Overwhelming public support at the ARD


Outstanding Results in four categories, as uncertain future lies ahead for Munich


After a spectacular performance and standing ovations, the final prizes of the 72nd ARD International Music Competition were awarded in the category of Viola. At Munich's Herkulessaal, Haesue Lee (23) won first prize and the audience award, while Takehiro Konoe (25) and Ionel Ungureanu (28) each won a third prize. No second prize was awarded. In total, four first, four second and four third prizes were awarded at this year's competition (see below).

Meret Forster and Falk Häfner, the two artistic directors of the ARD Music Competition commented: "We are delighted about top musical performances and outstanding prize winners! The number of participants, the extremely high level of playing, and the enthusiasm of the audience stand once again for the success and international importance of the ARD Music Competition."

Out of 345 applications from 41 countries, 215 candidates were admitted to the competition to compete for a total prize money of 127.500 Euro plus special prizes of 43.000 Euro. A total of 32 jurors worked in the four categories (Viola, double bass, harp and piano trio). 33 public events featured 3 semifinals with the Munich Chamber orchestra as well as 3 finals with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. 



Viola winners Takehiro Konoe, Haesue Lee and Ionel Ungureanu

Double bass winners Hongyiu Thomas Lai, Gabriel Polonsky and José Trigo

Harp winners Lea Maria Löffler, Tjasha Garner and Alexandra Bidi

Trio Pantoum, Trio Oregon and Amelio Trio

Renown around the world for its artistic excellence and outstanding laureates, the ARD competition is clearly the most important such institution in Germany. Public interest remains high, and the range of instruments offered is the largest of any competition in the world. Besides pianists and singers, countless other instrumentalists have been “discovered” by the ARD and today play in most major orchestras around the world- such as the 26 year old Korean Yubeen Kim, who was recently named principal flute of the San Francisco Symphony.

Despite its extraordinary success story, the future of the ARD Competition is now in danger. Public broadcasters are increasingly focussing on audience shares and revenue-based productions. Due to severe budget cuts, the ARD Competition will have to cut the number of disciplines from four to three and might even have to change its annual to a biannual rotation. Sad news to say the least. 
With continued budget cuts, the ARD Competition cannot maintain its international standard and reputation. 
Trying to strike a positive tone, BR Speaker Markus Huber mentioned in a recent press conference, that “2025 has been secured and 2026 has not been cancelled”, but one cannot help but wonder why one of the most respected public broadcasters is neglecting an iconic cultural institution like the ARD Competition so badly. 



1st Prize: Haesue Lee(23)
2nd prize: Not given
3rd prize: Takehiro Konoe(26), Ionel Ungureanu(28)
Audience Prize: Haesue Lee

Lars Anders Tomter(Chair), Steven Ansell, Tatjana Masurenko, Jutta Puchhammer-Sédillot, Naoko Shimizu, Edward Vanderspar, Wen Xiao Zheng, 
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Grams(Conductor)

1st Prize: Tjasha Gafner(24)
2nd prize: Lea Maria Löffler(25), Alexandra Bidi(21)
3rd prize: Not given
Audience prize: Tjasha Gafner

Marie Pierre Langlamet(Chair), Sarah Christian, Anneleen Lenaerts, Bryn Lewis, Ion Ivan Roncea, Petra van der Heide, Jessica Zhou
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Grams(Conductor)

Double Bass
1st Prize: Gabriel Polinsky
2nd prize: Hongyiu Thomas Lai(26)
3rd prize: José Trigo(26)
Audience Prize: Hongyiu Thomas Lai

Timothy Cobb(Chair), Heinrich Braun, Michinori Bunya, Christine Hoock, Goran Kostic, Daniele Roccato, Sandrine Vautrin, 
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Grams(Conductor)

Piano Trio
1st Prize: Trio Orelon (Judith Stapf, Arnau Rovira i Bascompte, Marco Sanna)
2nd prize: Amelio Trio (Johanna Schubert, Merle Geißler, Philipp Kirchner)
3rd prize: Trio Pantoum (Virgile Rocher, Hugo Meder, Bo-Geun Park)
Audience Prize: Trio Orelon

Susan Tomes(Chair), Jitka Čechová, Soo Kyung Hong, Esther Hoppe, Per Lundberg, Raphaël Pidoux, Annette von Hehn


©WFIMC 2023