Magnificat Institute’s XV “Nikolaus De La Flüe” Piano Competition

The final concert of the winners of the Magnificat Institute’s “Nikolaus De La Flüe” Piano Competition took place January 26, 2014 at the Saint Saviour Auditorium in Jerusalem. Organized by the Magnificat Institute of the Custody of the Holy Land, this piano competition has been held for 15 consecutive years, the oldest annual musical competition in the Holy Land.

The Goals of the Competition
Participants are young Palestinian pianists and piano students registered in Palestinian schools as well as, of course, the Institute’s students, whatever their origin might be. The purpose of the competition is to identify and promote young musicians who, in the near future, can embark upon a professional career in music as performers or teachers in the context of Palestinian society. Another, purely didactic purpose of the competition, is to encourage in students a greater commitment to their study, as well as to offer them, from a young age, the experience of being evaluated by a jury, and of handling the challenge of performing before a public. The approximately 30 participants ranged between eight and 17 years of age.

Characteristics of the Competition
The competition provided varying categories, depending on the music’s level of difficulty. Each participant was required to perform a set piece, as well as one other of corresponding difficulty chosen by the performer. In addition to the “Nikolaus De La Flüe” Award, the young performers could also strive for other special awards: the “A.M. Qattan Foundation” Award for accompaniment to a choral selection; the “Zia Pina” Award (in memory of Giuseppina Zeppilli) which awards performers of J.S. Bach; the “Premio Vallesina” Award (dedicated to the Italian association from the Marche region which donated the prestigious Steinway piano) for piano duet and choir; and the “Compania di San Giorgio” Award for piano and orchestra. The “Premio Chopin” Award, added this year, was sponsored by the Representative Office of the Republic of Poland to the Palestinian National Authority.

The Jury
Members of the jury were drawn from local and international conservatories which maintain varying relationships with Magnificat Institute: Professor Lea Agmon, director of the Conservatory at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance; Luca Medici, director of the Swiss Italian Conservatory’s School of Music; Cristina Stella, professor of piano at the Vicenza Conservatory of Music “Arrigo Pedrollo”; and Mary Freiburghaus, professor of piano at the College of Music at Al-Quds University (Palestinian University of Jerusalem). The president of the jury was the founder and director of Magnificat Institute, Fra Armando Pierucci.

The Final Evening
The winners’ concert was presented by Hania Soudah Sabbara, director of the school and by Véronique Nebel, president of the Swiss association, Friends of Magnificat, which is the event’s main sponsor. Each year, Ms. Nebel invites several of the winners to perform in Europe in prestigious locales. The competition, entitled “Nikolaus De La Flüe,” patron saint of the Helvetic Confederation (Swiss Confederation), is a great example of someone who built peace among diverse peoples. Fra Armando wished to remember Mrs. Franca Gandola, recently departed, who was a fervent supporter of efforts on behalf of the Holy Land and Magnificat Institute in particular, encouraging the support of the Compania di San Giorgio for Magnificat Institute’s Piano Competition. The young pianists performed with surety and musical sensitivity before an attentive public. At the concert’s conclusion, the awards were granted to the winners by Véronique Nebel, president of the Friends of Magnificat, by Angelo Piero Bafundi, President of the Compania di San Giorgio, and by Ms. Basia Nino, from the Representative Office of the Republic of Poland to the Palestinian National Authority.

Winners of the 15th Piano Competition 2014

Category A:

Category B:
1st prize : Ekaterina Rofa
Snd prize : Nathalie Rahman
3rd prize: Dana Assali, Joud Boullata, Regina Charly Kides

Category C:
1st prize : Basel Awwad, Fadi Sabat, Jonathan Mnatzaganian, Mohammed Al-Shaikh
Snd prize : Clarita Tabri, Patil Karakashian, Talin Katanasho
3rd prize : Jilnar Manassah

Category D:
1st prize: Jamileh Za’atreh
Snd prize : Christine Batato, Justeen Kort
3rd prize honorary : Sami Sahawany

Category E:
1st prize : Emmanuel Mnatzaganian

Category F:
1st prize : Annie Aslanian
3rd prize : Annie Sivattian

Category H1:
1st prize : Fadi Sabat and Justeen Kort
Snd prize : Ekaterina Rofa, andThea Mansour

Category H3:
1st prize: Emmanuel Mnatzaganian and Annie Aslanian

1st prize : Mohammed Al-Shaikh
Zia Pina
1st prize : Emmanuel Mnatzaganian and Annie Aslanian

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