Juan Perez Floristan wins the 2021 Rubinstein Piano Competition

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Juan Perez Floristan (Spain) is the winner of the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition

Shiori Kuwuhara (Japan) was awarded second place; third place went to Cunmo Yin (China)

Juan Perez Floristan from Spain is the winner of the Rubinstein Piano Competition, which culminated today (Monday, May 3) at the Tel Aviv Charles Bronfman Auditorium (home of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which played in today’s finals). A total of six competitors, from the initial 32, had made it through to the final rounds.
Second place went to Shiori Kuwahara from Japan, with third place going to Cunmo Yin from China.
With a thousand audience members in the hall and many more watching from around the world online, the finalists had each over the past few days played piano quintets, classical concertos with the Israel Camerata Jerusalem and, finally, romantic concertos with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. The prize for first place was a gold medal with a portrait of Rubinstein illustrated by Picasso, a cash prize of $40,000 and many guaranteed engagements internationally. Second prize is a silver medal and $20,000; third place is a bronze medal and $10,000). All the other finalists win $6,000 each.
In addition to the main three prizes, other prizes were awarded as follows:
Junior Jury Prize ($3,000) decided by a panel of young judges – Shiori Kuwahara
Best Israeli Performer ($3,000) – Ariel Lanyi
Best Performance of an Israeli Piece ($3,000) – Juan Florez Floristan
Best Performance of a Chopin Piece ($3,000) – Alexia Mouza
Best Performance of a Beethoven Concerto ($ 5,000, awarded to mark the occasion of Beethoven’s 250th birthday) – Juan Perez Floristan
Best Chamber Music Performance ($6,000) – Juan Perez Floristan
Audience Favourite ($3,000) – Juan Perez Floristan
This year’s competition was held in an innovative format: Stages one and two were pre-recorded in five different locations around the world: Tel Aviv, New York, London, Potsdam and Beijing. The recitals were performed as live concerts, but without audience in the hall. The judges then listened to the competitors performances streamed over the Internet, along with the audience. The proceedings and voting were conducted through Zoom. The finals were held in Tel Aviv with audience and with the proceedings also streamed. Representing Jeanne Pratt in presenting the first prize was Professor Arie Schachner – President of Save A Child’s Heart.

“I am happy that we were able to hold the competition this year, despite the difficult conditions and restrictions placed on us by the the Covid epidemic,” says Ariel Cohen, the competition’s artistic director. “Not only did we hold it but we managed despite the limitations to provide the audience with quality competition with a particularly high level of musical and professionalism that the competitors presented this year. We are now curious to follow the development of the winners’ careers and look forward to seeing them in the coming years at the height of their prosperity and success.”
The Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition began in 1974, and has been held every three years, in Tel Aviv. The competition is considered one of the leading piano competitions in the world and is a significant springboard to international recognition for its winners.
Many of today’s piano stars began their careers after winning the Rubinstein Competition, among them: Emanuel Ax (1974), Gerhard Oppitz (1977), Alexander Korsantia (1995), Kirill Gerstein (2001), Alexander Gavrylyuk (2005), Igor Levit (2005), Khatia Buniatishvili (2008), Boris Giltburg (2011) and Daniil Trifonov (2011). More than simply a piano contest, the Rubinstein Competition is always a special musical event, with all stages of the competition open to the general public, who are welcomed to enjoy the best of today’s talents and spot the stars of tomorrow.
In addition, this year’s competition has included other varied content:

  • Opening Event – the competition’s grand opening took place on 31 March and was streamed online free of charge. It comprised a celebration, with the winners of the 15th Rubinstein Competition: Szymon Nehring, Daniel Ciobanu and Sara Daneshpour choosing their favorite Rubinstein performances and themselves performing; conversations about Rubinstein and about the competition; presentation of the jury; impressions from the recordings sessions for the preliminary rounds, and more.
  • Performance Analyses – a series of fascinating lectures designed to reveal the secrets of musical performance for the non-expert, from the musician’s viewpoint. What should you pay attention to? What is the difference between the way one pianist plays and another? Five prominent Israeli pianists and lecturers (Astrith Baltsan, Orit Wolf, Tal Samnon, Irit Rub and Gil Shohat) have analyzed interpretations of works performed by the competitors, demonstrating at the piano and comparing the interpretations of famous pianists.
  • Meet the Jury – interactive meetings with the competition’s adjudicators, who will now take your questions…
  • Discussion Panels – a series of discussions about various aspects of piano competitions and the Rubinstein Competition in particular, from the viewpoints of, variously, music critics, pianists, teachers, composers, and past participants in competitions.
  • Viewers were able to participate and choose the Audience Favorite, by voting online.
  • Viewers are invited to exchange opinions and experiences with each other using the chat facility.
  • And the format also allows the viewer the freedom to choose a preferred viewing angle, even focusing, if they wish, purely on the pianist’s hands!
The jury was chaired this year by the well-known pianist and teacher Professor Arie Vardi. He is accompanied by international judges: Yefim Bronfman (Israel / United States), Hung Kuan Chen (United States), Thomas Duis (Germany), Taiseer Elias (Israel), Christopher Elton (United Kingdom), Tomer Lev (Israel), Ewa Poblocka (Poland), Menachem Pressler (Israel / United States) and Craig Sheppard (United States).
Seven young pianists were selected to serve on the Junior Jury: Itamar Feinberg, Tohar Gil, Nabeel Hayek, Yael Koldovsky, David Margalit, Alona Milner, and IIlia Ovcharenko. They vote for the Junior Jury Prize and for Encouragement Grants to competitors at the preliminary stages.
Competition website: https://arims.org.il/
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