News Wednesday, October 31st 2012
On October 29th, 2012 the arts and culture brand Montblanc honoured the 27-year-old Hungaria cellist, István Várdai, with Prix Montblanc during a splendid gala in the “Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt” in Berlin.
Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin © Montblanc
Celebrating the Prix Montblanc 2012
The young musician István Várdai received the Prix Montblanc, endowed with EUR 10.000 as well as the Montblanc Donation Pen Johannes Brahms during a splendid gala concert by the Philharmonia of the Nations under the musical direction of Prof. Justus Frantz. The patronising award was handed over by Lutz Bethge, CEO Montblanc International, and the Prix Montblanc jury, comprising Prof. Justus Frantz, Prof. Li Biao, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Christ and Mischa Maisky. Montblanc has been delighted that international star cellist Mischa Maisky joined this year’s jury and the award ceremony. Mischa Maisky is one of the most significant cellists of our time who has made guest appearances on all the major international concert stages and a vast number of exceptional recordings.
Prix Montblanc Winner 2012 – István Várdai
With his 27 years, the Hungarian cellist István Várdai can already look back on great success story winning several awards in numerous international competitions such as the International Johannes Brahms Competition in Pörtschach, Austria, in 2006 and the 63rd Geneva International Music Competition. After winning this prestigious prize he earned numerous musical commitments between 2009 and 2011.
In 1997, Várdai was admitted to the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest where he was taught by László Mezö, and in 2005 progressed to the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna to study with Reinhard Latzko. His other cello teachers included Natalia Gutman, Janos Starker and Frans Helmerson. Since his debut in The Hague in 1998, Várdai has performed in London, Florence, Prague, Kobe, Frankfurt, Moscow, Munich, St. Petersburg, New York and China. Accompanied by numerous Hungarian and international orchestras, such as the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra, the Pécs Philharmonic Orchestra, and went on tour with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, he has interpreted almost all of the major cello concertos. Since October 2010, István Várdai has been a student at the Kronberg Academy under the tuition of Frans Helmerson.
Prix Montblanc – honouring emerging talents
Since 2006, Montblanc has been awarding the Prix Montblanc to emerging talents. Every year, a jury of experts chooses an upcoming artist to receive the award, which is endowed with 10,000 Euro and the Montblanc Donation Pen – a remarkable fountain pen edition, which honours renowned personalities in the world of classical music, coevally serving to promote new cultural and artistic projects.
The first musician to be awarded the Prix Montblanc was Tianwa Yang, named by the Detroit News as “the most important new violinist to come on the scene in many a year”. In 2007, the jury chaired by Hélène Grimaud awarded the prize to pianist Natasha Paremski. The Russian musician has since performed on all the major concert stages across America, Europe and Asia. In 2008, Joshua Bell and his jury awarded the prize to violinist Alina Ibragimova, who according to The Times was “destined to be a force in the classical music firmament for decades to come”. Pianist Nikolai Tokarev, “one of the most remarkable young artists on the big international concert platforms” (Frankfurter Rundschau), was honoured with the Prix Montblanc in 2009, and in 2010, 13-year-old child prodigy Zhang Shengliang from China, nicknamed Niu Niu (“little ox”), was presented with the award as a future star pianist in the world of classical music. Armenian violinist Sergey Khachatryan was honoured with the award in 2011. This multi-award-winning musician had already performed with the world’s most renowned orchestras and captivated audiences worldwide. ■