for the second time on January 30, 2016 on the premises of Edel Records in Hamburg. The award ceremony took place during the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern at Gutshof Groß Siemen on July 7, 2016. Vera Karner and Dominik Wagner: "“Gassenhauer” serves as a basic musical theme for works that make intercultural communication audible. You can find them everywhere, hits and catchy tunes just like in the “Gassenhauer-Trio” by Beethoven, which gave our concept its name – in Europe but also in Syria, Afghanistan or the Ukraine.” Vera and Dominik set out on a search for composers willing to compose a work which combines a piece from the time of the First Viennese School with a catchy tune – a “Gassenhauer” – from their home country. Thirty composers declared themselves willing to participate in the project. They started to implement their musical idea with three of them. As their mentor, Matthias Schorn supported them in their endeavor.
Tamás Pávalfi was the winner of the first Fanny Mendelssohn Förderpreis. This Hungarian trumpeter, who has already received multiple awards, impressed the jury with an enormous virtuosity, his stage presence and an unusual musical concept which can be heard on his debut CD "AGITATO” – works from the baroque era as well as modernist ones by Vivaldi, Telemann, Händel, Ligeti, Kagel and Dubrovay, among others. Pávalfi wants to push the limits not only in terms of the repertoire of the trumpet but also in terms of its playing technique. He accomplishes this by transcribing historical repertoire and championing new composers that he interprets with breathtaking technical skill on “AGITATO”. During the recording of his CD in Budapest he was accompanied by an orchestra rich in tradition, the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. “The award has inspired me to live my musical fantasies,” the young Hungarian says about the Fanny Mendelssohn Förderpreis that was presented to him in September 2015 during the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.