- The jury confirmed the artistic quality displayed, awarding second prize to Alexey Sychev (Russia), while third place was tied between Salome Jordania (Georgia) and Ryutaro Suzuki (Japan), among other prizes.
- Salome Jordania also won three special prizes, while Sychev and Suzuki won prizes worth €2,000 and €1,000 respectively.
- Glòria Tello, the councillor in charge of the Iturbi Prize, affirmed that “we have held a historic event for the 40th anniversary of the Iturbi Prize, which we intend to place among the best in the world.”
- Joaquín Achúcarro, the competition’s artistic director, stated that “we have raised the bar high, but the jury considers that in this new era fostered by Tello, that high bar should be a distinctive hallmark of the Iturbi Prize.”
Valencia, 4th July 2021
The Iturbi Prize, the International Piano Competition of Valencia organized by the Valencia Provincial Government (Diputació de València), announced the winners in the different categories in a gala event presented by the journalist Martín Llade held in Valencia’s Teatro Principal on Saturday. The jury, chaired by Joaquín Achúcarro and made up of Catherine D’Argoubet, Ana Guijarro, Jorge Luis Prats, Menahem Pressler, Didier Schnorhk, Josu de Solaun, Paolo Pinamonti and Barrett Wissman, left the first prize vacant, with second prize going to Alexey Sychev (Russia) and third place awarded to both Salome Jordania (Georgia) and Ryutaro Suzuki (Japan) as a draw.
In this twentieth edition, the jury decided not to award a first prize, as occurred in 1982 and 1992, though they noted the artistic quality displayed by the participants one round after another. The decision shows the high level of excellence demanded by the Iturbi Prize, an exemplary biennial competition in the piano world.
The prizes for this special edition saw an increase of 70% over the previous contest, with a total of €89,000 in cash being earned by the different winners. First prize, which was worth €30,000 plus a record made with IBS Classical, a tour of concerts and a management contract with IMG Artists, had no winner.
The Russian pianist Alexey Sychev won second prize worth €20,000, whereas third prize was tied between the Georgian Salome Jordania and Ryutaro Suzuki from Japan with €10,000, as well as a tour of concerts around Spain and abroad for these awards given by the Valencia Provincial Government (Diputació de València). The finalists Andrei Ivanou (Belarus), Airi Katada (Japan) and Zifan Ye (China) received €5,000 each. Furthermore, the Chinese musician picked up €3,000 for the prize of best finalist, awarded by the Valencia City Council.
Jordania, three more awards
The different special prizes were worth €2,000 and Salome Jordania won three of them for best performance: the prize from Valencia City Council for a piece by Chopin; the one from the Valencia Philharmonic Society for a sonata by Mozart; and the one from Polimúsica worth €1,000, for Imatges, a musical work entrusted to Óscar Colomina to celebrate the Iturbi Prize’s 40th anniversary.
Other awards were worth €2,000, like the prize from the Diputació de València (Valencia Provincial Government) for the best performer of Spanish music, which was won by Antonii Baryshevskyi (Ukraine); the Kawai prize for the performance of a concerto by Beethoven; and the Clemente Pianos audience prize, which the Russian Alexey Sychev took away. The Valencia Institute of Culture (Institut Valencià de Cultura) and the region’s Education, Culture and Sports Department also awarded €5,000 for a tour of concerts around the Valencia Community Region for the first three prizes.
Glòria Tello, the councillor in charge of the Iturbi Prize, head of Culture in Valencia City Council and president of the Palau de la Música concert venue, affirmed that “we have held a historic event for the 40th anniversary of the Iturbi Prize, which we intend to place among the best in the world.” This aim has been bolstered by the pianists, management and the leadership of Achúcarro and the artistic committee with Óscar Oliver (coordinator), Josu de Solaun, Carles Marín and Emma Jiménez, as well as the talent, solvency and prestige of the jury, the competition’s demanding rules and more. Tello points out that “we have put together a great team and are continuing to work to improve and boost this project that has placed Valencia among the international musical panorama.”
Achúcarro, the competition’s artistic director, stated that “we have raised the bar high, but the jury considers that in this new era fostered by Glòria Tello, that high bar should be a distinctive hallmark of the Iturbi Prize.” The renowned Basque concertist, who raised funds on a tour with José Iturbi for those hit by the flood in Valencia of 1957, underlined that “the concerts given by magnificent artists have bordered on a great level,” and he considers “the quality shown to be a success on top of the fact that 178 pianists from 41 countries signed up to an event affected by the COVID-19 virus and coinciding with another five prestigious competitions.”
Boosting artistic careers
For his part, the coordinator and consultant Óscar Oliver explained that “our assessment of this special edition is very positive and in the coming days we will analyze it in greater detail to optimize any aspects and build upon the positive ones in the competition.” Oliver emphasizes “the magnificent opportunity provided by the Iturbi prize for pianists, for whom it opens many doors to auditoriums and calendars to make a qualitative leap and boost their artistic careers”; and he recalls the “uneasiness and uncertainties hanging over the past months, with the pandemic and the competition looming like unsurmountable obstacles. In the end, they weren’t.”
The Iturbi Prize is part of the World Federation of International Music Competitions, an association headquartered in Geneva for competitions in countries on the five continents, including the most prestigious international music competitions in the world. The International Piano Competition of Valencia is also a member of the Alink-Argerich Foundation, which caters to most of the international piano competitions in the world.