South Korean Cellist Han Jae-min on Thursday (local time) climbed to third place of the 75th Geneva International Music Competition, being awarded the special Rose-Marie Huguenin prize. Han became the first South Korean cellist winning an award of the concours in Geneva in 50 years since Chung Myung-wha ranked first place in 1971.
As the youngest finalist of the competition, the 15-year-old cellist played Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor in collaboration with Orchestra of the Suisse Romande. Michiaki Ueno from Japan and Bryan Cheng from Canada took the first and second spots, respectively.
Becoming the third winner brought 8,000 Swiss francs (CHF), or about 10.24 million won, in prize money, to Han, additionally offering him an opportunity to hold an overseas concert tour for two years and sign a two-year management contract with ProMusica Concert Agency. Han said that his joining of this competition allowed him to nurture his musical competence, promising to work hard to meet high expectations as a prospective cellist. In May, he won the George Enescu International Cello Competition. Supported by the Kumho Arts, Han this year got accepted to Korea National University of Arts as a prodigy. South Korean rankers of the Geneva International Music Competition include composer Cho Kwang-ho in 2013, pianist Mun Ji-yeong in 2014, composer Choi Jae-hyuck in 2018 and percussionist Park Hye-ji in 2019.
Founded in 1939, the Geneva International Music Competition alternates between eight main disciplines such as piano, flute, clarinet and cello. A composition prize is presented every two years, and artists aged 29 or below are qualified to join.