Candidates shortlisted for 2nd round
Antonio Mormone was an extraordinary man whom I had a privilege to know and be friends with for almost 30 years.
He loved music, he loved talented people, his memory should be cherished, and I believe that this Prize will be the best way to honour Antonio Mormone’s memory for many years to come.
Enrica Ciccarelli Mormone
president and artistic director of Fondazione La Società dei Concerti
I would like to greet all the young pianists who will participate in the Antonio Mormone International Prize, hoping they may see in such an innovative and comprehensive project, a real possibility to express their talent. I would like to thank all the representatives from the worlds of politics, culture and business who have perceived or will perceive the spirit and the importance of the Prize. I also wish to thank the supportive audience which has been following us and the artists, the great artists who have accepted our invitation and the responsibility to be on the juries that will select and evaluate the candidates.
Why have we created an International Prize dedicated to Antonio Mormone?
I found the answer in one of his writings from 2013, which I gladly share here. People who have been lucky enough to know him, will find his spirit in these words, while the ones who learn about him because of the prize dedicated to him, will appreciate his vision.
“A very important chapter of my life, one which has always been with me since I was a child, is music. I’ve always been interested in what music could disguise and offer. I have always had, in my briefcase, on my desk, a music book, and it is so to this day. I’ve frequented concert halls and during my travels abroad I’ve always taken the opportunity to listen to a great artist or a symphony orchestra. I have spent time with great musicians beyond their performances and I have been, and still am, close friends with many of them. I’ve always believed that music can bring, if not happiness, positive feelings to the human soul and, when I founded La Societa’ dei Concerti, I worked hard so that people coming to the concerts could feel joy in participating in and sharing music.
Ever since my first years working in music, I’ve wanted to offer important opportunities to young artists, and I was helped in achieving this by my passion, my sensitivity and my “instinct” for artistic talent. I’ve always been convinced that people graduating from a Conservatory of music are not yet artists or musicians ready for the public audience. What is required to pursue a concert career are, beside talent and commitment, strong nerves, the ability to concentrate and, above all, a great personality. Who has not nurtured these characteristics will, at best, prepare for concerts.
I fondly remember the letter I received a few weeks ago from the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano. To the compliments for our activity and our cultural initiatives he added his admiration for our capacity to help young people start their concert careers. I am very happy and proud when many great artists of today remember that they began with Antonio Mormone. I receive a steady flow of news from them, they keep me informed about their successes, their lives, and I am honoured by the close and friendly relations I have with them. Some of them frequent my home when they are in Italy. I consider this a great gift and a wonderful acknowledgment.
I have lived with the spirit of self-denial and sacrifice but, above all, with passion and trust in the means and intelligence proper of humankind, despite a certain spirit of rebellion towards some social conventions. Music fires my enthusiasm and, with unsurrendering determination, I pass my enthusiasm on to young people of quality”. (Antonio Mormone)
Enrica Ciccarelli Mormone
To me, organizing this Prize together with Enrica Ciccarelli and La Societa’ dei Concerti, means giving back some of the trust and opportunities I received over the last twenty years from that exceptional man that was Antonio Mormone, a man whom I owe much.
Being a real talent scout certainly means taking risks, trusting your own instinct, and putting your own reputation on the line. But even that is not enough. You also need to be sympathetic, generous and have a gentle soul. Antonio Mormone possessed all those qualities and they are the same qualities we would like this Prize to be distinguished by.
The selection process is intended to be challenging, as it should be, but without being punitive. It is designed to encourage the candidates to reflect both on how they play music, and on their personal artistic definition.
We set aside any time constrictions, broadening as much as possible the period of evaluation, widening our points of view and increasing the number of occasions to get to know these young pianists.
We ask them to propose the programs of their recitals – and before that their videos – limiting our requests and leaving them all the space they need to make their choices and express their personalities. And, in the same spirit, we will be the ones to travel to listen to the performances of the candidates selected for the second round, so that we can better understand who they are, and how they approach their craft.
In other words, together with the other jurors, we will work as real talent scouts. With courage and generosity, in the spirit of Antonio Mormone.
One of the most particular and innovative events of the Prize is “The candidates tell their stories to the City”. Thanks to the partnership with Yamaha Music Europe, we will introduce the ten selected candidates not only to the great number of subscribers of La Societa’ dei Concerti, but we will take them to the outskirts of Milan to face audiences less used to attending classical music concert halls and their traditions, but not less eager to discover new talents.
Will the contestants be able to attract and charm surely less formal and more instinctive audiences, possibly more inclined to forgive a wrong note than a lack in communication? This is an important question, to which we hope the challenge will provide an answer, in the conviction that attractiveness and ability to communicate their unique love for music are essential ingredients for success, today more than ever, in the complex world of the concert pianist.
So, if I were to give a word of advice to the young pianists who will apply for the selections, I would ask them to think thoroughly about who they are as artists, what they feel they represent in our times, what and how they wish to communicate. And fully embrace the responsibility. Only in this way will they succeed in contributing something novel to the history of music.
The 2019-2020 Prize
Following the spirit and ideals of its Founder, the Foundation La Societa’ dei Concerti organises the Antonio Mormone International Prize to discover, promote and develop young artists able to pursue an international concert career. The 2019/2020 edition of the Prize is dedicated to the piano. The first selection round will take place between July and September 2019, the second round between October 2019 and April 2020. The final rounds will be set in Milan at the “G. Verdi” Conservatory and the Teatro alla Scala from the 2nd to the 5th of July 2020.
Legal address of the Prize is in Milano c/o Fondazione La Società dei Concerti - 20122 - Corso di Porta Vittoria 18
Who is eligible
Pianists born between the 1st of January 1992 and the 31st of December 2001 are eligible for participation.
Submission of applications is exclusively on-line on the Prize website www.antoniomormone.org, by completing the required form no later than the 4th of July 2019, at 23.59 (Europe Time).
The on-line application must be filled in each part and applicants need to submit:
- Applicant biography (in Italian or English, max. 1500 characters, spaces included),
- A pdf of a valid identity document with proof of nationality and age,
- One recent colour photograph suitable for publication, in jpg format,
- Two letters of recommendation, in pdf format. One letter by the applicant’s most recent teacher, the other by an eminent personality from the music scene,
- Any school or international award diplomas, in pdf format,
- Links to videos (up to 5) previously uploaded by the applicant in his/her account in unlisted mode on the digital platforms YouTube or Vimeo. Only recent videos will be admitted (recorded in the two years preceding the application submission), with an excellent audio quality, with the face and hands of the applicant always visible, without transitions or editing. Both studio recordings and public live performances may be submitted, provided they contain only piano solo repertoires (in case of a piece with more than one movement, the piece must be complete and performed in one take). The minimum overall duration of the submitted videos is 40 minutes and the maximum 60 minutes. It is mandatory to submit a complete Sonata by one the following composers: Haydn/Mozart/Beethoven/Schubert,
In addition, every candidate will have to present:
- Two recital program proposals, lasting 40 minutes each, for the second round of public selection in Milan,
For the final round, the applicant needs to indicate three preferences among the following Piano Quintets:
R. Schumann, Piano Quintet in E flat major op. 44
A. Dvorak, Piano Quintet in A major op. 81
J. Brahms, Piano Quintet in F minor op. 34
D. Shostakovich, Piano Quintet in G minor op. 57
C. Franck, Piano Quintet in F minor
G. Martucci, Piano Quintet in C major op. 45
- For the final round, the applicant needs to indicate five preferences among the following Piano Concertos:
W.A. Mozart K 466; K 467; K 488; K 491; K 595
L. van Beethoven, all five piano concerti
F. Chopin, op. 11 e op. 21
R. Schumann, op. 54
F. Liszt, nr 2 in a major
J. Brahms, op. 15 and op. 83
C. Saint-Saens, concerto nr 2 op.22
S. Rachmaninov, concerti nr 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
P. I. Tchaikowsky, concerti nr 1 op.23 / nr 2 op.44
S. Prokofiev, concerti nr 2 op. 16 / nr 3 op.26
G. Sgambati, op.15
B. Bartòk, nr 3 sz. 119
The applicant will receive an email with confirmation and approval of application. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
In the event of any technical issues during the on-line submission process, the applicant needs to contact the Administrative Office of the Prize at least 48 hours prior to the submissions deadline by sending an email to:
The application fee for the Prize is €150 (euro one hundred fifty), norefundable, payable by credit card upon registration and with the form provided.
The International Antonio Mormone Prize is one and indivisible. It is composed as follows:
- € 30.000 (euro thirty thousand) before any tax deductions by law,
- One year representation by Baldrighi Artists Managemen (www.baldrighi.com),
- A recording on Universal,
- Performances for: Foundation La Società dei Concerti, Milan; Accademia Filarmonica Romana, Rome; Musica Insieme, Bologna; Amici della Musica, Florence; Festival Pianistico Internazionale, Brescia and Bergamo: Camerata Ducale, Vercelli; Teatro Comunale, Carpi; Festival Le Classiche Forme; Stuttgarter Philharmoniker; Nürnberger Symphoniker; StaatsPhilharmonie Rheinland Pfalz; Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen; NWD Philharmonie; Festival Sant Pere de Rodes; Hammerklavier International Piano Series; Besalù Festival; Buffalo Philharmonic; Virginia Symphony Orchestra; Tongyeong International Music Festival; Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Katowice; Konzerthaus Berlin Bechstein Series.
Other prizes for finalists:
- Prize of € 5.000 (euro five thousand) before any tax deductions by law for each one of the two finalists not awarded the Antonio Mormone International Prize.
- Prize of the Friends of the Prize Club: € 1.000 (euro one thousand) offered by the Friends of the Antonio Mormone International Prize to the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes from the Club.
The three selection rounds of the Prize
The Antonio Mormone International Prize comprises three rounds of selection.
First round: video and dossier
In the months of July, August and September 2019 the jury of the fist selection round will evaluate the videos and dossiers submitted by candidates with their application.
On the 4th of October 2019, the names of the 10 (ten) candidates selected to advance to the second round of selection will be announced.
Second round: travelling jury and public concerts in Milan
The second round of selection takes place between the 15th of October 2019 and the 30th of April 2020.
The ten candidates advancing to the second round will be granted a € 500, 00 (euro five hundred) scholarship offered by Yamaha Music Europe.
Each candidate will inform the Administrative Office of the Prize no later than the 11th of October 2019, about the dates of his/her public performances (three at least) between the 15th of October 2019 and the 30th of April 2020. A public performance is defined as solo recitals, concerts with orchestra, chamber concerts promoted by public theatre bodies, festivals, series of concerts, universities and/or academies and music schools all over the world. At least one member of the second jury will listen incognito to at least two public performances of the candidates.
Milano round, recital and the candidates tell their stories to the City
Additionally, each candidate selected for the second round will perform in two public concerts in Milan, organised by the Foundation La Societa’ dei Concerti. Those performances, with a program chosen by the candidate when applying, will be structured as follows:
- A 25-minute recital and an interview when the candidate introduces him/herself to the public during the event called “The candidates tell their stories to the City”,
- A 40-minute solo recital at the Auditorium Gaber Grattacielo Pirelli for the series named “Incontri Musicali”.
The dates of the public performances in Milan for the second round of selection for the Prize are:
Sunday 17th of November and Monday 18th of November 2019 (two candidates)
Sunday 15th of December and Monday 16th of December 2019 (two candidates)
Sunday 19th of January and Monday 20th of January 2020 (two candidates)
Sunday 23rd of February and Monday 24th of February 2020 (two candidates)
Sunday 22nd of March and Monday 23rd of March 2020 (two candidates).
The dates of the performances in Milan for each candidate selected for the second round will be decided at the sole discretion of the organiser of the Prize and communicated by the 15th of October 2019. Failure to participate in the recitals in Milan in the second round of selection will result in the disqualification of the candidate from the Antonio Mormone International Prize.
The organization will provide for travel expenses and lodging in Milan for each candidate.
On Friday 8th of May 2020, the names of the 3 (three) pianists advancing to the final will be announced.
Third round: Solo recital, chamber music performance and concert with orchestra in Milan
The final round comprises three public performances in Milan from the 2nd to the 5th of July 2020 for all three final candidates.
Solo recital and chamber music performance
Solo recital and chamber music performance with the following dates:
- Thursday, 2nd of July 2020 6:00 p.m. - Sala Verdi in the Conservatory of Milan
- Friday, 3rd of July 2020 6:00 p.m. - Sala Verdi in the Conservatory of Milan
The solo recital with a free program to be communicated to the artistic direction of the Prize by the 31st of May 2020 must not exceed 60 minutes. It must include a Sonata by Beethoven and the contemporary composition by Ivan Fedele specifically commissioned for the Prize. The score of the contemporary piece (lasting about 8 minutes) will be provided to the candidates by the 31st of May 2020. All the pieces that will be performed must be published.
The solo program of the final round must be completely different from the one presented during the public performances in Milan for the second round. Playing by heart is mandatory, except for contemporary repertoires.
The chamber music performance, with the participation of the Quartetto Adorno, requires the candidate to play a Piano Quintet. The piece that the candidate will perform will be assigned by the artistic direction of the Prize by the 31st of May 2020, taking into consideration the preferences expressed by the candidate in the application form.
The candidates will provide the jury with two copies of the scores of their program, in the version of their performance.
Piano Concertos will take place on Sunday the 5th of July 2020 8:00 p.m. - Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
The candidate will perform a piano concerto with the Orchestra of the Accademia Teatro alla Scala. The piano concerto that the candidate will perform will be communicated by the artistic direction of the Prize by the 31st of May 2020, taking into consideration the preferences expressed by the candidate in the application form.
The organization will provide for travel expenses and lodging in Milan for the finalists for the entire period of the third round.
At the end of the final evening at the Teatro alla Scala the name of the winner of the Antonio Mormone International Prize will be announced.
Decisions taken by the jury are incontestable. The registration to participate in the Antonio Mormone International Prize entails the implicit acceptance of all the Jury decision in every round.
Jury for the first round of selection
Jury for the second round of selection in Milan
A travelling jury of eminent performers will be present incognito in the audience at least at two concerts of the candidates selected for the second round of the competition. Each member of the travelling jury will introduce him/herself to the candidate at the end of his/her public performance. Among them, in addition to the Milan jury, we thank for their acceptance:
Rudolf Buchbinder, Beat Fehlmann, Vadim Kholodenko, Paul Lewis; Beatrice Rana, Fazil Say, Alexei Volodin.
Jury for the final round of selection
Matthieu Mantanus (Secretary)
Rights to performances
All rights to each performance, audio or/and video recording of the Prize belong to the Foundation La Societa’ dei Concerti. Recordings, streaming, radio or television broadcastings of the performances do not, by any means, give eligibility to any kind of remuneration for the performer or performers.
The registration to participate in the Antonio Mormone International Prize entails the implicit acceptance of all the rules in the current Regulation. In the event of claims or complaints only the Italian language version of the rules will be applicable. All information contained in this document is correct at the time of publication. However, the organization reserves the right to make any changes if circumstances dictate. The Court of Milan will be competent for any dispute.