Incoming YSM artist diploma candidate Szymon Nehring was named the first prize-winner of the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. In addition to winning the Arthur Rubinstein Award (Gold Medal), Nehring won the Best Performer of a Chopin Piece, Advanced Studies, and Junior Jury prizes, as well as the Audience Favorite in the Periphery prizes for Or Yehuda and Jezrael Valley. In addition to earning $49,000 in cash awards, Nehring will perform numerous recitals as part of a concert tour organized by the Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society, which administers the competition. One of those performances, on October 26, will take place in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
Current YSM DMA candidate Yevgeny Yontov '14MM earned one of three Finalist Prizes as well as the Best Performer of Chamber Music and Best Israeli Performer prizes. He also received the Audience Favorite in the Periphery Prize for Dimona. Yontov took home $15,500 in cash awards.
The competition, which is held every three years, was made up of three stages. The first two required contestants to present recitals 40 and 60 minutes in duration, respectively. The final stage included three separate appearances: a chamber music performance during which the contestants were asked to perform a quartet for piano and strings, a Classical concerto performance with the Israel Camerata Jerusalem, and a grand concerto performance with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Contestants who reached the final stage performed around three hours of music.
Nehring, who previously studied with Stefan Wojtas at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, Poland, will begin his studies at YSM this fall under the tutelage of Prof. Boris Berman. In 2015, Nehring was a finalist at the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, at which he won the Audience Award and other prizes. That year, he toured Poland as a soloist with the Lusławice, Poland-based Santander Orchestra.
Before studying at YSM, Yontov graduated from Tel Aviv University's Bachmann-Mehta School of Music, where he studied with Arie Vardi. Yontov won the Gold Medal at the 2013 Wideman International Piano Competition and was a semifinalist in 2016 at the inaugural Olga Kern International Piano Competition.