Concertino at Concertino
The votes have been tallied and checked. The results of the 57th year of Concertino Praga – the Antonín Dvořák International Radio Competition for Young Musicians are in, the press releases have been written and the laureates are thinking about how to spend their study scholarships and other benefits. And they have also completed two weeks full of experiences.
The idea of adding joint concerts for the finalists of the Concertino Praga competition held at the castles and chateaux of South Bohemia came about two years after the inception of the competition. This decision, originally also motivated by an effort to enhance the extensive archive with recordings of future famous artists, was a fortuitous one. The Concertina Praga South Bohemian Festival is not merely a series of concerts held at historical venues in the presence of radio microphones, but also an environment where the ice breaks and characters are refined and a workshop for getting to one another and oneself. This is not only experienced by the musicians, but also by everyone who is associated with this festival.
The same was also the case this year after the international jury declared the thirteen-year-old pianist Adam Znamirovský the winner of the soloist category and the duo consisting of Daniel Matejča and Jan Schulmeister the winner of the ensemble category. The laureates spent the following week in a Concertino, not only emotionally, but also literally. Their base, from whence they travelled in search of musical and other experiences, was the Jindřichův Hradec Hotel, the name of which quite deliberately points to a tradition of the Concertina Praga South Bohemians festivals.
In addition to Jindřichův Hradec, where the traditional final concert was held, the Concertino Praga 2023 laureates also spent time in Český Krumlov, Tábor and Bechyně, where they enchanted audiences at sell-out concerts with their talent infused with youthful and unflagging energy.
It is difficult to foretell whether and where the laureates from this year’s Concertino Praga will ever again meet up on a single stage. It is clear, however, that they will not forget about this competition. It is unique on an international scale. It seems unlikely that they will ever again have time between concert rehearsals to spend together on the football field, go on walks through the towns of South Bohemia, cook sausages over a campfire, swim in the Vajgar pond or tour chateaux and observatories.
One of the favourites at this year’s competition, the German flautist Fabian Johannes Egger, who finished second, described the festival week for Czech Radio as an unbelievable experience which is simply unrepeatable. “The people I had the chance to meet, the music that we shared and the discussions we had were all beautiful without exception.“ His countrymen, who made up the Florestan piano trio, were of the same opinion: “Every moment of our stay in Prague and in South Bohemia was wonderful. We were truly able to see how music brings everything together.”
The successor to this year’s laureates will be able to share these very feelings in less than a year’s time if they register by the end of March 2024. Next year’s competition will be open in the soloist category. Details are available here.