It’s men only in ARD cello final

It’s men only in ARD cello final


norman lebrecht

September 10, 2019

The ARD jury chaired by Lynn Harrell selected these six finalists:
Jérémy Garbarg (France)
Sihao He (China)
Marcel Johannes Kits (Estonia)
Haruma Sato (Japan, pictured)
Anton Mecht Spronk (Netherlands/Switzerland)
Friedrich Thiele (Germany)



  • V.Lind says:




  • Jim says:

    I notice it’s only cellists from the Northern hemisphere. Do you think it’s been rigged?
    What were they wearing? What are their eye colours?
    I’m sure it’s very important to know so that keyboard warriors can pass judgement.

    • Stuart says:

      what is truly shocking is that it is only cellists in the ARD Cello Final. This has to change – we need greater diversity.

  • Connor says:

    What does their gender have to do with anything? It’s the music that matters

  • Feuerwoman says:

    Prize winners in past so called “big” cello competitions:

    Paulo Cello Competition Helsinki
    Out of 6 finalists – 1 woman (jury related)
    Out of 6 finalists – 1 woman

    Queen Elisabeth Cello Competition 2017
    Out of 12 finalists – 2 women (jury related)
    All 6 prize winners men

    Tchaikovsky Competition, Cello division 2015
    Out of 25 candidates in the 1st round – 5 women
    Out of 6 finalists – 1 woman (jury related)
    All prize winners men (1st-5th)
    All prize winners men (1st-6th)

    ARD Competition, Cello division
    Out of 7 semifinalists – 1 woman
    All 3 finalists men
    All 6 semifinalists men, and – logically – all 3 finalists men

    Rostropovich Competition
    All prize winners men (1st-4th)
    Out of 6 finalists – 2 women
    First prize was given to Marie-Elisabeth Hecker!

    Although it was a real wonder to see two women in the finals at this year’s Tchaikovsky, one has to go back until 2005 to actually find a woman winning 1st prize at a major cello competition. So why is noone talking about this?

    • Bruce says:

      Quick question: in your list, what does “jury related” mean? (Student of a jury member, maybe?) Were there any male contestants who were also “jury related”?

      • Giovanni Orsini says:

        “Jury Related” means running to Mr “Ex-Soviet/German Cellist” and others for “extra lessons” a few months before the competition in the hope that he’ll pull strings for you. Which he will, just as long and you’re studying with one of his ex-students.

  • Kun says:

    I am all for empowerment, but what if these 6 cellists were indeed the best 6, regardless of gender?

    • Feuerwoman says:

      Sure, they might be. But is it possible that in the last 15 years there was only one single female cellist who could win a 1st prize, and noone else? The numbers are a bit extreme. The violin-world looks so much more balanced.

    • Grabenassel says:

      What is „best“?

  • Steven Honigberg says:

    Yet another cello competition. The Tchaikovsky barely in the rear view mirror and we have another one judged by whom this time? This jury knows it all, right? And what are they judging – technique? Speed? Nerves of steel? Accuracy? Memory? Vibrato? Tone? How about ARTISTIC MERIT? Great and how many 20 year-olds can possibly have deep knowledge about life and show this in their playing interpreting our great oeuvres? This has gotten ridiculous. Signed Emanuel Feuermann, Leonard Rose, Pierre Fournier, Gregor Piatigorsky and Pablo Casals.

    • Giovanni Orsini says:

      Sorry Steve, but it’s easy for you to say that from the other side of a cushy job in the NSO. Those who are trying to make themselves known in today’s merciless and way more competitive world, have to do competitions. Win some, lose some. Period.

      • Grabenassel says:

        No, they donˋt have to do competitions. It may be one small step to find a place in the musical business, but there is much more about it than winning a competition. There are legions of prizewinners, forgotten today….btw it would be interesting to know, what you mean with „cushy job“? I think I met Steve way back at the Rostro-Competition….he probably knows what he is talking about….

        • Giovanni Orsini says:

          So why does he do the Rostropovich competition of he doesn’t like competitions? “Cushy job”, in today’s music world, means any job at all. There are thousands of us younger musicians struggling without jobs and opportunities. It’s a fine job and he earned it, and I’m glad for him. But it’s easy to pontificate about competitions and all their ills etc from a position of sheltered employment, rather considering the other side of the coin, which is young people looking for opportunities to make the music they want to as a career. It’s tough out there.

          • Steven Honigberg says:

            Giovanni. I did the competition circuit up until I was in my late twenties. I did fairly well in some and was non existent in others (after I competed in the Naumberg in NY – four years later, in the NSO and all, I wasn’t passed through the tape round). I have seen competitions in a different light for years now. They are not worth it unless you have a soul of steel. I don’t. That was my problem. I expected… It was always a devastating blow to walk off a stage not having played my best because I felt the judges eyes and pens itching to eliminate me. Or that I was simply uncomfortable with the stage, the 5-10 minutes allotted me or my assigned pianist was awful. It was a rough feeling that I had to put behind me if I was to move forward. I also had no guidance because my teacher, Leonard Rose, had died when I was 21. Rostropovich was of course an influence because I worked for him but even he threw curve balls at the profession by having his own competition, which always seemed incongruous to everything he stood for. I think much of that was ego oriented.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Feuerwoman, can you tell us what “(Jury related)” mean in this sense? Or anyone else who knows?

  • Tamino says:

    „Sometimes a man is just a man.“

    Siegmund Freud

  • David says:

    it only matters if they are qualified .

  • Edgar Self says:

    Many hanks, Feuerwoman. I guessed it meant that but wasn’t ure. If you see Feuermann (Emanuel) around, give a shout. He died in 1942 at 39 after botched minor surgery. Heifetz never forgave him. Israeli cellist Amit Peled is something in his line. I’ve heard him twice with Ilya Kaler’s trio.

  • Altfloete says:

    These were the semi-finalists, actually. Only three of them made the final round.

    • Feuerwoman says:

      I see what you are trying to say, and I certainly follow more cello competitions than violin, so I’m perhaps not informed well enough regarding violin competitions in the last 15 years, but you know what? After all those years, I would love to see just ONE cello competition, where the finalists/laureates would be at least 50/50 men/women. This year’s ARD 2nd round had 13 men, and 3 women. It is quite difficult from there…

  • Pablo Casals says:

    It’s because Ella van Poucke didnt participate.

    • Feuerwoman says:

      Probably she doesn’t want to participate at competitions anymore, because she got so hurt at Tchaikovsky 4 years ago, in the so called 0. Round (Moscow, no public is allowed to listen, no streaming, 4 jurors could basically do whatever they wanted, before medici tv arrived for the 1st round…) that she even denied to some of her friends she was there at all. Hashtag empowerment. I wish her all the best, let’s hope she won’t need competitions to succeed…