Brahms Piano Competition Detmold 2021

Jonas Aumiller wins the international Brahms Piano Competition Detmold

Outstanding level of performance and many attractive follow-up concerts

The third international Brahms Piano Competition Detmold has a deserving winner: Jonas Aumiller thrilled the numerous audience and the jury at the live-streamed final with Brahms’ 1st Piano Concerto, accompanied by the Northwest German Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Florian Ludwig.  The 23-year-old German has already won several other competitions and is currently studying with Sergey Babayan in the USA. He proved his outstanding talent in all four rounds of the competition. “His playing combines structural intelligence, sublime sound control and deep emotionality,” said Prof. Jacob Leuschner, artistic director of the competition. “Such a winner is a credit to the Brahms Competition.” In addition to the prize money of 5,000 euros and a CD production with the Erich Thienhaus Institute, many attractive prizewinner concerts await Jonas Aumiller, including the “Stars of Tomorrow” series in the historic Ancestral Hall of Corvey Castle, the Böblingen Pianists’ Festival and the Bagno Concert Gallery Steinfurt. The young pianist will furthermore perform Amy Beach’s Piano Concerto with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the City of Gießen under the direction of Florian Ludwig in the upcoming season.

The other prizewinners also demonstrated the extremely high level of performance at this year’s competition, for which 70 pianists from 20 countries had registered, 30 of whom were invited to Detmold. This time, all finalists had chosen Brahms’ 1st Piano Concerto.  The second prize (3,000 euros) as well as the special prize of the university’s foundation (1,000 euros) for the best interpretation of a work of classical modernism went to the only 20-year-old Russian Matvey Shumkov, who is studying at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory.  He proved to be a distinctly lyrical talent with a sensitive sense of sound and a tendency towards dreamy, introverted music-making. The third prize (2,000 euros) was won by the Japanese Teppei Kuroda, who is currently studying in Detmold, with a very serious, sometimes edgy, pianistically impeccable interpretation of the concerto.  In view of the fact that another outstanding participant only failed to make it to the final by a hair’s breadth, the jury decided to take the generous step of awarding a special jury prize of 600 euros from its own funds, which went to Yi-Ting Tsai from Taiwan. Interesting follow-up concerts also await these three other prizewinners. Matvey Shumkov will give a piano recital on the historic Blüthner grand piano in the Festival Hall of Moritzburg Castle in Detmold’s partner city Zeitz and, like Jonas Aumiller, will perform in the Thürmer Hall in Bochum. While Yi-Ting Tsai has been engaged by Konzertdirektion Koltun for a piano recital, Teppei Kuroda will perform in two concert series staged by Julius Blüthner Pianofortefabrik. The latter was once again a cooperation partner of Detmold University of Music and a main sponsor of the competition together with the Alfred Reinhold Foundation.

Both participants and the jury were unanimous in their enthusiastic praise for the Blüthner concert grand piano provided for the competition. With its richly coloured, carrying sound, it seemed tailor-made for the music of Brahms. Compared to the instruments used in previous competition years, numerous constructive modifications have resulted in considerable improvements in sound and playing style.

The international jury was also unanimous in its assessment of the outstanding overall quality of the competition, which has now definitely found its place in the canon of important international piano competitions. This year’s jury consisted of Young-Lan Han (Seoul), Catherine Vickers (Essen), Ivan Klánský (Prague), Einar Steen-Nøkleberg (Oslo), Jacob Leuschner (Detmold) and in the final additionally the conductor Florian Ludwig (Detmold) and Henri Sigfridsson (Essen).

The next Brahms Piano Competition Detmold will take place in September 2024.

Impressions from the final