Lukas Vondracek, an Artist Diploma candidate studying with Hung-Kuan Chen, has won the First Prize in the Unisa International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa. The 25-year old pianist takes home with him a total of $35,000 in prize money including the Unisa Grand Price; the Best Performance of Dazzle, the new work composed for the competition by Klatzow; the Best Recital in the third round and the best performances in part 1 and 2 of the final round.
A native of the Czech Republic, Vondracek ’12 has previously won First Prize in the 2010 Hilton Head International Piano Competition in South Carolina, and was awarded The Raymond E. Buck Jury Discretionary Award at the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The pianist can next be heard in a lunchtime recital on February 24 at 12:15 p.m. at the Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington St. in downtown Boston. He will also give his Artist’s Diploma concert, May 13 at 3 p.m. in NEC’s Jordan Hall. http://necmusic.edu/music-
Vondracek is the recipient of NEC’s Emma V. Lambrose Presidential Scholarship.
The Unisa Competition is among the programs of the Unisa Music Foundation. It has as its mission to promote music in all its forms at the University of South Africa and throughout South and Southern Africa. Besides international competitions for piano, strings, and voice, it also sponsors national competitions, presents concerts, and organizes master classes and music tuition projects. It has also built a collection of musical instruments and maintains the pianos, organ, and harpsichord at the University. The first International Piano Competition was held in 1982 and was won by the Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin. Other winners have included Metropolitan Opera artists Renée Fleming, Summi Jo, and Johan Botha.
Biography of Lukas Vondracek
Born in Opava, Czech Republic, in 1986, Lukas Vondracek’s musical ability was spotted at the age of two by his parents, both professional pianists.
He gave his first concert at the age of 4 and since then has visited 27 different countries and given more than 1000 concerts. His first international tour was at the age of 10 (1997), when he performed at various festivals in the UK and the USA. In the intervening years he gave many recital and concerto performances throughout his home country as well as abroad. He also spent time studying at the Vienna Hochschule with Prof. Peter Barcaba, at the Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland, with Prof. Andrzej Jasinsky, and at Ostrava University with Prof. Rudolf Bernatik. In 2001, he was awarded the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Award for the most exceptional young artist in Europe.
Currently, Mr. Vondracek is pursuing an Artist Diploma at the New England Conservatory in Boston under the tutelage of Hung-Kuan Chen.
Vladimir Ashkenazy was the conductor when Lukas made his debut with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in May of 2002 with concerts in Prague and Italy. Since then he has appeared frequently with the Orchestra, including a major US tour (perfomance at Carnegie Hall), and concerts in Cologne, Lucerne, Vienna, Bad Kissingen, and Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.
Performances in Germany, Switzerland, Canada, United States, Nigeria, Venezuela and Great Britain were among the highlights of the 2010/2011 season.
In 2011/2012, Vondracek’s engagements include concerts with the Orchestre National de Belgique, Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa, London Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra.
For further information, check the NEC Website at: www.necmusic.edu/ or call the NEC Concert Line at 617-585-1122. NEC’s Jordan Hall, Brown Hall, Williams Hall and the Keller Room are located at 30 Gainsborough St., corner of Huntington Ave. St. Botolph Hall is located at 241 St. Botolph St. between Gainsborough and Mass Ave.