Alban Gerhardt of Germany beat out 41 young cellists from all over the world to win the first University of Maryland International Leonard Rose Cello Competition Saturday night with a performance of the Dvorak Cello Concerto at the Kennedy Center. Gerhardt, 24, wins a cash prize of $20,000 and several engagements, including a New York recital Nov. 13 in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall.
The cello competition joins the William Kapell Piano Competition and the Marian Anderson Vocal Competition as the three prestigious music contests, which are given in conjunction with workshops and recitals given by well-known performers and teachers, sponsored by the University of Maryland at College Park.
The cello competition now alternates with the other two contests on a revolving three-year basis.
The contest was named after Leonard Rose, who died 10 years ago and who was the first American-born cellist to achieve international fame. Aside from being regarded as one of the greatest performers on his instrument, Rose was the most celebrated cello teacher of the second half of the 20th century.
His students -- to name just a few -- included Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell and Stephen Kates, who teaches at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.
The jury's decision Saturday night after Gerhardt and the other two finalists performed with the National Symphony and conductor Yan pascal Tortelier took only 15 minutes and was unanimous.
The second-prize winner, Finland's Jan-Erik Gustafsson, 22, who played Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante, and third-prize winner, Germany's Jens Peter Maintz, 25, who played Shostakovich's Concerto No. 1, won $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.