Young Russian pianist Pavel Kolesnikov has won the grand prize at the Honens International Piano Competition, taking the title of Honens prize laureate for 2012.
The 23-year-old was one of two Russian competitors who advanced into the final round of the prestigious piano competition held once every three years in in Calgary. His compatriot Maria Mazo, 30, was also a semi-finalist and finalist.
Kolesnikov, who played Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23 with the Calgary Philharmonic for his final recital, receives $100,000 in cash and will now also take part in an artistic and career development program valued at $500,000.
"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," Honens artistic director Stephen McHolm said in a statement.
Mazo and the other three finalists — Italy's Lorenzo Cossi, South Korea's Jong-Hai Park and Eric Zuber of the U.S. —received $10,000 each following Friday's finals.
The remaining semi-finalists — including Canada's Avan Yu — took home $2,500 each. Chinese pianist and semi-finalist Zenan Yu was also named winner of the Raeburn Prize for Artist of Special Promise.
"These last 10 days have been an inspiration for music-lovers inside the concert hall and around the world via live and archived webcasts," McHolm said.
"I'm more convinced than ever that Honens is a festival of music and not a traditional knock-em down competition."
For this year's edition, the Honens reached wider audiences than ever before thanks to the decision to live webstream the semifinal and final recital performances. Organizers teamed up with the Banff Centre, CBC Radio as well as Medici.tv, which offers Europeans free live broadcasts of concerts, operas, ballets and similar programming.