A Russian pianist has won the 2012 Honens International Piano Competition. Pavel Kolesnikov, 23, beat four other finalists to take the top Enbridge Prize, worth $100,000 (Canadian dollars) (around £62,000).


He also wins three years’ worth of help in building his career, including debut recitals in a host of cities, coaching and a recording on the Hyperion record label.

Fellow finalists Lorenzo Cossi (Italy), Maria Mazo (Russia), Jong-Hai Park (South Korea) and Eric Zuber (United States) each receive $10,000 (CAD) (around £6,200).

The Honens Competition, which takes place every three years, aims to find ‘complete artists’: the winner must be ‘a sensitive musician, a consummate collaborator, an awe-inspiring virtuoso, a communicator, a dreamer an explorer.’

Kolesnikov, who impressed the jury with his final-round performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, studies in Moscow and London. Perhaps in keeping with Honens’s philosophy, in his biography Kolesnikov describes how he sees music as similar to fine perfumes, and Tolstoy as the literary incarnation of Beethoven. And in a video interview before the final, he talked of his dislike in general of competitions.


‘The juries normally are looking not for the person who does something exceptional, but the person who doesn’t make mistakes, which is completely wrong in my opinion,’ he says. ‘When I heard about Honens I thought this might be the place that they might want to hear my voice … it’s more like a festival than a competition.’