The 28-year-old South Korean Hyeji Bak won First Prize of the 74th Geneva Percussion Competition held November 11–21, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. Marianna Bednarska (25 years old, Poland) won Second Prize, and. Till Lingenberg (22 years old, Switzerland/Germany) was awarded Third Prize. The Final Round included the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, conducted by Julien Leroy and was broadcast live on RTS-Espace 2 and live streamed on YouTube.
Founded in 1939, the Geneva Competition is one of the world’s leading international music competitions. It aims at discovering, promoting, and supporting young talented artists, giving them the necessary tools to launch an international career.
Hyeji Bak was widely acclaimed by the audience during the Final Round, and was awarded not only the Audience Prize, but also the Young Audience Prize and Students’ Prize. Ms. Bak also won the Bergerault Special Prize (a marimba worth 15’000 Euros) and “Concerts de Jussy” Prize (3’000 CHF and a concert). Hyeji Bak and Marianna Bednarska were jointly awarded the Yamaha Young Artists Scholarship Special Prize, which gives them the opportunity to perform two chamber music concerts with the percussion section of the NDR Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg, Germany).
During the final round of the competition, the three candidates had to present a program in two parts: a first part consisting in a solo program, with the possible use of electronics and/or video. During the second part, finalists had to perform a compulsory concerto for percussion and orchestra: “Speaking Drums” by Peter Eötvös with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, conducted by Julien Leroy.
Members of the Official Jury were Philippe Spiesser (Chair, France), Daniel Druckman (United States), Fritz Hauser (Switzerland), Aiyun Huang (Taiwan-Canada), Marta Klimasara (Poland/Germany), Isao Nakamura (Japan/Germany), and Hèctor Parra (Spain).
In addition to its official prizes, Geneva offers a career development program, providing precious support and advice to help boost laureates’ careers. The program includes two years of concert management, as well as CD recordings, international tours, and professional workshop.