With its growing reputation at the pinnacle of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world The Monte Carlo Piano Masters Competition has overcome the obstacle course presented by the Covid epidemic. Monte Carlo and the Salle Garnier has prevailed.
Playing the piano at the level of genius may not daunt any of the competitors but getting to Monaco in this special era of constrained international travel has been a touch unnerving for many of the competitors. And the lack of Asian pianists this year was noticeable, though the standard of the finalists remained dazzling.
The Monte Carlo competition is reserved for finalists of international competitions, who competed here for the single award – the Prince Rainier III Prize, worth €30,000. And after audition rounds around the world, some taking place in private quarters due to Covid, the selected competitors got to compete in three rounds in Monte Carlo from June 16th to June 19th.
Over 20 extremely talented artists, many of whom have gone on to enjoy brilliant international careers, have already won the Monte-Carlo Piano Masters, including Italian pianists Giovanni Bellucci and Maurizio Baglini, Armenia’s Vardan Mamikonian, Bulgaria’s Ludmil Angelov, Russia’s Natalia Troull, Roustem Saïtkoulov and Vladimir Sverdlov.
Joining them in 2021 was to be one of the final four competitors, culled from the initial group of 11, at Salle Garnier, two of whom were Russian: Nikolai Kuznetzov and Alexandre Panfilov. Challenging them was an American Henry Kramer, who overcame jet lag and a “white night” to perform. And a Frenchman Josquin Otal also made the cut and gave locals much to applause too.
The jury, of course, was replete with great pianists; among them the American Nicholas Angelich, the Irishman Barry Douglas, the Lithuanian Muza Rubackyte and Didier Cotignies of the famed Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, to name a few.
And in the finale it was a Russian genius pianist that prevailed.
MONTE-CARLO PIANO MASTERS 2021
Prize Prince Rainier III
WINNER: NIKOLAI KUZNETSOV
Here is the list of concerti that the 11 competitors had to choose from this year:
Concerto in E Minor by Chopin
Concerto in F Minor by Chopin
Concerto in A minor by Schumann
Concerto in A minor by Grieg
Fantaisie Hongroise by Liszt
Totentanz by Liszt
Piano concerto (Concerto en Sol) by Ravel