Four candidates in the cello final

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No less than 4 candidates were able to qualify for the finals of the 58th International Instrumental Competition Markneukirchen in the subject violoncello!

    Grace Son
    Vilem Vlcek
    Gustaw Bafeltowski
    Tzu-Shao Chao

After the third selection exam they were the best of the remaining 7 candidates. They will now perform again in front of the eight-member jury in the final round on Friday, 12 May 2023 from 7.00 p.m. in the Musikhalle Markneukirchen and compete for the prizes. They will once again demonstrate their exceptional skills with the Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major Hob. VIIb:2. They will be accompanied by the Clara Schumann Philharmonic Orchestra Plauen-Zwickau under the direction of GMD Leo Siberski. Tickets for this event can be purchased at the box office for 3 euros.
In addition to the experienced ladies and gentlemen of the international jury, the audience is also called upon to vote for their favourite on this evening and the evening before at the double bass final.
The audience prize-winner will then be announced at the prize-winners' concert on Saturday, 13 May 2023, 7 p.m. in the Markneukirchen Music Hall and, if it is a cellist, will receive a cello bow made by a master bow-maker from the Vogtland. If the prizewinner is a participant in the double bass category, he or she will receive a double bass bow, also made in Vogtland. In both cases, the Sparkasse Vogtland will donate the prize worth up to € 2,500.

Gustaw Bafeltowski (Poland), born 2002
Gustaw Bafeltowski began his musical education at the age of 6 in a music school in Warsaw. From the earliest years he had the opportunity to experience music in many different forms, playing in various chamber music and orchestral ensembles. In his later training, his musicality was strongly influenced by Julius Berger, Marcin Zdunik, Andrzej Bauer, Danjulo Ishizaka and Steven Doane. He was awarded prizes at national and international competitions, including such important ones as the International Dotzauer Competition in Dresden, the International Wilkomirski Competition in Poznan, the International Bogdan Warchal Competition "Talents for Europe" in Dolny Kubin. In addition to participating in competitions, Gustaw has had the opportunity to perform at music festivals in Poland, Germany, Slovakia, Italy and China. He is part of Jacob Shaw's Scandinavian Cello School, which he has received support from since 2018. He is currently continuing his musical education at the Robert Schumann Hochschule under the direction of Pieter Wispelwey.

Tzu-Shao Chao (Taiwan), b. 2001
The young cellist Tzu-Shao Chao began learning the cello at the age of four. He completed his Bachelor's degree at the Cologne University of Music and Dance with Prof. Maria Kliegel. He is currently studying at the University of Music and Theatre in Munich with Prof. Wen-Sinn Yang.
He has won awards at various international competitions. In 2020 he was a finalist at the Anna Kull Competition in Graz and at the Pablo Casals International Awards for Young Cellists, where he also achieved an "honourable mention". He received the " Grand Prix '' at national level at the World Vision music contest and was a prize winner at the International Concerto Competition. In June 2019, he participated in a competition of the Lions Club Cologne for a scholarship in the HfMT Cologne and won the first prize. He has also been a scholarship holder of the Ministry of Culture in Taiwan since 2018.
Tzu-Shao Chao frequently performs in concerts. In the summer of 2020, for example, he took on the solo part in the Haydn Concertos in D major and C major with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra and the Camerata Hamburg. He has participated in numerous master classes given by famous cellists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Maria Kliegel, Arto Noras, Alexander Rudin, Phillipe Muller, Marc Coppey, Jens-Peter Maintz, Wen-Sinn Yang, Sebastian Klinger, Frans Helmerson, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt and Maximilian Hornung.

Grace Sohn (Canada), born 1999
Canadian cellist Grace Sohn was named one of the "30 Hot Classical Musician under 30" and is an emerging musician of her generation. She began her musical journey at the age of six. Her studies are supported by the BC Council of Arts and the Sylva Gelber Foundation.
She was named first prize winner of the Vienna Competition for Classical Strings, the Anton Rubinstein International Competition in Berlin, and the Busan Maru International Competition in South Korea, and received second prize and the prize for best interpretation of the test piece at the Shean Strings Competition in Canada. She was recently a prize-winner at the OSM Competition in Montreal, Canada, and the International Johannes Brahms Competition in Pörtschach, Austria. A winner of the Canada Council for the Arts Instrument Bank Competition, she performs on the Nicolaus Gagliano II cello.
Grace has performed as a soloist with the Philharmonia Northwest, Busan Philharmonic Orchestra, Zagreb Virtuoso, Mozart Collegium Orchestra and with the VAM Symphony Orchestra.
She has participated in master classes with renowned artists such as David Geringas, Jens Peter Maintz, Rafael Wallfish and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt. She is also a scholarship holder of the Liechtenstein Music Academy.
Today she lives in Berlin, where she studies at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music with Prof. Troels Svane.

Vilem Vlcek (Czech Republic), born 1998
Vilem Vlcek received his first lessons at the age of 6 with Prof. Martin Skampa and joined the class of Martin and Mirko Skampa at the Prague Music Gymnasium in 2010. Since 2018 he has been studying at the Musik-Akademie Basel in the class of Danjulo Ishizaka. In addition to his studies, he took part in various master classes - including with Yo-Yo Ma, Frans Helmerson, Leonidas Kavakos, Steven Isserlis, Richard Aaron, Alisa Weilerstein.
Vilem is a winner of various national and international competitions, including the Cello Competition in Liezen (first prize), Talents for Europe (first prize), Heran Cello Competition (first prize), Czech Conservatoires Competition (winner), Concertino Praga (laureate and EMCY prize), Jan Vychytil Cello Competition (winner), the Bohuslav Martinu Competition (first prize) and currently in 2022 the first prize of the Rahn Music Prize. As a member of the Kukal Quartet, he received a third prize at the 2021 Prague Spring Competition.
As a soloist, Vilem has performed with many renowned orchestras, such as the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Basel Chamber Orchestra, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Kaunas Symphony Orchestra, the North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Zielona Gora Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Württemberg Philharmonic Orchestra Reutlingen and others.
He has worked with conductors such as Jiri Belohlavek, Petr Altrichter, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, Jiri Rozen, Joonas Pitkänen and Nicolas Ellis, which has taken him to concert halls such as the Great Hall of the Elbphilharmonie, the Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Phiharmonie, the Dvořák Hall of Rudolfinums and the Tonhalle Zurich.