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Jingge Yan ’10 Nets Top Prize in 2011 Deutsche Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn

Jan. 05, 2012

Jinnge Yan Beethoven Bonn
Jinnge Yan '10, 2011 Deustche Telekom Beethoven Bonn Competition champion, with his instrument

Pianist and Oberlin alumnus Jingge Yan ’10 recently captured first place at the 4th annual International Deutsche Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn, a prestigious victory that carries with it €30,000 in prize money, a recording contract, and performance opportunities in Germany and abroad.

Yan’s particularly admirable performance won him the title, according to Pavel Gililov, the artistic director and chairman of the jury at the competition in Bonn, Germany. Yan inspired “not only the public, but the jury as well,” Gililov said. “The originality of his interpretation and his virtuosity demonstrate great talent. In the end the subtle nuances proved the decisive factor.”

The award was deserved, according to Peter Takács, with whom Yan studied piano at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

“I am thrilled that Jingge’s talent, dedication, and artistry were recognized at the Deutsche Telekom International Beethoven Competition in Bonn, the great composer’s birthplace,” he said. “Jingge was a remarkable student, a tireless worker, striving for perfection in all of his performances. He deserves the career he will surely achieve.”

Yan, however, was modest about his victory at the Beethoven Competition, which was held in Bonn’s premiere concert venue, Beethovenhalle, on December 10, 2011.

“The competition was a big gift from God (or maybe from Beethoven),” he said. “I played Diabelli Variations in the second round. It is very special to play this piece in Bonn at this moment, because the city recently purchased the manuscript of this master work from the USA.”

A native of China, Yan began his musical studies at an early age, which continued through high school in Beijing before enrolling at Oberlin as a scholarship student. At Oberlin he developed a keen interest for Beethoven that was nurtured by Takács, who at the time was recording all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas for his recently released CD set Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas.

“My teacher was the exact person who led to explore the Master’s wonderful world of music,” Yan said. “He helped me cultivate a deep love of Beethoven by digging in and finding out the real spirit and meaning behind the notes.”

“Our interests coincided,” reflected Takács, “and in time we became fellow explorers, spending time looking at manuscripts, first editions, and various modern editions in an attempt to understand the meaning behind the notes. His intellectual curiosity and interest in the meaning of musical texts were ideally suited to Oberlin, and made him an original interpreter of all piano repertoire, especially of the music of Beethoven.” 

Deutsche Telekom, an international communications company and T-Mobile parent, has held the International Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn biennually since 2005 with the purpose of discovering and nurturing talented young pianists. The company has been a patron of the arts for many years and considers its involvement to be a core element of its corporate social commitment.

“We want to give lasting support to the prizewinners and support their careers by arranging concert dates for them,” said Timotheus Höttges, member of the board of management of Deutsche Telekom AG. “The passion and commitment shown by the contestants have impressed me enormously.”

In addition to winning first prize in the competition, Yan also claimed the special prize for chamber music. Yan and the second and third prize winners made a special appearance during BeethovenNacht on December 16 in the Beethovenhalle. Also, in addition to a ten-concert tour with Klassische Philhamonie Bonn throughout Germany, Yan will perform in the U.S., Slovakia, Netherlands, and Italy.

Currently, Yan is pursuing graduate studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.

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