Welcome to the Department of Piano

Ádám Zsolt Szokolay Wins Prestigious 1st Prize at the Bartók Piano Competition in Budapest

Ádám Zsolt Szokolay | Photo: Andrea Felvegi

Recently, Ádám Zsolt Szokolay won 1st prize at the International Bartók Piano Competition 2019 as part of the “Bartók World Competition and Festival” in Budapest. The 30,000 Euro 1st Prize is one of the world’s most lucrative competition prizes. It was a particular pleasure for the 23-year-old Hungarian bachelor student, from Prof. Grigory Gruzman’s piano class, to be able to earn this renown prize in his city of birth.

“The International Bartók Competition is equivalent to the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, the Hamamatsu Competition in Japan, or the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels, in terms of renown and level. World class!” says Szokolay’s teacher Prof. Grigory Gruzman excitedly.

After the video preliminaries, the nine-person international jury invited a total of 28 participants to Budapest from all over the world. Participants played for the prize at the Franz-Liszt Music Academy in Budapest over four judging rounds between the 8th and the 15th of September. Ádám Zsolt Szokolay performed works by Joseph Haydn, Béla Bartók, Franz Liszt and Claude Debussy – and in the finals, Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Hungarian Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Zsolt Hamar.


Liedduo Mikhail Timoshenko and Elitsa Desseva win 1st prize at the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition

Elitsa Desseva (left) and Mikhail Timoshenko | Photo: Marine Cessat-Begler

The heart of international song beats in the renowned London Wigmore Hall. Now Liedduo, trained at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar, has won the first prize of £10,000 at the “Wigmore Hall International Song Competition”. Bass baritone Mikhail Timoshenko and pianist Elitsa Desseva impressed a panel of distinguished judges in the finals of the competition on the 11th of September, which included world-wide stars in singing, such as Dame Felicity Lott and Thomas Quastoff. The best duo was nominated per video audition out of 177 applicants for the four-day competition with multiple judging rounds.

Taking first place in London is the crowning glory in an unparalleled series of successes for the duo. In 2017, they won the Grand Prix and the gold medal at the 40th Grand Prix Maria Callas singing competition and in 2019, first prize at the 11th international Lied competition in Stuttgart, the second prize and Audience’s Choice at the international Schubert Competition in Dortmund, as well as first prize at the Lied competition “Schubert and the Music of Modernity” in Graz.