International Competition for Young Flutists

The German Flute Society Starts a New Generation Project

For more than 30 years, the German Flute Society has been initiating projects for the promotion of young musical talent in the cultural land of Germany, especially for the flute instrument.

The orchestra landscape in Germany is regarded as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity and is unique in its density and diversity. About half of all opera houses in the world are in Germany and an estimated seven million people play music in their free time. There is a huge potential for musical pleasure and motivation. For this reason, the German Society for Flute (DGfF) has organized a competition for the promotion of young talent in Germany for the first time. On 9th and 10th June 2018, the International Competition for Young Flutists took place in Wetzlar an der Lahn. With almost 60 participants from all over the world, who played at an above-average level of playing, the competition was a complete success. The young flutists aged between 12 and 21 years came from Germany, Austria, Sweden, Poland, Italy, China, Russia, Ukraine and Switzerland.

Many of the participants had taken adventurous and long journeys to compete in this competition. The small dreamy Goethe town Wetzlar an der Lahn bursting at the seams on this summery warm weekend. Almost all accommodations were fully booked to accommodate the large number of participants, including their families and teachers. Wetzlar was in flute fever for 48 hours! It was exciting! Not only for the participants, but also for the international 6-member jury, who listened very attentively to the 60 participants for two full days to give each individual an individual feedback at the end of the evaluation days. The jury: Lars Asbjørnsen, Germany / Norway; Britta Bauer, Austria; Qiling Chen, Switzerland / China; Ewa Murawska, Poland; Carina Vogel, Germany; Ruth Wentorf, Germany;

The flutists divided into 3 age groups were able to present themselves in 2 rounds with their elaborated works. Some participants had brought their own pianists, often even mother or father, who accompanied the piano. The German Society for Flute also engaged two excellent professional accompanists for the competition: Patrycja Chalupnik from Lodz, Poland and Seoung-eun Cha from the Musikhochschule Mannheim. The two pianists offered true high-performance work on the weekend! The scoring games were well attended and the guests were able to experience a very demanding flutistic level in all age groups.

But what would a competition be without prices! Recognition of the performance shown is precious, and such a project needs expert support. We are very glad and grateful to have generous sponsors as partners in the background: Harry Gosse, Flute Builders Neureiter from Tyrol, Music Bertram in Freiburg, Viento, AZUMI, Altus, Anton Braun, woodwind instruments Michael Dürk, Nuvo flutes, Breitkopf & Härtel, music publisher Doblinger, Flutissimo, Universal Edition (UE) Vienna, Jupiter and the educational anchor Switzerland. With generous donations, donations and music vouchers, it was possible to reward the winners of the competition in a more congenial way.

The winners:

Age group I (12-14 years):
1st Prize: Zofia Plaziuk, Poland
1st Prize: Yaroslav Vodovozov, Ukraine
2nd Prize: Nina Podkościelna, Poland
2nd Prize: Nane Schulz, Germany
3rd prize: Matilde Navarri, Germany

Age group II (15-17 years):
1st Prize: Cristian Lombardi, Italy
2nd prize: Kelar Frank, Germany
2nd Prize: Viktor Petroff Miranda, Germany
3rd prize: Su Huilin, China
3rd prize: Ye Yanghan, China

Age III (18-21 years):
2nd Prize: Karolina Karczewska, Poland
3rd prize: Anna Berezina, Russia

Fabian Johannes Egger received the special prize “Young Talent” for his outstanding achievements, although at the age of 11 he was still under the age limit of the competition. All first winners and special prize winners are invited to take part in the “Flute Days” on 12th and 13th January 2019 at the Musikhochschule in Munich, which the DGfF organizes on the occasion of the 90th birthday of Peter Lukas Graf, to present once again. They will also be heard in a concert of “Rising Stars” at the International Flute Festival 2020. In addition, interested readers will find them in the upcoming issues of “flute aktuell” presented in a portrait.

The goal of every competition is of course a performance comparison. The weekend in Wetzlar was not just about giving the young musicians a platform to show their achievements, but also about networking, talking to each other, making contacts and getting new input from the world of music. Against this background, we would like to sincerely thank our exhibitors Flutissimo (Bernd Wysk with his team), Viento, Altus, Nuvo and AZUMI, who have been invited to try out and test new sounds with a fabulous flute exhibition and to encourage and enrich the competition with an inspiring accompanying programme.

Another highlight was undoubtedly the flute orchestra conducted by Elisabeth Weinzierl (Musikhochschule München)! There was a rehearsal between the scoring games over two days. A big thank you goes to Elisbeth Weinzierl, who has made the great experience with pedagogical skills possible to make music together with 60 young people in the orchestra from all over the world. The historical building of the music school in the middle of the romantically dreamy Wetzlar offered an atmospheric setting for this flute weekend. In the building from the 18th century the rooms are scarce and so it was a logistical masterstroke to generate a working plan for rehearsal - play - in and evaluation times. A big thank you to Anna-Denise Rheinländer and Leonie Janka for the organisational management.

The flute weekend in Wetzlar, which was extremely hot and exciting from the temperatures, reached its peak with the award ceremony on Sunday afternoon. The flute orchestra under the direction of Elisabeth Weinzierl has framed the award ceremony and selected award winners were once again able to present their winning pieces at the closing concert moderated by the chair of DGfF Ruth Wentorf. The first International Competition for Young Flutists, organized by the German Flute Society , was a great success in retrospect, and it wants to continue. The competition will be held as a biennale and we look forward to seeing you again in 2020!

Text: Britta Bauer
Board member of the DGfF