Jon Jacob

Jonathan Swensen wins Aram Khachaturian International Competition

3:38, 18th June 2018

Jonathan Swensen, a twenty-one-year-old Danish-American cellist has won the Aram Khachaturian International Competition in Yerevan, Armenia.

The seven-day competition featured 14 soloists from across the world playing a selection of repertoire by Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Khachaturian in three rounds.

Performances were judged an international jury Sergey Roldugin (Russia), Viktor Uzur (Serbia/USA), Suren Bagratuni (Chairman, Armenia/USA), Ling-Yi Ou Yang (China), Wen-Sinn Yang (Switzerland), Stefan Kropfitsch (Austria), Meehae Ryo (South Korea).

Honorary Competition Chairman Krystof Penderecki awarded the first prize after Jonathan Swensen at a special gala performance in the Philharmonic Hall in Yerevan, Armenia, following the cellist’s performance of Khachaturian’s technically demanding Concerto Rhapsody on Wednesday evening.

Three other finalists contended for the first prize including former Tchaikovsky Competition participants Fedor Amosov and Rustem Khallimdullin from Russia, and Chae-Hon Wong from South Korea/America. All played the one-movement Rhapsody Concerto Rhapsody as their final work except for Khamidullin who performed Khachaturian’s Cello Concerto with the Armenia State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sergey Smbtyan.

Winning the competition secures Jonathan Swensen future concert engagements, and $15,000 cash prize. Next year’s competition will be dedicated to pianos. The preliminary application phase (video submissions) opens later in the year.

Jon Jacob is a freelance journalist who writes about classical music. He writes the Thoroughly Good Blog and presents the fortnightly Thoroughly Good Classical Music Podcast.

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