Presentation 65th edition Maria Canals Barcelona Contest



March 20th, 2019

Young and talented pianists from all over the world gather in Barcelona for the 65th edition of the Maria Canals International Music Competition

  • A total of 88 young and talented pianists from 33 different countries will take part in the 65th Maria Canals Competition, between March 23rd and April 4th, 2019.
  • The Competition will be held at the Palau de la Música Catalana and will consist of two preliminary rounds, a semi-final and a final with orchestra.
  • Music and spring are the unifying thread of this year’s Maria Canals International Music Competition, which also puts together a great number of educational, social and informative activities within the framework of the OFF Competition.
  • This year’s new image has been devised and will be presented by visual artist Tatiana Blanqué.
  • As a new project, piano works will be commissioned to Catalan composers, and the contestants will add such works to their own repertoire.

The 65th edition of the Maria Canals International Music Competition (the most prestigious event of its kind in Spain), to be held between March 23rd and April 4th, has been presented today at a press conference in Restaurant 7 Portes. The Chairwoman of the Association, Mariona Carulla, has begun by welcoming the media and thanking the entire community of the Competition (volunteers, families, sponsors and the public administration) for their involvement.
The event has been led by Jordi Vivancos, General manager of the Competition, who has stated that: "MCB is all about young people who are growing and trying to bloom while the streets are filled with music and pianos. The tickets do not have a profit-making purpose; the goal is for our young students to listen to pianists from other countries play". He insisted that "rigor, prestige and credibility are not earned from one day to another: we have been doing the right job for 65 editions".
As spring arrives, Barcelona is once again at the centre stage of piano practice. This year, a total of 88 pianists from 33 different countries (62 male and 26 female), with an average age of 23,5 years, will take part in the Competition. An artistic commission under the supervision of Mr Carlos Cebro, Artistic Director of the Competition and President of the Jury, has been in charge of the selection. This year, a change has been made regarding the required age of the contestants, who must be between 17 to 28 years old. The jury deemed appropriate to accept two 17 year-old contestants. In addition, there will be 7 Spanish contestants, 3 of which are Catalan. “It's interesting", said Vivancos "to notice the fact that many contestants repeat the experience and some have actually won the second time”. He has also highlighted the human dimension of the Competition, mentioning the families hosting the contestants.
A total of 240 young talents applied to participate in this year’s competition, 40 more than in the last edition, an all-time record. Korea will be the most represented country followed by Japan, China and Russia. The registered contestants mainly live in Germany, United States and Great Britain.
The members of our prestigious jury, presided over by Carlos Cebro(Uruguay/France), Artistic Director of the Competition, are disclosed together with the accepted contestants, according to the strict standards set by the Competition. The members of this year’s jury are as follows: Albert Attenelle (Spain), Tomas Böckheler (Germany), Ewa Osinska (Poland), Pavel Nersessian (Russia), Sunghoon Simon Hwang (South Korea), Danielle Laval (France), Mladen Tcholitch (Serbia/France) and Begoña Uriarte (Spain/Germany). Attenelle, Hwang, Laval and Tcholitch are members of the Maria Canals Competition jury for the first time, and Mladen Tcholitch, Hwang, Laval and Begoña Uriarte have been prizewinners in previous editions. No pupil or relative of a member of the jury has been allowed to register for the competition. 
The Competition is divided into two preliminary rounds (the first round from March 24th to March 27th, the second round on March 28th and 29th), a semi-final on March 31st and a final with orchestra on April 3rd, to be held at the Palau de la Música Catalana, where the finalists and the JONC (Jove Orquestra Nacional de Catalunya), under the baton of Manuel Valdivieso, will perform three concerts for piano and orchestra. The final will be recorded by Catalunya Música and broadcast on April 5th at 11.00am. Beyond the glamour of the final with the JONC, supported by Fundació Banc Sabadell, Vivancos has acknowledge the importance of the rounds as a vehicle to bring the piano closer to people.
The winners will receive over €80,000 worth in prizes, between main prizes (the first prize awarded by Fundació Jesús Serra, worth €25,000; the second prize awarded by Fundació Carulla, worth €10,000; and the third prize awarded by Fundació Lluís Coromina, worth €6,000), special prizes and recitals in prestigious concert halls such as the Palau de la Música Catalana. The Competition offers a total of 25 paid recitals and concerts with orchestra, four of which will be held within the regular seasons of the Granada, Bilbao, Tenerife and Madrid orchestras, thanks to the Fundació Jesús SerraIgnacio Gallardo, General manager of the foundation, has expressed that: "it is an honour to be able to offer, since last year, a prize of €25,000. Jesús Serra was passionate about piano and poetry, and we want to keep his spirit alive.
For the first time, on occasion of this 65th edition, the Association of the Maria Canals International Music Competition has commissioned a piano work to a contemporary composer, to be performed by the winners in the concerts offered by the Competition. In addition, all contestants will be encouraged to add this piece to their own repertoire. The first commission was made to Catalan composer Jordi Cervelló (1935), who presents Recordant a Maria CanalsYolanda Guasch, editor of Boileau, has read a text by Cervelló explaining that he has tried to convey the musical influences of Maria Canals and the whole pianistic scene in Barcelona through his score.

The OFF Competition and the Competition feed one other
The Maria Canals “Porta Cua” is the OFF Competition’s most successful effort, and this year the Association has launched an initiative to bring the piano closer to people, visiting Barcelona’s 10 districts in 10 days. The Maria Canals’ grand piano began its tour on March 13th at Plaça de Sants (Sants) and will end on March 22ndat Plaça Reial, where the marathon day will take place with performances by professional pianists, local piano students, bands and a flower workshop to welcome spring, with the support of La Reial, Fundació Setba and Drap-Art. Patricia Sampere has stated that: "a piano will be stationed at Plaza Reial throughout the day, with performances and the construction of a vertical garden with flower workshops led by Dolo Navas, from Drap-Art, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the association”.
Just like every year, the Fundació Jesús Serra and Maria Canals fill Passeig de Gràcia with grand pianos. On March 30th, between 10:00am and 8:00pm, the most emblematic street in Barcelona will become a feast of scores and improvisation, by professionals and amateurs, students and passers-by, which will be captured by the magic of the piano. Between Plaça Catalunya and Jardinets de Gràcia, a total of 10 grand pianos will be available for those who wish to play, with the support of the Competition’s coordinators.
The piano that was until now placed at Sagrada Família metro station will tour the city as a part of the Maria Canals “Porta Cua” initiative. Its first stop will be Universitat metro station (L1, L4), as an appetizer for the grand piano being placed at Diagonal station, which every year marks the beginning of the Competition. The grand piano will be at Diagonal metro station between March 22nd and April 4th. Jordi Vivancos has shared the following story: "every day, after I drop my kids to school, I take the metro and see a lady with a mobile application where you can play Bach thanks to some colour codes”. On the same note, he has added: "we are a classic competition, but when the piano takes the street it becomes imbued with modern music”.

Can you play? #Johitoco
The Maria Canals Competition aims to encourage musical practice —and more specifically, piano playing— regardless of the age, gender, preference or social conditions. That is why we invite you to play the piano, record yourself while doing so and, above all, explain what this means to you. The Maria Canals Competition has set up a Youtube channel, the Player’s Gallery, so that participants can upload their videos and publish them with hashtag #johitoco. This initiative will begin on March 22nd, coinciding with the marathon.

Season’s image
This year, the communication line of the Maria Canals Competition wants to bring together music and nature, as the competition takes place in early spring. We have chosen a fresh image, with a range of greens representing the leaves of the trees in a sudden burst of life. But we have not forgotten the grand piano, the centrepiece of all the Association’s activities, from the professional to the informative side.
The creator of the image, Tatiana Blanqué, stated that: "I have always found the Palau de la Música fascinating, so I was particularly enthusiastic about this commission. The work has gone through different stages, from bare nature to the application of the piano, first in green, then in translucent black. The flowers come out of the keyboard as musical notes in the form of nature. The forest is the pentagram of this year's image".
Finally, the Maria Canals Dessert has been presented, which, according to Mr. Parellada: "brings together the sadness and love of Maria Canals with white and black chocolate and a mint leaf representing hope". The act has ended with an unexpected improvisation by a journalist and Jordi Vivancos, on the piano of the 7 Portes.