Blettenburg’s impressive Beethoven concerto
The 16th International Beethoven Piano Competition came to a rousing climax in Vienna on 21 October with first prizewinner Aris Alexander Blettenberg’s lyrical rendering of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No 1.
His German culture mixed with Greek roots made him a popular choice for the cheering Viennese audience in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. The other two finalists, Austrian Philipp Scheucher and South Korean Dasol Kim, played Beethoven’s Fourth and Fifth Concertos respectively. All were accompanied by the Webern Kammerphilharmonie under Vladimir Kiradjiev.
Blettenberg won over the jury and the audience with his evident charm and emotional involvement, particularly in his largo and rondo movements. The other finalists played at a high level musically but with emotions in check.
First prize was 10,000 euros and a Bösendorfer Model 200 grand piano worth 105,000 euros, making it one of Europe’s leading competitions in prize winnings.
Trained at Munich’s Hochschule für Musik and the Mozarteum University Salzburg, Blettenberg’s teacher in Salzburg was Antti Siirala, himself a first prize laureate of the London and Leeds competitions and the 1997 Beethoven Competition. Blettenberg has also participated in masterclasses by Rudolf Buchbinder, known for his Beethoven concerto interpretations conducted from the keyboard. Buchbinder plays all five concertos in one day.
The Vienna event is Austria’s oldest international piano competition, founded more than 50 years ago and hosted by the Viennese University of Music and Performing Arts.
This year’s artistic director was Jan Jiracek von Arnim, who also served as chairman of the jury. Bösendorfer was a sponsoring partner of the competition.
Another version of this item appears in International Piano magazine.
This article is brought to you by the author who owns the copyright to the text.
Should you want to support the author’s creative work you can use the PayPal “Donate” button below.
Your donation is a transaction between you and the author. The proceeds go directly to the author’s PayPal account in full less PayPal’s commission.
Facts & Arts neither receives information about you, nor of your donation, nor does Facts & Arts receive a commission.
Facts & Arts does not pay the author, nor takes paid by the author, for the posting of the author's material on Facts & Arts. Facts & Arts finances its operations by selling advertising space.