At Prague Spring, 103 young oboists and flautists from around the world will be competing
In May, the 71st-annual Prague Spring International Music Competition will take place. 404 young musicians from 49 countries applied to compete on oboe and flute. The results from the preliminary round are now known. Members of the preparatory committee consisting of renowned Czech musicians listened to the submitted recordings and selected contestants invited to Prague in May.
Results of the preliminary round
“This year we chose 48 flautists of the 215 who applied,” says flautist Jiří Válek, a member of the preparatory committee that evaluated recordings of aspiring flautists. “The recordings are heard anonymously; committee members don’t know the names or see the individual candidates. With so many applicants, evaluating them is truly demanding, but because the committee has five members and each member judges independently guarantees, the final result of the scoring is fair”, he adds.
In the preliminary round for the oboe competition, the committee made its selection from 190 recordings from around the world. “The level of quality varied, and judging was difficult”, says the oboist Vladislav Borovka. “Finally, we were able to choose 55 participants from about twenty countries, and we are all looking forward to the May oboe holiday, which is how all of us view the Prague Spring competition.”
When listening to recordings, the committee evaluates not only the players’ technical ability, quality of sound, or intonation, but also their overall musicianship – meaning interpretation, choice of tempo etc. According to Jiří Válek, “Those are characteristics of playing that can be evaluated right away, even during a brief selected passage of a composition.”
The standard of playing of this year’s candidates is again high, and the actual competition in May will show more. “In recent years, and this is not just my opinion, most of the young flautists at competitions have technical skill, sometimes quite breathtaking, more than an ability for natural music making, phrasing, cantilena playing, or adapting their interpretations to various stylistic periods,” complained the flautist Válek. For this reason, the competition programme has been set up so that the young musicians can demonstrate the true breadth of their talents. For the individual rounds, they have to prepare repertoire ranging from the Baroque to a contemporary work composed especially for the Prague Spring competition. In the finals, in addition to playing a solo concerto with orchestra, the flautists will be required to play Rejcha’s flute quartet, which they will rehearse with the Bennewitz Quartet. Besides their skill as players, they will be demonstrating the ability to communicate their musical ideas to the other musicians, an ability of absolutely fundamental importance for playing in chamber music groups.
The competition will take place between 7 and 14 May 2019, and the finals will be accompanied by the Prague Philharmonia and the Chamber Orchestra of the Prague Symphony Orchestra in the Dvořák Hall at the Rudolfinum. All rounds are open to the public, and tickets are already being sold.
For the complete results of the preliminary round, click here.