Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann 2020

Kronberg Academy and Berlin University of the Arts organise prestigious international cello competition in Berlin for the fifth time

From 16 to 22 November 2020, Kronberg Academy and the Domenico-Gabrielli Foundation of Berlin University of the Arts (UdK Berlin) will host the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann in Berlin. The prestigious international cello competition has been held since 2002, and has been under the patronage of Daniel Barenboim since its inception. The fifth edition of the competition is open to cellists of any nationality born in or after 1992. A jury chaired by Professor Wolfgang Boettcher (UdK Berlin) will select prize winners from 12 competitors in three public rounds. The Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann is endowed with €15,000 and the prize winners will also benefit from concert performances with orchestras arranged on their behalf. Alongside the 2nd and 3rd prizes (worth €10,000 and €5,000 respectively), four special prizes (of €3,000 each) and an audience prize (of €1,500) will also be awarded.

Entries can be submitted from February 2020 to 1 July at The jury will then select the 12 competitors for the public competition from these applications in a closed first round. Members of the jury for this edition are the cellist and university lecturer Wolfgang Boettcher (chair), Karine Georgian (Russia), David Geringas (Germany/Lithuania), Ralph Kirshbaum (USA), Jérôme Pernoo (France), Torleif Thedéen (Sweden), Raimund Trenkler, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi (Japan) and Hillel Zori (Israel).

The twelve competitors who make it to the second round will give recitals on 17 and 18 November 2020, including performances of a composition commissioned for the competition from Jörg Widmann. There is also a new chamber music round in the competition: six selected semi-finalists will play with members of the Boccherini Trio (a string trio) and perform a cello concerto with the chamber ensemble Metamorphosen Berlin. The grand final with a large symphony orchestra on 21 November 2020 is also new this year: each of the three finalists will perform a cello concerto with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin conducted by Josef Bastian.

The competition week will be framed by an opening concert and two prize winners’ concerts. On 16 November 2020 at 8.00 p.m., cellists Alexander Buzlov (prize winner in 2010) and Aurélien Pascal (prize winner in 2014) will open the competition at Konzerthaus Berlin followed by a presentation of the twelve competitors. On 22 November, Emanuel Feuermann’s birthday, the prize winners will give a chamber concert at 11.00 a.m. at Berlin University of the Arts and a final concert at 6.00 p.m. at Konzerthaus Berlin together with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin under the baton of Josef Bastian. Additional competition venues are the Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Philharmonie for the second and third rounds, and the Große Sendesaal (Large Broadcasting Hall) at Haus des Rundfunks for the final round.

The Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann was established in 2002 to honour the great cellist Emanuel Feuermann (1902–1942) on the occasion of his 100th birthday. 2020 will be the fifth edition of the competition following those held in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. Danjulo Ishizaka (2002), Giorgi Kharadze (2006), Alexander Buzlov (2010) and Aurélien Pascal (2014) are the winners to date.


About Emanuel Feuermann

Emanuel Feuermann was born on 22 November 1902 in Kolomyia, Galicia. As a young cellist he initially studied with Anton Walter in Vienna when the family moved there in 1909. He later continued his studies in Leipzig under Julius Klengel, a cellist with the Gewandhaus Orchestra. At the age of just 16, he obtained a professorship at the Cologne Conservatoire and became solo cellist with the Gürzenich Orchestra. He was a professor at the Musikhochschule in Berlin from 1927 to 1933 and in subsequent years toured North and South America as well as the Middle and Far East giving concert performances. Owing to his Jewish ancestry, he was dismissed from his professorship in 1933 and emigrated to the US via London. Emanuel Feuermann died unexpectedly on 25 March 1942 in New York at the age of 39 and at the height of his career following complications during surgery.

Alongside Pablo Casals, Emanuel Feuermann was one of the 20th century’s most admired cellists. Today, he is still held in unanimously high regard: “The talent of the century” wrote the renowned violinist Jascha Heifetz, and for Arthur Rubenstein he was “The greatest cellist of all time”. Feuermann’s playing was warm, personal, rapturous, colourful, virtuosic and breathtaking. During his short musical career, he helped to establish the cello as a solo instrument and he revolutionised modern cello playing.

Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann:



About Kronberg Academy

Kronberg Academy is a unique cultural institution in Europe that trains and sponsors a world-class team of highly gifted young musicians who play the violin, viola and cello. Renowned musicians such as Christian Tetzlaff, Mihaela Martin, Tabea Zimmermann and Frans Helmerson are among the Academy’s professors. There are some 25 places on the Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes at the Academy, with the degrees awarded by Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts. The Professional Studies and Precollege study programmes, as well as the study programme for pianists focusing on chamber music, enhance the range of courses on offer. Founded in 1993, the Academy is predominantly financed by private donations. Its Founder and Chairman of the Board is Raimund Trenkler and Prof. Dr Friedemann Eichhorn is its Artistic Director. The members of the Artistic Council are Marta Casals Istomin, Yuri Bashmet, Christoph Eschenbach, Gidon Kremer, Sir András Schiff and Mstislav Rostropovich († 2007). In addition to running its study programmes, Kronberg Academy organises several concert projects and many other performances, as well as the internationally acclaimed Kronberg Academy Festival, which takes place every two years.


About Berlin University of the Arts

Universität der Künste Berlin (Berlin University of the Arts – UdK) is one of the world’s largest artistic universities and the only one that combines all artistic disciplines and their related academic studies. Over 70 courses, in artistic practice, academia and teaching of the arts, are offered at its four colleges – Fine Arts; Architecture, Media and Design; Music; Performing Arts – as well as at the Berlin Centre for Advanced Studies in Arts and Sciences.

Around a third of its 4,000 students are from foreign nations. The history of UdK Berlin can be traced back to establishment of the Prussian Academy of the Arts in Brandenburg in 1696. It gained its present form in 1975 from the amalgamation of the Hochschule für bildende Künste and the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst, which created the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst. It has borne its new name, Universität der Künste Berlin in German, since 2001. Professor Martin Rennert has been president of the university since 2006. Hosting more than 700 events each year, UdK Berlin contributes greatly to the cultural life of the city.