Bartók World Competition

Moldovan violinist living in Berlin wins this year's Bartók World Competition

The second prize of the prestigious competition, worth 14,000 euros, went to Tomotaka Seki from Japan, while the third prize of 8,000 euros was awarded to German-Polish-Japanese violinist Maya Alexandra Kasprzak, based on the decision of the distinguished international jury.


photo:Liszt Academy/Gábor Valuska


The panel also awarded two special prizes. The 2,000-euro award for the best performance of contemporary works featured in the competition's repertoire and awarded in last year's composer round went to Lilia Pocitari. Pocitari was commended for her interpretation of Impromptu and Perpetuum Mobile by Serbian composer Veljko Nenadić. The prize for the best Bartók interpretation, also worth 2,000 euros, was awarded to Gáspár Kelemen.

The competition's partners offered a range of additional special prizes. Of the three musicians who finished on the podium, Lilia Pocitari was invited to perform with the Dohnányi Orchestra Budafok, Concerto Budapest and the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in the 2024-2025 season, as well as the Hungarian State Opera House. Tomotaka Seki won an invitation from the Pannon Philharmonic and a Fidelio Fortissimo media package, while Maya Alexandra Kasprzak received concert invitations from the House of Music Hungary and MÜPA Budapest. Among the other finalists, Lorenz Karls received an invitation to perform at a chamber concert from the Bartók Memorial House and the Liszt Academy, while Gáspár Kelemen received invitations from Bartók Radio, the House of Music Hungary, the National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Zemplén Festival, as well as the Papageno media package.


photo:Liszt Academy/Gábor Valuska


In the finals held on Saturday in the Grand Hall of the Liszt Academy, the finalists performed one concerto each by Sibelius, Beethoven, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky, with the participation of the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of János Kovács. The international jury, consisting of world-renowned artists, as well as the partners offering special prizes, then decided on the awards, which were announced and presented at the gala concert the following day.

At the ceremony, Dr. Andrea Vigh, the rector of the Liszt Academy stressed that the main mission of the competition named after Bartók was to find talents worthy of the artist and to kickstart their careers – after all, every music competition is about discovery, about finding outstanding talents. "In the past week, we experienced yet again that there is no shortage of talent, and the most talented are inspired by Bartók's music even today.  Over the past six years, our competition has stood out in the field of international music competitions, not only with its special structure, the alternation of instrumental and composer rounds, and the musicology conferences organized at the same time as the instrumental rounds, but also with its high standards," she added. The rector emphasized that the Bartók World Competition, organized by the Liszt Academy - one of the centers of European musical life -, has by now become a tradition and is a noteworthy event in the music world.

World-famous American violinist Daniel Phillips, the president of the jury, said it had been an honor to be a member of the prestigious panel. He noted that Bartók's oeuvre plays an important role in his own performances; therefore, he was excited to hear excellent violinists perform in the previous week as well as musicians who were interested in Bartók's artistic achievements. Phillips added that understanding and performing Bartók's works was an integral part of the complex and deep repertoire of the competition, as a result of which the works of the Hungarian composer may be included more often in the repertoire of violinists around the world.

Lilia Pocitari, the winner of the first prize, was born in 1997. She is currently studying for a Master's Degree at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin with Professor Ulf Wallin. She obtained her bachelor's degree at the Buchmann-Mehta College of Music in Tel Aviv in the class of Ilja Konovalov, concertmaster of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. She has won prizes at several international competitions; in recent years, she has performed, among others, with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Julian Rachlin at the Vienna Konzerthaus, in Finland with the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, and in Tel Aviv at the Charles Bronfman Lecture Hall with conductor Zubin Mehta.


photo:Liszt Academy/Gábor Valuska


Second prize-winner Tomotaka Seki was born in 1998. Tomotaka currently continues his studies at the Tokyo College of Music as an Honorary Scholarship Student under the tutelage of Koichiro Harada and Mayuko Kamio. Among others, he has performed with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, in addition to giving solo recitals. Tomotaka often gives concerts with his ensemble, the Cercatore Quartet, and he has been performing various types of chamber music both with his quartet and members of the NHK Symphony Orchestra. He currently performs with the latter as their academic student.


photo:Liszt Academy/Gábor Valuska


Third prize-winner Maya Alexandra Kasprzak, was born in 2005. She studied as a pre-college student of Professor Latica Honda-Rosenberg at the Berlin University of the Arts. Since 2022, she has been studying with Professor Tobias Feldmann at the University of Music and Theater in Leipzig. Despite her young age, she has already triumphed in many international competitions; Kasprzak has performed with Aleksey Igudesman, Hyung-ki Joo, Daniel Hope and Zakhar Bron, among others, in important venues such as the Philharmonie Berlin, the Konzerthaus Berlin, the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw and the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music in Zakliczyn.


photo:Liszt Academy/Gábor Valuska


Lorenz Karls was born in 2001 and he is currently a student at Mozarteum University Salzburg. He won prizes at various competitions and recently debuted at the Mozartwoche Salzburg. He has performed with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the WDR Funkhausorchester, the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Bern, the Odense Symphony Orchestra, the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra as well as Kremerata Baltica.

Gáspár Kelemen, born in 2008, attended Eszter Perényi's class at the School for Exceptional Young Talents of the Liszt Academy. From autumn 2022, he has continued his studies as a scholarship student at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London. Kelemen is the first Hungarian student in the institution's history. He has won prizes in several national and international competitions, and has performed as a soloist with the MÁV Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gábor Takács-Nagy, and Concerto Budapest under the baton of András Keller.

The 2023 Bartók World Competition began on September 3, with the semi-finals. A total of 32 violinists from 16 countries around the world competed for the awards. Almost one hundred young talents from 26 countries applied for the spring pre-selection round.

The president of this year's prestigious international jury was American violinist Daniel Phillips, lecturer at The Juilliard School in New York. The members of the panel included: German violinist Stephan Picard, lecturer at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin; Ukrainian-British violist-conductor Maxim Rysanov who lives in Hungary; French violinist Roland Daugareil, lecturer at the Paris Conservatoire and first violinist at the Orchestre de Paris until 2021; and Japanese violinist Yayoi Toda. The Hungarian members of the jury were: Kossuth Prize-winning violinist Kristóf Baráti, head of the Strings Department at the Ferenc Liszt University of Music; Gyula Fekete, Erkel and Bartók–Pásztory Prize-winning composer, deputy rector of the university and head of the Department of Composition; conductor Péter Halász, music director of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf; and Kossuth Prize-winning violinist-conductor András Keller, music director of Concerto Budapest, professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.