Those who teach or play the piano will know the significance of G. Henle Verlag. Henle is a world-leading publishing house focusing on urtext editions, that is, editions which solely remain true to the composer’s intentions. Based in Munich, Germany, this publishing house will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary next year, so do keep an eye open for their forthcoming celebrations.
Henle’s beautifully presented editions, resplendent with copious practical performance and historical notes, excellent typesetting, and unmistakable soft blue covers, make them an obvious choice for students, amateurs and professionals alike. All my students use their editions, as do I.
Last month, I had the pleasure of being a jury member at the 2022 G. Henle Verlag Piano Competition. I’ve judged many a piano competition, but have never been a jury member at such a large scale event. The 2022 competition was held online, with participants uploading their video performances, which were presented on Henle’s YouTube channel.
This competition is essentially for younger children with three age categories, ranging between 6 and 11 years old. The competition, which has been running for over ten years, focuses on a different composer every year, and this year’s choice was Robert Schumann’s Scenes From Childhood Op. 15 or Album For The Young Op. 68. Such a selection offers participants a wide variety of styles from which they could pick any one piece.
There were four jury members; Professor Claudius Tanski (piano professor at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria), Professor Frank Huang (piano professor at Miami University of Oxford, Ohio, US), Dr. Wolf-Dieter Seiffert (managing director of G. Henle Verlag), and myself. We heard a total of 651 entries – a staggering number, in my opinion. The first round was a solo listening affair; we listened remotely, awarding each competitor a mark, and those with the highest marks were put forward to the ‘final’ round. Our ‘online’ final consisted of lengthy discussions and many replays of various performances, however, we were in complete agreement regarding the winners.
I really enjoyed hearing such fascinating and ‘personal’ performances of this marvellous composer’s shorter compositions. Interpretation is key regarding the works of Schumann. Perhaps more than any other composer, Schumann’s music is a deep reflection of his soul. Those competitors who were successful tapped into this effectively, presenting illuminating and expressive accounts.
An overall winner was awarded in each category, followed by second and third placed participants (who all received prize money), as well as a list of highly commended competitors (who received Henle scores).
You can hear all the performances on Henle’s YouTube channel, here, and review the prize winners, here. I’ve linked the three overall winners below.
I’m already looking forward to judging next year’s competition!
Age Group 1
Yudi Zheng from Marbach/Neckar, Germany
Age Group 2
Clive Terrence Wijaya from Surabaya, Indonesia
Age Group 3
Charisse Chung from Hong Kong
You can find out more about G. Henle Verlag, here.
Melanie Spanswick has written and published a wide range of courses, anthologies, examination syllabuses, and text books, including Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). This best-selling graded, progressive piano course contains a large selection of repertoire featuring a huge array of styles and genres, with copious practice tips and suggestions for every piece.
For more information, please visit the publications page, here.
2 Comments Add yours
The Henle-Verlag: I watched the first two, Clive and Ma Li, and heard Clive play the first Bach Invention, and am thoroughly delighted. The girl who played Schumann could wake up the block with such a sprightly performance, and no pedal (!) because her legs are still way too short to reach the pedals. This year I lost about half the use of my left hand and with it 90% of my classical repertoire, and it does me a great deal of good to see young people carrying on the ministry of beautiful music well-played, not just accurate but powerful, lovely.
Thank you for your comments, Greg. 🙂