Participants will be accompanied by the Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Professor Pablo González
The jury of the XX International Piano Competition of Santander has already announced the names of the six candidates who will participate in the final phase of the competition. Yu Nitahara, Marcel Tadokoro, Matyáš Novák, Xiaolu Zang, Domonkos Csabay, Jaeden Izik-Dzurko will participate in the final of the competition to be held on August 3 and 4, as part of the program of the 71 Santander International Festival. The pianists will be accompanied by the Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra under the direction of the titular professor Pablo González.
The awards gala will be broadcast by La 2 de TVE. In addition, the twelve pianists who reach the semi-final are eligible to win the Special Prize for Best Performer of Chamber Music, worth 3,000 euros, and a concert with members of the Casals Quartet itself. A prize that will also be awarded at the closing gala which will take place on August 5th.
Yu Nitahara (Japan, 1990)
Yu Nitahara is the winner of the first prize and the prize of the orchestra as well as that of the public at the International Music Competition of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Morocco. He was also awarded in other competitions, such as Mozart in Salzburg (third prize) and the Johann Nepomuk Hummel Competition (first prize). As a chamber musician, he was awarded first prize in the Swedish International Competition for Duets and best accompanying pianist in the violin and cello section of the Enescu International Competition. Yu received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Tokyo National University of the Arts, and graduated with honors studying with Michiko Kasuya-Ohno and Akira Eguchi. After his studies, he moved to Europe to study piano and chamber music at the University of the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Pavel Gililov.
Marcel Tadokoro (Japan, 1993)
Marcel Tadokoro was born in Japan in 1993, from a Japanese father and a French mother. He started playing the piano at the age of eight. After obtaining her master’s degree at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris, she entered the École Normale de Musique in Paris, where she is currently studying under the direction of Rena Shereshevskaya. Tadokoro has won several international competitions: “John Giordano”, Discretionary Prize of the President of the Jury at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition 2022, first prize in Clavicologne (Aachen, Germany) and in Lagny-sur-Marne (France) ; second in the Île-de-France international competition, and third in the Vera Lotar Shevchenko competition in Ekaterinburg (Russia), etc. He was also selected among the 12 semi-finalists of the 2021 Queen Elisabeth Music Competition and finalist of the Montreal International Competition. He has performed, in recital or as a chamber ensemble, in France, Italy, Belgium, Russia and Japan.
Matyás Novák (Czech Republic, 1998)
Matyás Novák started playing the piano at the age of five. She graduated from the JK Tyl Grammar School in Hradec Kralove and the Conservatory in Pardubice, where she studied in the class of Jitka Fowler Fraňková. He is currently attending Ivan Klánský’s class at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He also studied at the Incontri col Maestro piano academy in Imola, Italy with Boris Petrushansky. He has toured both nationally and internationally and given recitals in many European countries, China, Thailand and the United States. In 2017 he released his first album, dedicated to Franz Liszt and in 2021 his CD with Mozart’s piano concertos in collaboration with the Wihan Quartet.
Xiaolu Zang (China, 1999)
Xiaolu Zang is a laureate of the Verona and Mayenne international competitions, a finalist in the Busoni competition, a semi-finalist in the Leeds, Queen Elisabeth and Hamamatsu competitions, and a laureate in the Santa Cecilia, Ettlingen and Singapore competitions. Xiaolu has performed in major concert halls in China, Germany, Japan, Austria, France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Dubai. As a soloist he made his debut with the Niedersächsisches Staatsorchester, the Verona Philharmonic, the Royal Wallonia Chamber Orchestra, the Mihail Jora Philharmonic Orchestra of Bacau and worked with conductors Frank Braley, Francesco Ommassini, Valtteri Rauhalammi, Florian Gross and Ovidiu Balan. Zang began studying at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing with Ye Lin. In 2017 he was admitted to Arie Vardi’s class at the Hanover University of Music, Theater and Media where he studies while receiving master classes from renowned musicians.
Domonkos Csabay (Hungary, 1990)
Domonkos Csabay is a Hungarian pianist based in the UK since 2015. He gives recitals and concerts with orchestra in several countries, while also performing as a chamber musician and accompanying pianist. He studied with István Lantos and András Kemenes at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, where he obtained top marks, and with Pascal Nemirovski and John Thwaites at the Royal Conservatory in Birmingham. Domonkos is active in various fields, a versatility illustrated by his successes in competitions, notably the Hungarian Radio Special Prize; semi-finalist at the Liszt Competition in Budapest in 2021; the first prize at the Birmingham International Piano Competition and other prizes obtained as an accompanist or composer. Naxos released its first CD in 2021, dedicated to a Liszt program. Domonkos is currently participating in a university program as an accompanying pianist at the Royal College of Music in London.
Jaeden Izik-Dzurko (Canada, 1999)
Born in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada, Jaeden Izik-Dzurko has won the Grand Prix of the National Competition of the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals and the Gina Bachauer Scholarship from the Juilliard School, and more recently the First Prize of the Competition. Maria Canals from Barcelona (2022). She graduated from The Juilliard School in 2021 after completing her Bachelor of Music with Veda Kaplinsky and is currently pursuing a Masters of Music at the University of British Columbia with Corey Hamm. Jaeden has collaborated with local and international instrumentalists, singers and chamber ensembles and has performed with the Calgary Philharmonic and Hilton Head Symphonies, Okanaga Symphonies, Kamloops Symphonies and Lions Gate Symphony. CBC Radio has presented his recordings nationally, and in 2019 his performance at Juilliard’s Paul Room was broadcast live on WQXR in New York. Jaeden champions Canadian compositions and in 2017, in honor of Canada’s 600th birthday, presented a recital program featuring works by Canadian composers only.