Pablo Casals International Award for Young Cellists 2020
Supporting young cellists since 1984
The Pablo Casals Foundation set up the Pablo Casals International Award for Young Cellists thirty-six years ago to help talented young people to broaden their musical studies and to perfect their technique and performance skills by training with leading teachers. More than fifty young cellists have received the support of the Foundation throughout its history to become an important network of quality ambassadors of Pablo Casals’ living musical legacy.
This year’s 2020 edition of the Pablo Casals International Award for Young Cellists is open to candidates from around the world. The Award consists of three prizes for improved studies of 18,000 euros, 12,000 euros and 6,000 euros respectively. The Pablo Casals Foundation also offers artistic promotion and advice to the winners. An internationally renowned jury chaired by Marta Casals is in charge of examining the candidatures, selecting the finalists and choosing the winners.
Winners of the award in 2020
In the last edition of the Award, which took place in 2020, Xuanhan Xu (China) won the First Prize, Petar Pejčić (Serbia) the AENA Special Prize and Felix Brunnenkant (Germany) the Third Prize.
The jury also awarded honorable mentions to the other finalists: Raffaella Cardaropoli (Italy), Tzu-Shao Chao (Taiwan), Jeremias Fliedl (Austria), Miquel Keenan Fuentes Bock (USA), Benjamin Kruithof (Luxembourg), Joseph Pritchard (UK) and Till Schuler (Germany).
Xuanhan XuStudent at Hochschule für Musik Saar (Germany). Born in Hangzhou, China, in 2004, she began playing the piano at the age of five and the cello at the age of eight. She continued her studies in Germany at the age of 13 and is currently studying there at the Hochschule für Musik Saar in Saarbrücken under Gustav Rivinius. She performed with the National Centre of Performing Arts Orchestra in Beijing in 2017, becoming the youngest cellist to perform at that venue, and has performed with other international orchestras in both Asia and Europe.
Xuanhan Xu (China)
Hochschule für Musik Saar (Germany)
Petar PejčićStudent at HMT Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (Germany). Born in Leskovac, Serbia, in 2002, he started playing the cello at the age of four and gave his first concert in Belgrade at the age of nine. He won his first competition in 2008 and has since won various other international competitions, including third prize in the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Berlin and second prize in the Anna Kull International Competition in Graz. He has given solo concerts and also performed with such orchestras as the Belgrade Chamber Orchestra and Belgrade Radio Symphony Orchestra. He is currently studying at the HMT Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Leipzig under Peter Bruns.
AENA Special Prize
Petar Pejčić (Serbia)
HMT Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (Germany)
Felix BrunnenkantStudent at Vorarlberger Landeskonservatorium (Austria). Born in Überlingen, Germany, in 2001, he is studying cello at the Vorarlberger Landeskonservatorium, Austria, under Professor Mathias Johansen and has performed Elgar’s Concerto with the Vorarlberger Landeskonservatorium Orchestra and at the Saint-Saëns Concertoin Tonhalle in Düsseldorf and Graf-Zeppellin-Haus. He won the first prize in cello at the Jugend musiziert competition in Germany in 2019.
Felix Brunnenkant (Germany)
Vorarlberger Landeskonservatorium (Austria)
Raffaella CardaropoliStudent at Barenboim-Said Akademie (Berlin). Born in Mercato San Severino, Italy, in 1999, she started playing the cello at the age of seven. She has performed in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Malta, Austria and Spain, among other countries, and has won several competitions, such as the Abbado Prize, Antonio Janigro Cello Competition, as well as auditions at the Santa Cecilia Academy. She is currently studying at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin under Professor Frans Helmerson.
Tzu-Shao ChaoStudent at Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (Germany). Born in Changhua, Taiwan, in 2001, he began playing the cello at the age of four and has participated in several competitions in Asia and Europe, including the Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. He has been studying at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln in Germany under Professor Maria Kliegel since 2018 and has participated in several masterclasses with renowned cellists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Reiner Ginzel and Marion Feldmann.
Jeremias FliedlStudent at Universität Mozarteum Salzburg (Austria). Born in Klagenfurt, Austria, in 1999, he is studying at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, Austria, under Professor Clemens Hagen. He has performed in various chamber music concerts and has also been a soloist with the Zagreb Orchestra and Carinthian Symphony Orchestra, among others. He won the Liezen International Cello Competition in 2012 and the Svirél in Slovenia and Antonio Janigro Cello Competition in Croatia in 2014.
Miquel Keenan Fuentes BockStudent at Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu (Spain) Born in Holland, USA, in 1999, he is currently studying at the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu in Barcelona under Professor Amparo Lacruz. He had previously studied at the Meadowmount School of Music and has performed with the Interlochen Orchestra, as well as at the Lincoln Centre’s Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse and Hope College Annual Concerto-Aria Competition.
Benjamin KruithofStudent at Universität der Künste Berlin (Germany). Born in Moestroff, Luxembourg, in 1999, he began studying cello at the age of five and performed his first concert with the Northern Youth Orchestra of Luxembourg at the age of 12. He has won several competitions, such as the Knopf Competition, Leopold Bellan International Competition in Paris and Gabrielli Competition in Berlin. He has performed in various countries and attended such masterclasses as the Cello Meisterkurse at the Kronberg Academy. He is currently studying at the Universität der Künste in Berlin under Jens-Peter Maintz.
Joseph PritchardStudent at Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” (Germany). Born in Frome, UK, in 1999, he is studying at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler under Professor Nicolas Altsaedt. He has won several competitions, such as the Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Competition, and has participated in several masterclasses across Europe. He has performed regularly as a soloist at Menuhin Hall, among others, and was a member of the UK’s National Youth Orchestra.
Till SchulerStudent at Hochschule für Musik und Theather Hamburg (Germany). Born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2000, he is currently studying at the Hochschule für Musik und Theather Hamburg under Professor Sebastian Klinger. He has won several international competitions, including the Antonio Janigro Junior International Cello Competition in 2020, and has been a soloist in orchestras and chamber ensembles and next year will be a soloist with the Neue Philarmonie München.
Over fifty cellists have received the support of the Pablo Casals Foundation
A great number of cellists have been able to participate throughout the history of the Award and over fifty have received the support of the Pablo Casals Foundation, including such leading musicians as Arnau Tomàs, Damià Martínez, Laia Puig, Pau Codina, Pablo Ferrández, Mariona Camats, Carla Conangla and Johannes Gray.
The winners of past editions of the Award have become ambassadors of the Pau Casals Foundation and have helped to raise awareness of and disseminate Pablo Casals’ artistic, cultural and human legacy.
Winner ex aequo
Carla Conangla Oliveras
Mariona Camats Torrents
Alfredo Ferre Martínez
Pablo Pérez Martínez
Pablo Ferrández Castro
What are the terms and conditions for participation?
Are you a young cellist and want to further your studies of the instrument? Participate in the Pablo Casals International Award for Young Cellists 2020 and make the most of the opportunity to continue your studies with leading teachers.
All cellists who meet the following requirements are eligible for the Pablo Casals International Award for Young Cellists:
- Students who have been admitted to or are studying a higher degree of music (cello).
- Cello students of any nationality born after 31 December 1998.
- Applicants cannot have been winners in previous editions of the Pablo Casals International Award.
How can I register for the competition call of the Award?
Registering and presenting the corresponding documentation must be done through an online form. We recommend that you carefully consult the rules of the Award’s competition call in order to understand its terms and conditions and prepare all the required documentation.
The cost for registering for the Award is 20 euros and payment can be made by card or bank transfer.
What is the timeline of the Pablo Casals International Award 2020?
The timeline of this edition of the Pablo Casals International Award for Young Cellists is as follows:
- Deadline for registration and submission of documents: until midnight (CET) on 13 July 2020.
- Communicating the decision of candidates and finalists: from 25 September 2020.
- Final audition and jury verdict of the Pablo Casals International Award: 20 November 2020 at the Pau Casals Municipal School of Music in El Vendrell (Tarragona).
Prizes and promotion
The Pablo Casals International Award is one of the most renowned international competitions for young cellists and consists of three winning prizes:
- First Prize – 18,000 euros
- AENA Special Prize – 12,000 euros
- Third Prize – 6,000 euros
In addition to these financial prizes, the winners will have the opportunity to participate in the concerts organised by the Pablo Casals Foundation and receive advice on developing their professional and artistic careers.
Frequently asked questions
Do you have any questions or doubts about the competition call of the Pablo Casals International Award for Young Cellists 2020? Consult the frequently asked questions here.
The jury of the Pablo Casals International Award for Young Cellists is appointed by the Foundation, chaired by Marta Casals Istomin and comprises musicians of international renown. The jury members have extensive experience as professional performers, senior teachers and jury members of other international competitions. The jury is responsible for examining the applications, selecting the finalists and choosing the winners.
The jury for the 2020 edition comprises the renowned cellists Claudio Bohórquez, Gustav Rivinius, Henri Demarquette, and Arnau Tomás, as well as Bernard Meillat, artistic adviser to the Pau Casals Foundation and jury secretary.
Marta Casals IstominMarta Casals Istomin was born into a family of musicians in Puerto Rico. After commencing her music studies in Puerto Rico, she obtained a scholarship to study cello at the Mannes School of Music in New York. She was married to Pablo Casals from 1957 to 1973 and the American pianist Eugene Istomin from 1975 to 2003.
She taught cello at the Puerto Rico Conservatory and was guest professor at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Marta Casals was the artistic director of the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC from 1980 to 1981. She was president of the Manhattan School of Music in New York from 1992 to 2005, managing director of Evian Musical Encounters from 1990 to 1997 and member of the National Council on the Arts from 1990 to 1997.
In addition to her duties in the Pablo Casals Foundation, Marta Casals Istomin is involved in the boards of the main cultural institutions of Puerto Rico, the Marlboro Festival, Manhattan School of Music, Kronberg Academy and Nippon Music Foundation.
The governments of Spain, France, Germany and Catalonia have decorated her with the most prestigious civil distinctions and she received the Living Legend Award from the Library of Congress in Washington DC in 2015.
Claudio BohórquezThe German-born cellist of Peruvian-Uruguayan descent is one of the most sought-after musicians in his field. He achieved success at an early age at international competitions such as the Tchaikovsky Youth Competition in Moscow and the Rostropovich Cello Competition in Paris. He has become a teacher himself: from 2011 to 2016 he was professor at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart, in September 2016 he was appointed to the Hochschule fürMusik "Hanns Eisler" Berlin, where he has been a guest professor since 2003.
Among others, Claudio Bohórquez has performed with almost all German radio orchestras, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Wiener Symphoniker, the Orchestre de Paris and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.
He has worked with renowned conductors that include Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, Manfred Honeck, Sir Neville Marriner, among others.
Claudio Bohórquez is also a guest at numerous festivals. Among them are the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, the City of London Festival, the Penderecki Festival in Warsaw and the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival.
Since season 2017/18 Claudio Bohórquez is Artistic Director of the Festival Winnenden.
Claudio Bohórquez plays a G. B. Rogeri violoncello presented to him by the Landeskreditbank Baden-Württemberg.
Henri DemarquetteAs a young, brilliant musician Henri Demarquette attended the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique in Paris at the age of thirteen and studied with Philippe Muller and Maurice Gendron. His talent was quickly noticed, and he was unanimously awarded a first prize which lead him to work with Pierre Fournier and Paul Tortelier in Paris, and Janos Starker in Bloomington, USA.
His career then takes an international turn and he is invited to perform across the world with some of the greatest French and international orchestras: most recently Orchestre National de France, London Philharmonic, Weiner KammerOrchester, Ensemble Orchestral De Paris, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. He also appears with his favourite piano-partners Boris Berezovsky, Michel Dalberto, Jean-Bernard Pommier, Fabrizio Chiovetta, Vanessa Benelli Mosell and Jean-Frédéric Neuburger. In 2015 he co-founded a string quartet with Augustin Dumay, Svetlin Roussev, and Miguel da Silva.
His performance of Henri Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain concerto with Musikalische Akademie des Nationaltheater-Orchesters Mannheim under Frédéric Chaslin and was filmed by France Europe Média in 2016.
Henri Demarquette plays the "le Vaslin” cello, manufactured by Stradivarius in 1725 and lent by LVMH/ Moët Henessy Louis Vuitton, with a Persois bow dated 1820.
Gustav RiviniusGustav Rivinius is the first and only German musician to be awarded a first prize Gold Medal at the 1990 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Among the many high points of an illustrious career, Gustav Rivinius has performed with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, orchestras of Lisbon, Toulouse, Lyon, the Helsinki Philharmonic, and the Swedish Radio Orchestra among others.
Along with his solo work, Gustav Rivinius has a passion for chamber music. Having been born into a large musical family, he plays regularly alongside his brothers in the Rivinius Piano Quartet.
He also founded the Gasparo da Saló Trio, the Arkas Trio, the Bartholdy String Quintet, and the Tammuz Piano Quartet.
Gustav Rivinius is a professor at the HFM University of Music in Saarbrucken (Germany) where he oversees a highly successful cello class. He also teaches at the Conservatorium Maastricht (The Netherlands) from autumn 2014 and at a number of master courses annually, including at the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival. In addition, he is a sought-after juror at major music competitions and sat on the jury at the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
Arnau TomàsBorn in Barcelona, Arnau Tomàs is recognized as one of the most versatile cellists of his generation, combining solo with numerous chamber music projects. He is the founder of the Cuarteto Casals and the Ludwig Trio.
Prize Winner of several National and International Competitions, Arnau Tomàs gave various cello recitals and appeared as a soloist with Orchestras such as the Orquesta de Radiotelevisión Española, Sinfónica de Tenerife, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia and Orquesta Sinfónica de Barcelona y Nacional de Cataluña, among others.
Arnau Tomàs has compiled a substantial and extensive discography with repertoire ranging from the Baroque Period until 20th century, with more than 15 CDs. Especially remarkable are his recordings of the Bach Suites (2014) and the sonatas and variations by Beethoven (2016), in both cases he used historical bows of the composition’s period.
In addition to his concert activities, Arnau Tomàs has been guest professor at the Hochschule für Musik Köln and has given various masterclasses and courses both in Europe as well as the United States. Since 2019 he is chamber music professor at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.
Bernard MeillatA musicologist and journalist specialising in classical music who was born in Paris. Trained as a pianist, he has had a long professional career focused on communicating and disseminating music in various European reference media. He is a specialist in and great connoisseur of Pablo Casals’ work and has been developing a research and preservation project of the works and recordings of maestro Pablo Casals since the early 1990s.
In 1991, he was appointed director of the French classical music radio station Radio Classique, increasing its general audience share and promoting a new policy of openness in order to reach new publics with top quality musical programming. In 2005, he took over the management of Musiq3, the classical radio station of RTBF (Belgian public broadcaster for the French-speaking community). Among other responsibilities, he is a member of various juries and collaborates with a number of international institutions and festivals.
He is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Pablo Casals Foundation and has been the artistic director of the Festival Internacional de Música Pau Casals del Vendrell.