From 9-14 May, the first round of the Queen Elisabeth competition for cellists is taking place at the Flagey and Bozar in Brussels. Only one Belgian cellist has been selected: the 26-year-old Stéphanie Huang.
Out of the 152 cellists who applied, the judges selected 68, of which 66 will actually perform: 12 participants are from the United States. South Korea (10 candidates), Germany (8) and France (7) are next in line.
The only Belgian candidate, Stéphanie Huang, will play on Monday evening. She’s a student at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo and it is not the first time the Huang family has participated in the competition: her sister, Sylvia Huang who is a violinist, was a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2019 and won the audience award.
Programme filled with classics
The programme consists of designated pieces for competitors to play, as well as music of their own choice. A jury made up of the world's leading cello players will decide who deserves a place in the next rounds of the competition.
For the first round, each candidate will play three pieces: a sonata by Boccherini with cello accompaniment, the first movement of Ysaÿe's Sonata for a cello solo and a modern piece with piano accompaniment.
In the semi-finals, from 16-21 May, the performers will be accompanied by the “Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie”, conducted by Vahan Mardirossian, as well as two recitals including the compulsory unpublished work written especially for this session by Daan Janssens.
The 12 remaining candidates get one week to learn one of the pieces of the German composer Jörg Widmann and have to play a concerto with the Brussels Philharmonic, under the baton of Stéphane Denève. The winner will be announced on 4 June.