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Shizuo Kuwahara ’01MM wins 2008 Solti Competition

January 20, 2009

Frankfurt, November 9, 2008 – The Fourth International Conductors’ Competition Sir Georg Solti has a winner: the 32 year old American Shizuo Kuwahara picked up first prize. Eugene Tzigane (26, also from the USA) received second prize, and Andreas Hotz (27) from Germany came in third place. He was the first German candidate to reach the final round of the International Conductors’ Competition Sir Georg Solti. In 2006 Shizuo took second place in the Solti Competition.

First prize is €15,000, second prize €10,000 and the candidate in third place receives €5,000. The first and second prize winners also received bonus prizes: invitations to conduct for the Frankfurt Museum Orchestra, the hr Symphony Orchestra as well as other German and international orchestras. The public finale concert today, Sunday morning, in Frankfurt’s Alter Oper saw three finalists at the conductor’s stand of the hr Symphony Orchestra performing the following works (selected by drawing lots): Gioacchino Rossini’s “William Tell” overture (Andreas Hotz), Carl Maria von Weber’s “Oberon” overture (Shizuo Kuwahara) and Giuseppe Verdi’s “The Force of Destiny” overture (Eugene Tzigane). Then all three candidates each conducted Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” (from No. 4 to the end). After a short break to discuss the winner, the jury chairman Rolf-E. Breuer announced the decision, unanimously agreed by the members of the jury after evaluating the two rehearsal days, Friday and Saturday, and the public finale today, Sunday.

To conclude the morning’s thrilling events there was a performance of Michael Glinka’s “Ruslan and Ludmilla”, conducted by Shizuo Kuwahara, the first prize winner.

The members of the jury for the final round, as chaired by Rolf-E. Breuer, were: Lady Valerie Solti (Patroness of the Competition and widow of the legendary conductor Sir Georg Solti), Ulrich Edelmann (First Concertmaster of the hr Symphony Orchestra), Zdenĕk Mácal (Head Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic), Andreas Mölich-Zebhauser (Director of the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden), Matthias Pintscher (composer and conductor), Sebastian Weigle (General Music Director for the City of Frankfurt am Main, Head Conductor of the Frankfurt Museum Orchestra) and Lothar Zagrosek (Head Conductor of the Konzerthaus Orchestra in Berlin).

Shizuo Kuwahara  •  www.shizuokuwahara.com

The audience in Frankfurt will still remember Shizuo Kuwahara well as the second prize winner of the last Solti Competition. Since then he (32) has been invited to be a guest conductor by numerous orchestras, such as the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie (German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra) as well as the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, which he conducted at the Weilburger Schloss concerts. He received his training at Yale University and the Eastman School of Music, where he graduated with distinction. His first positions were as Associate Conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach, before he was appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the IPPO Philharmonic in Tokyo.

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