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64th International Ferruccio Busoni Piano Competition

From 23 August to 3 September 2023, the final rounds of the 64th International Ferruccio Busoni Piano Competition took place in the South Tyrolean capital of Bolzano and were broadcast from there via livestream all over the world — especially to Japan, Korea and China, where the competition enjoys great popularity. This edition of the competition also saw the addition of a new media partnership with Deutsche Grammophon's classical music streaming service Stage+.

Close cooperation with Steinway & Sons — the Glocal Piano Project

The long-standing cooperation between the Busoni Competition and Steinway & Sons was continued very successfully. The concept of the Glocal Piano Project, already developed in 2020 as a digital solution in times of pandemic, was gladly taken up.

In the summer of 2022, 110 candidates from among the 600 entries were invited to participate in the Glocal Piano Project. Over 10 days in November 2022, the first round of the competition was held in Steinway & Sons showrooms around the world, this time in a hybrid format, unlike in 2020. 20-minute recitals were played in front of an audience on a D-274 concert grand piano, Steinway & Sons' legendary top-of-the-line instrument, and professionally recorded. Watch the contributions here!

The Glocal Piano Project is thus developing more and more into a global-hybrid piano festival, which the Busoni Competition and Steinway & Sons are delighted to host in cooperation.

Best support in Bolzano by Giulio Passadori

For the two-week finals on site in Bolzano, piano technician Giulio Passadori is the heart and soul of the Busoni Piano Competition. Together with his team, he ensures that Steinway & Sons is well represented. Steinway grand pianos are available for practice and there are two D-274 concert grands perfectly prepared by him to choose from for the adjudication concerts.

Arsenii Mun, Anthony Ratinov and Ryota Yamazaki — the winners of the Busoni Competition 2023

Among the 31 participants of the 64th Busoni Competition, three finalists prevailed in the end, who played a brilliant final concert in the so-called Finalissima on 3 September. With his extraordinary stage presence and rousing interpretation of Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paginini, op. 43, Arsenii Mun impressed the jury and was awarded 1st prize. As the jury's decision was unanimous, the Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Prize was awarded to Arsenii Mun simultaneously for the first time in 15 years. And the concert-goers on site saw it the same way and awarded him the audience prize by vote.

Anthony Ratinov won 2nd prize with a wonderful Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 op. 26 and Ryota Yamazaki demonstrated great musicality in Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 op. 23 for 3rd prize.

The 4th prize went to Antonio Chen Guang, the 5th prize to Ron Maxim Huang and the 6th prize to Zitong Wang.

Congratulations — also from Steinway Artist Sergei Babayan

We congratulate all the participants of the Busoni Competition on their impressive participation in the competition and look forward to continuing and strengthening our new-found ties with Steinway & Sons.

Steinway Artist Sergei Babayan, whose student Arsenii Mun is, reports enthusiastically:

“I met Arsenii first when he was about 15 or 16 years old, when he participated in the Verbier Festival academy. The average age there is about 22, so he was notably the youngest. And that year he was awarded the Tabor Foundation Prize, which is given to the most promising student of the Verbier Festival Academy.

I was teaching master classes that year and immediately knew that Arsenii Mun was the most interesting participant, because at his very young age he already could do many things intuitively. His Chopin Mazurkas had something very special. One needs a special gift to feel that special atmosphere of the Mazurkas. This is not something one can teach. A teacher might help to develop and deepen those qualities, discuss colours and rubato, but one cannot instill the mazurka spirit. But ultimately, you are either born with it or not.

Arsenii had this gift already at a very young age and I had a feeling that those exceptional, delicate quality of colours might later develop into something very interesting. I very clearly remember those Mazurkas. They were very important in my decision to take him to my studio, years later when he played for me again. Eventually he became my student at Juilliard School — that's our story.”

Photos: Anna Cerrato

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