23-year-old pianist Ádám Szokolay has been awarded first prize at the 2019 Bartók World Competition for pianists, organised by the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary.
As first prize-winner, Ádám Szokolay received €30,000. The second prize of €20,000 went to Ádám Balogh with Peter Klimo collecting the third prize of €10,000. The three also received professional concert engagements, with performance invitations extended to a further three competitors.
The orchestral finals were held in the Grand Hall of the Liszt Academy on 14 September. Ádám Szokolay played Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Ádám Balogh chose Liszt’s Concerto for Piano in A Major and Peter Klimo played Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3, each accompanied by the Hungarian National Philharmonic, conducted by Zsolt Hamar.
The world-renowned members of the jury, chaired by Kenji Watanabe, included Kálmán Dráfi, Head of Department at the Liszt Academy, pianists Tamás Vásáry and Andrei Korobeinikov from Russia, Korean-American Klara Min, Russian-American Alexandre Moutouzkine, Einar Steen-Nøkleberg from Norway and Mūza Rubackytė from Lithuania, as well as music historian and Bartók researcher Tibor Tallián.
Jury chairman Kenji Watanabe, addressing the audience in Hungarian, spoke of the outstanding standard of the competition and the ability of all of the contestants to reveal themselves in their performances.
In a letter of greeting to the competitors, jury, audience and the Liszt Academy of Music, Lady Valerie Solti, a chief patron of the Bartók World Competition and Festival, shared a quote from her late husband, Sir Georg Solti:
‘Never give up, keep working, and never, ever abandon your ideals and aspirations.’