German baritone Dominik Köninger has won first prize at the 2011 Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition.
The final saw Köninger beat three other finalists to win £10,000. The 29 year-old’s recital, in which he was accompanied by pianist Volker Krafft, included performances of Beethoven’s ‘Adelaide’ and Liszt’s ‘Ah! Quand je dors’.
Tenor Stuart Jackson won the second prize of £5,000, while mezzo-soprano Dorttya Lang took third prize. Jonathan McGovern, a baritone, also took part in the final, and along with his accompanist Timothy End, won the Jean Meikle Prize for a Duo; Timothy End and Jonathan Ware were jointly awarded the Pianist’s Prize.
Each of the four finalists performed a 30-minute recital in front of a panel of judges that included mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink, bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff, pianist Malcolm Martineau and chairman John Gilhooly, director of Wigmore Hall. A total of 27 singers performed in front of the panel over the four days of the contest.
As in previous years competitors were asked to perform songs in German, French and English – but this year there was a particular focus on Schubert and each competitor had to perform a song by the composer in each preliminary stage.
The 2009 winner, baritone Marcus Farnsworth, has performed with English National Opera, the London Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Orchestra since winning. Speaking to BBC Music Magazine, he said ‘This competition is one of the biggest accolades in song anywhere in the world, so it was a real honour and it elevated my career to a completely different plane.’
The Wigmore Hall Song Competition runs every two years and is open to contestants aged 33 or under.