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Great success for Weimar Cello Class: Friedrich Thiele wins second prize and audience’s choice at the 68th International ARD Music Competition

Friedrich Thiele | Photo: Sima Dehgani

Great success for Weimar Cello Class: Friedrich Thiele wins second prize and audience’s choice at the 68th International ARD Music Competition

This success rounds off an excellent competition year for the cello class of Prof. Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar: On the weekend, the bachelor student in Weimar Friedrich Thiele won the 7,500 Euro second prize and the prize Audience’s Choice in the subject of violoncello at the 68th ARD International Music Competition in Munich.

In addition, he was awarded the special prize for the best interpretation of a commissioned work “Like Ella” by Martin Smolka. Japanese musician Haruma Sato was awarded the first prize; the third prize went to Chinese musician Sihao He.

“His Schumann concerto was truly exceptional”, says a happy Prof. Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, referring to his student’s evening performance on Friday the 13th of September to a full house at the Hercules Hall in Munich with the Cello Concerto op. 129 by Robert Schuman. The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra played under the direction of Eun Sun Kim.

Thiele will now also play his interpretation of Joseph Haydn’s Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra No. 2 in D-Major, with which he was successful in the semi-finals, at the Prize Winners’ Concert on Thursday the 19th of September with the Munich Chamber Orchestra.

“I’m still in a daze at the moment”: Friedrich Thiele reflects on the greatest success of his still young career. “It will probably hit me at some point in the next days and weeks. The competition is highly regarded internationally and so I am naturally hoping for nice concerts with good orchestras.”

The 22-year-old has already had a good year, having won both the German Music Prize 2019 and the second prize and Audience’s Choice at the International Instrumental Competition Markneukirschen.

A seven-person international jury chaired by cellist Lynn Harrell picked the prize winner in the subject of cello from a total of four judging rounds on nine competition days in Munich.

“What really helped me, was that I have always stayed true to myself and made my own music”, explains Friedrich Thiele. “In my opinion, you shouldn’t let yourself be too influenced by everything surrounding the competition and think of every round as a concert.”

Friedrich Thiele, born 1996 in Dresden, drew international attention early on with his success in the TONALi Competition 2015 Hamburg (3rd prize and Audience’s Choice) as well as at the competition “Ton & Erklärung” (Sound & Explanation) in Munich 2017 (1st prize).

Following the competition, he performed as a guest soloist with the Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Bremen, the Radio Orchestra Munich, the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar in Caracas, and the Radio Symphony Orchestra Prague. Friedrich Thiele has been a student in Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt’s class at the University of Music in Weimar since 2016.

He has already performed as a soloist in numerous great concert halls and at festivals, including the Mariinsky-Theatre St. Petersburg, the Elbe Philharmonic Hamburg, the Gasteig in Munich, at the Heidelberg Spring Music Festival, and the Vadim Repin Trans-Siberian Art Festival.