Two First Prize Winners Named:


More than 60 Cellists from around the world competed in competition

Finals were held on Wednesday evening, June 11 in New York City  

June 12, 2008. Wednesday evening, June 11, 2008, the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation announced the winners of the 2008 Naumburg International Violoncello Competition.  Six finalists, out of an international pool of more than 60 cellists, were chosen to compete in the competition’s final round. Two first prize winners were selected (a second prize was not awarded); followed by a third prize; a special award was given to honor the late renowned cellist, Zara Nelsova; and two honorary mentions were also given. The 2008 Walter W. Naumburg International Violoncello Competition was dedicated to the memory of Mstislav Rostropovich.   

The finalists and their prizes are:

First Prize Winner, David Requiro, age 23, a native of Oakland, California, currently attends the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he is pursuing a master of music degree under the tutelage of Richard Aaron.  He received his bachelor of music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and attended the Walnut Hill School for the Arts.  Mr. Requiro was a participant in the New York Strings Seminar with Jaime Laredo, has been a soloist at the Aspen Music Festival, performed recitals in Washington, D.C. at the Phillips Collection, and has performed as soloist with orchestras in California, Arkansas, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Tokyo, Japan.  This summer, he has been invited to perform at the Strings in the Mountains Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and he is currently a member of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players in New York City.  Mr. Requiro’s award includes a cash award of $6000, a New York debut recital, as well as recital and orchestral performances.  

First Prize Winner, Anita Leuzinger, age 26, was born in Zurich, Switzerland.  She currently serves as principal cellist of the Tonhalle-Orchestra Zurich conducted by David Zinman.  In 2007, she received the Soloist-Diploma with Great Distinction from the Musikhochschule Basel where she studied with Thomas Demenga. She plays a Stradivari cello, on loan to her by the Stradivari Foundation Habisreutinger.  Ms. Leuzinger’s prize includes a cash award of $6000, a New York debut recital, as well as recital and orchestral performances. 

Third Prize Winner, Sébastien Hurtaud, age 29 from France, studied at the Conservatoire National Superior of Music in Paris with Jean-Marie Gamrad, and Raphael Perraud, as well as the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where he was given a Final Concert Diploma with Distinction.  He has performed recitals in France, England, Germany, and Japan as well as a concert series with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Hurtaud received a cash award of $2500. 

Zara Nelsova Award, Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir, age 24 from Iceland, came to the United States in 2002 to study with Richard Aaron, later moving to New York to study at Juilliard with Joel Krosnick.  She has collaborated with the Cavani Quartet, Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, and has played with Itzhak Perlman.  Ms. Thorsteinsdottir received a cash award of $1500. 

Honorable Mention, Umberto Clerici, age 27 a native of Turin, Italy, received his diploma from the Turin Conservatory with full marks.  Later studies were at Germany’s University of Augsburg and Nurnberg with Julius Berger.  He is soloist in residence with the Turin Philharmonic and collaborates as principal cellist at La Scala Opera House in Milan. Mr. Clerici received a cash award of $500. 

Honorable Mention, David Eggert, age 23, attends McGill University in Montreal, Canada where he studies with Matt Haimovitz.  From 2003-2005 he attended New England Conservatory studying with Laurence Lesser, and has performed as a soloist in Canada, the United States, Austria, Croatia and Israel.  Mr. Eggert received a cash award of $500. 

More than sixty cellists coming from fifteen countries and sixteen U.S. States, competed in the competition’s preliminary round which took place June 4 - June 7 in Manhattan School of Music’s Miller Recital Hall.  Fifteen cellists where chosen to compete in the semi-final round taking place on Monday, June 9 in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The final round was held on Wednesday night, June 11 in the John C. Borden Auditorium at Manhattan School of Music.  The competition was open to cellists of every nationality, not under the age of 17 or more than 31 years of agePast winners of the Naumburg Violoncello Competition include Daniel Saidenberg (1927), Harvey Shapiro (1935), Lorne Monroe (1949), Ronald Leonard (1955), Nathaniel Rosen (1977), Andres Diaz (1986), and Li Wei Qin and Clancy Newman, co-winners (2001).

The 2008 Naumburg Cello Competition jury included Robert Mann, Thomas Demenga, Andre Emelianoff, Norman Fischer, Jean-Michel Fontaineau, David Geber, Bonnie Hampton, Wolfram Koessel, and Barbara Mallow.  The composer Richard Wernick joined the jury for the final round.   

The Walter W. Naumburg Foundation was founded on June 8, 1926 by Walter W. Naumburg and continues today in the pursuit of ideals set out by Mr. Naumburg.  His desire to assist gifted young musicians in America has made possible a longstanding program of competitions and awards in solo and chamber music performance, composer recordings, and conducting.  It was Mr. Naumburg’s firm belief that such competitions not only benefit the new stars, but would also be for these talented young musicians who would become prime movers in the development of the highest standards of musical excellence throughout America.  Robert Mann has been president of the Naumburg Foundation since 1971. 

The next Naumburg Competition will be for Chamber Music to be held in June 2009.