Munich competition ends

16th September 2013 | Concerts, Musings, Travel | 2 comments

Munich jury photo 2013The ARD-Competition in Munich ended with three out of the four categories (violin, viola, bassoon, piano trio) awarding no first prize. Only Yura Lee won a first prize in the viola category.

I wonder if it is generally realised by the public that the rules in Munich do not allow the first prize to be shared. There may however be two second prizes, or two third prizes. If there are two very good finalists, and the jury feels it would be unfair to elevate one above the other, their only option is to award two second prizes. There are of course occasions when the jury feels that no-one deserves a first prize, but it seems to happen quite often that the best option is to give two second prizes.

The Munich audience gave the whole competition tremendous support from the very beginning. Every day there were hundreds of people waiting to be allowed into the hall to hear the various rounds. They followed proceedings with great attention, and had clearly chosen their own favourites, whose performances were applauded loud and long. People often waited in the foyer to hear the results of the individual rounds. Our jury chairman was Menahem Pressler, the pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio. At the end of the final, when he announced that there was no first prize for piano trio, the jury was booed by the audience. Luckily I had been warned this might happen, by a colleague who experienced it at a previous Munich competition. It was my first experience of being booed, and not fun. Although I must say my discomfiture was outweighed by my admiration for the audience’s commitment to the young players. I have not experienced anywhere else such a level of public support for classical music.

In the photo you can see the two prizewinning trios, the Trio Karenine and the Trio Van Baerle, standing on the left and right of the photo. The chairman of the jury, Menahem Pressler, is left of centre in a grey jacket.


  1. Pinakin

    It would make more sense to share the first prize as they were the two best. Giving two second best prizes seems a bit odd when they weren’t, in my mind, ‘second best’.

    I don’t envy you being booed, especially after all your hard work and that of your fellow jury members.

    • Susan Tomes

      I think there is a financial component to the rules in Munich: if a second prize is shared, each prizewinner gets the whole amount of the second prize, ie it is not split between them. There may not be the option of doubling the first prize money, whereas if the first prize is not awarded, there is financial leeway to double the second prize money. At least, this is my surmise.


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