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TESS CREBBIN previews the Kronberg Academy's
Second International Pablo Casals Cello Competition


Is it possible to become addicted to an instrument? If you asked the recently deceased world-class cellist Boris Pergamenschikow, it is. In a 2002 interview he said that, if you want to become a top cellist and have any other interests outside cello you need to find yourself another job. That's a pretty good definition of an addict. You think, breathe and live your addiction. It is a good addiction, of course, much healthier than drugs or alcohol. In Pergamenschikow's case, he effortlessly passed the addiction on to his public: the effect of listening to the Russian virtuoso's gushing cello is that you can become so addicted to the profundity of his performance that you end up listening to it at all times of day and night, and even look forward to getting home again when out and about, just to turn on the CD player for another round of cello music. That, again, comes pretty close to defining an addict. Very few cellists in the world can and could achieve this kind of dramatic effect with their listeners. Pergamenschikow, whose name was prominently linked to the Cellist Meeting Hub Kronberg Academy, was one of them. Another one was Pablo Casals, and now one of the most important worldwide contests for cellists, the International Pablo Casals Cello Competition, will take place from 25 August to 5 September 2004 at the Kronberg Academy near Frankfurt, Germany.

Boris Pergamenschikow working with a student at the Kronberg Academy. Photo: Kronberg Academy
Boris Pergamenschikow working with a student at the Kronberg Academy. Photo: Kronberg Academy

The jury is made up of first class talent. Honorary President is Mrs Marta Casals Istomin, the widow of the legendary cellist and humanitarian Pablo Casals. It was her wish that every four years the Kronberg Academy would organize this international cello competition. The chairman is Bernard Greenhouse, the eighty eight year old senior patron of cellists who had studied with Pablo Casals. The jury is composed of the cellists Julius Berger (Germany), Young-Chang Cho (Korea), Michael Flaksman (Germany), Natalia Gutman (Russia), Frans Helmerson (Sweden), Gary Hoffman (USA) and Raimund Trenkler (Germany) who is also the musical director of the Kronberg Academy. Another member of the jury is the French composer, Graciane Finzi, who composed a work especially for the competition. For the finale, Mstislav Rostropovich and the famous conductor Kurt Masur (Germany) will join the jury.

Raimund Trenkler. Photo: Kronberg Academy
Raimund Trenkler. Photo: Kronberg Academy

First prize is an award of fifteen thousand euros. There are a total of six cash awards and three special prizes: a special prize of two thousand five hundred euros for the best interpretation of the work composed for the competition by Mrs Graciane Finzi, the Eugene Istomin Prize of two thousand five hundred euros for promising young artists who have distinguished themselves by their outstanding musicality, and the special prize awarded by Mrs Marta Casals Istomin: the loan of Pablo Casals' cello for two years.

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Copyright © 23 August 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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