Russian Pianist Pavel Kolesnikov Wins 2012 Honens International Piano Competition

Russian Pianist Pavel Kolesnikov Wins 2012 Honens International Piano Competition

Russian pianist Pavel Kolesnikov has been named the Prize Laureate of the 2012 Honens International Piano Competition. Mr. Kolesnikov (age 23) receives the $100,000 Enbridge Prize (cash, CAD) and an artistic and career development program valued at a half million dollars – the largest award of its kind. Finalists Lorenzo Cossi (Italy), Maria Mazo (Russia), Jong-Hai Park (South Korea) and Eric Zuber (United States) each received $10,000 (CAD) prizes and semi-finalist Zenan Yu of China was awarded the $2,500 Raeburn Prize for Artist of Special Promise.

"These last ten days have been an inspiration for music-lovers inside the concert hall and around the world via live and archived webcasts," said Stephen McHolm, Honens' President & Artistic Director. "I'm more convinced than ever that Honens is a festival of music and not a traditional knock-em down competition. The Jury's choice of Pavel Kolesnikov-a thoughtful and inquisitive young musician-is a testament to Honens' commitment to discover musicians with an original voice."

The Second Jury comprised of pianists Aleksandar Madžar, HaeSun Paik and Jon Kimura Parker, cellist Adrian Brendel, Lucerne Festival Executive Director Michael Haefliger, conductor Julian Kuerti, and Hyperion Records Executive Michael Spring selected the Prize Laureate following the finalists' performances with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and its Music Director, Roberto Minczuk on October 25 and 26, 2012.

Honens International Piano Competition is a leader in discovering and launching the careers of young concert pianists. It searches for Complete Artists -- 21st century pianists for 21st century audiences.

For more information on Honens and to view videos of 2012 Semifinals and Finals, visit

Russian pianist Pavel Kolesnikov equates music with fine perfumes, believing both arts simultaneously speak to the heart and subconscious. He began music studies with violin and piano at age six, and played both instruments before concentrating solely on piano after ten years. Kolesnikov studies at Moscow State Conservatory with Sergey Dorensky and at London's Royal College of Music with Norma Fisher. In 2008, he made his recital debut in the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory and has since played both as soloist and chamber musician throughout Russia and in Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. He took part in the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy in 2005 and 2006 and the Verbier Festival and Academy in Switzerland in 2007 and 2009. Kolesnikov is also passionate about literature; he considers Tolstoy the literary incarnation of Beethoven.

The Honens Prize Laureate will be awarded a comprehensive three-year artistic and career development program valued at a half million dollars.

The program includes worldwide general management by Honens for three years; recital debuts in career-building markets that may include Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Munich, New York, Paris and Toronto; residencies at The Banff Centre in preparation for collaborative touring projects, development of repertory and live recordings; a recording on the Hyperion label; and mentorship opportunities with Emanuel Ax, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Leon Fleisher, Angela Hewitt, Stephen Hough and Sir Neville Marriner.

The Artistic & Career Development Program is underwritten in part by donations from Honens Laureate Circle Program members from across Canada.


Adrian Brendel (United Kingdom / Germany)
Cellist Adrian Brendel studied at Winchester College, Cambridge University, and with Frans Helmerson at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, Germany. His close musical relationship with his father, Alfred Brendel, led to many chamber music appearances throughout the world and culminated in a critically acclaimed Philips recording of Beethoven's complete music for cello and piano. Adrian Brendel's piano trio with Till Fellner and Lisa Batiashvili is much in demand throughout Europe. Other recent collaborators include pianist Imogen Cooper, the Jerusalem String Quartet and fellow Honens juror, Aleksandar Madžar. Brendel founded Music at Plush in 1995 and has been festival Music Director throughout its development. He is also Classical Music Director of music label Plushmusic. He regularly offers masterclasses to chamber musicians and even solo pianists because of his vast knowledge of the chamber and solo piano literature. Brendel divides his time between Plush, London and Berlin.

Michael Haefliger (Germany / Switzerland)
The son of tenor Ernst Haefliger, Michael Haefliger earned a degree in violin at The Juilliard School, where he studied with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy Delay (1978-83). He went on to study management at the School of Business, Law, and Social Sciences of St. Gallen University, where he received an Executive MBA, and at Harvard in the General Manager Program. At first, Haefliger pursued a career as a concert violinist. In 1986 he became a co-founder of the Young Artists in Concert Festival in Davos (Switzerland), for which he served as Executive Director until 1998. He was also Artistic Director of the Collegium Novum in Zurich. In 1999, he became Executive Director of Lucerne Festival where he has expanded the annual programs of the organization's three festivals: Easter, Summer and Piano, including the co-founding of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra with Claudio Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Academy with Pierre Boulez. In 2000, the World Economic Forum in Davos named Haefliger a "Global Leader of Tomorrow." He has also received the European Cultural and Innovation Prize (2003) and the Tourism Award from the Lucerne Tourism Forum (2007).

Julian Kuerti (Canada / Canada)
One of the most significant conducting talents to emerge in recent years, Canadian conductor Julian Kuerti has quickly made a name for himself with his confident style, artistic integrity and passion for musical collaboration. Kuerti has led numerous orchestras across North America including the Boston, Houston, Montreal, Toronto, Colorado and Utah symphonies, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony. In 2010, he completed his post as assistant conductor to James Levine at the Boston Symphony. Kuerti was born in Toronto into one of Canada's most distinguished musical families; his father is famed pianist Anton Kuerti. He began his instrumental training on the violin, studying with some of Canada's finest teachers. While completing an honors degree in engineering and physics at the University of Toronto, he kept up the violin, performing as concertmaster and soloist with various Canadian orchestras. After taking a year off and touring Brazil with "Kahana," a Toronto-based world-music band, Kuerti began his conducting studies in 2000 at the University of Toronto. That summer he was accepted as a student at the renowned Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Maine, where he studied for two years with Michael Jinbo and Claude Monteux.