Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder announces the winner of the new Swiss piano prize “Prix Serdang”.

Curator Rudolf Buchbinder, together with initiator Adrian Flury, have named the 25-year-old British pianist Martin James Bartlett as the first winner of the new piano prize Prix Serdang”. This award will be presented on 2 July 2022 at a recital by the prize-winner at the Villa Serdang in Feldbrunnen near Solothurn.

The idea behind the “Prix Serdang” arose during the pandemic. It serves to promote and maintain artistic creation, and is not a competition. The prize is endowed with CHF 50,000 and will be awarded annually from 2022 onwards. Curator Rudolf Buchbinder evaluates suitable candidates in consultation with international organisers, festival directors, and in particular with conductors and soloists close to him, and recommends a maximum of three young talents. The final prize-winner is chosen by Adrian Flury and Thomas Pfiffner.

“I am very grateful that we were able to win Rudolf Buchbinder with his incomparable expertise as curator for the ‘Prix Serdang'”, says founder and initiator Adrian Flury. This prize is not only intended as a promotional award, but also recognises previous achievements in a still young career, and is intended to support the prize-winner on his or her international career path.

The pianist Rudolf Buchbinder deliberately refrains from participating in juries for competitions or prizes with a competitive character, “because these present just a snapshot and are not meaningful enough in my opinion. And that’s what makes the ‘Prix Serdang’ so unique for me, that we can observe the candidates over a longer period of time. Ultimately, the focus is on their artistic work, but the person behind it, the personality of the young artist and his or her attitude and approach are also important to us. The intention is to award this prize to young artists who are at the beginning of their career and have already gained some experience. The prize can be a great support as they proceed with their career, providing impetus and opening up new possibilities.

“The special feature of the ‘Prix Serdang’ is also that the prize is not tied to any conditions. The dream of owning one’s own piano, participation in courses, perhaps a composition commission – many a project can be realised through this generous prize. It is a major stepping-stone. And of course, we will also endeavour to create one or more further performance opportunities for our prize-winners. With Martin James Bartlett, we have made a promising first choice”.

Following the announcement of the “Prix Serdang”, Martin James Bartlett commented: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to have been awarded the ‘Prix Serdang’. I am immensely grateful to have been awarded this in its inaugural year!

It’s incredibly humbling and life-affirming to know that this award has been created in order to help the younger generation of musicians. It’s very touching, especially after such difficult times.

I’ve always been deeply inspired, not only by Rudolf Buchbinder’s wonderful pianism and conducting, but also his contributions to the art of music as a whole”.

Martin James Bartlett possesses a fearless technique and plays with a maturity and elegance far beyond his years. Bartlett was described as an ‘outstanding keyboard talent at the top of his game’ by Gramophone and has been an exclusive recording artist with Warner Classics since 2019. He has released two critically acclaimed albums; Love & Death which explores solo piano works from Bach to Prokofiev and Rhapsody, recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Joshua Weilerstein, which features Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Bartlett began his musical studies at the age of six and his early public success was as the winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2014. The following year he made his BBC Proms debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2021 he graduated with a first class degree from the Royal College of Music, where he studied with Professor Vanessa Latarche, and was awarded the Queen Mother Rosebowl by HRH Prince Charles. Martin James Bartlett is represented by Intermusica worldwide.

Rudolf Buchbinder is one of the legendary performers of our time. The authority of a career spanning more than 60 years is uniquely combined with esprit and spontaneity in his piano playing. Tradition and innovation, faithfulness and freedom, authenticity and open-mindedness merge in his reading of the great piano literature.

Buchbinder is an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien, the Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the first soloist to be awarded the Golden Badge of Honor by the Staatskapelle Dresden.

He is the exclusive artist of Deutsche Grammophon, which with the edition BUCHBINDER:BEETHOVEN created a sounding monument to two outstanding Buchbinder-Beethoven cycles of recent times.

As Artistic Director, he is responsible for the Grafenegg Festival, which has been one of the most influential orchestral festivals in Europe since its founding 15 years ago.

The Villa Serdang in Feldbrunnen near Solothurn, originally built in 1644 and rebuilt as an art nouveau villa in 1892, has been used as a meeting place for cultural purposes since it was renovated in 2012. It is a place where people and culture meet.

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