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The National Olympic Memorial Youth Center
Tokyo, Japan, August 17, 2015

Saxton Rose
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The eighth annual Young Artist Competition was held this summer for bassoonists at the IDRS conference at the The National Olympic Memorial Youth Center in Tokyo, Japan. Since its inception in 2008, the Young Artist Competition gives double-reed artists under the age of 22 the opportunity to compete, and like the Fernand Gillet-Hugo Fox Competition, it alternates each year between oboists and bassoonists. The IDRS sponsored competitions showcase the amazing talent in our double-reed communities throughout the world and this year was no different.

Three finalists and one alternate were chosen based on recordings submitted by 41 applicants from all over the world. These recordings were anonymously adjudicated by a distinguished panel of judges including Silvia Coricelli (Argentina), Kazusa Mizutani (Japan), and Alban Wesly (Netherlands). The finalists were Valeria Curti of Switzerland, a student of Patrik Lüscher, Matthias Racz, Frank Forst, Geng Liang of Singapore, a student of Zhang Jin Min and Song Zhi Hong, and Kaspar Reh of Germany, a student of Selim Aykal and Frank Forst. Mathieu Brunet of France was chosen as the alternate.

Valeria, Geng and Kaspar competed on August 17th, playing selections from the following repertoire: The first movement of Koželuh’s Concerto in C Major, the third movement Molto Adagio and Allegro Moderato of Saint-Saëns’ Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, four of Mignone’s Waltzes for Solo Bassoon including Pattapiada, Apanhei-te meu fagotinho (Valsa paródia), A Boa Páscoa Para Você Devos! and Valsa-Choro, and Franz Doppler’s Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise, Op. 26 movement I, Molto Andante, arranged by Masahito Tanaka.

This is a unique year in the history of the Young Artist Competition. Tojo Shigeko, the wife of the late Masahito Tanaka generously donated ¥300,000 Japanese Yen for a special prize to be awarded to the performer of the jury’s favorite performance of Tanaka’s arrangement of Doppler’s Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise.

After deliberating, our extraordinary final round judges Sophie Dartigalongue (France), Albi Michlich (USA) and Koji Okasaki (Japan), chose Valeri Curti as the winner. She received a cash award of $4000 USD. Kaspar Reh was awarded second prize and a $2500 USD award. Third prize and $1000 USD went to Geng Liang. Valeri Curti also received the Tanaka prize.

The level of playing was truly remarkable and each of the finalists and their teachers should be applauded for the enormous amount of work and dedication, the result of which we were privileged to hear. Valeri performed the Doppler and Saint Saens on an evening recital Tuesday, August 18th. I would like to thank pianist Miyuki Washimiya for her beautiful playing throughout the conference and her exceptional accompaniment work during the competition.

As with all IDRS endeavors, the Young Artist Competition is the collective, volunteered effort of many people contributing in countless ways. I must thank Competitions Coordinator Eric Stomberg and Norma Hooks, IDRS Executive Secretary/ Treasurer, for their incalculable time and invaluable council and expertise. Thank you also to conference host Sugawara Hitomi and the conference staff for their organizational assistance.

Next year’s competition, coordinated by Geralyn Giovannetti, will feature oboists and will take place at IDRS 2016 in Columbus, Georgia at Columbus State University. Bassoonists can look forward to the 2017 competition at the conference in Appleton, Wisconsin.

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