Wilton pianist, 18, wins major award

Wilton pianist, 18, wins major award
Kevin Jansson (18) a sixth-year student at Presentation Brothers College, Cork, pictured with his father Tom Jansson. Photo: Peter Houlihan

WILTON teen Kevin Jansson has won the biggest junior piano competition in the world.

The Jeune Chopin is the latest in a long series of prizes for the musical prodigy.

The 18-year-old is currently in Switzerland, where the Jeune Chopin took place in recent days. He was one of 24 finalists in three age categories, with participants coming from all over the world to take part in the prestigious event.

Run by the Chopin Institute, the competition took place in Martigny, Switzerland, in recent days. Judges include world-famous pianist Matha Argerich, with participants challenged to perform the works of Chopin, Rachmaninov, Mozart and Ravel.

The Presentation Brothers and CIT School of Music student fended off stiff challenges in the semi-final and final to come out on top.

“It is absolutely amazing,” Kevin said.

“I am delighted. I couldn’t believe it when they announced that I won.”

Kevin is no stranger to winning big prizes, though. Earlier this year, he won the Cork Person of the Month award in recognition of his achievements to date.

He gave his first piano recital at just 12. In 2016, he was the youngest participant and joint winner of the Thierry Scherz prize and has won 13 first prizes at Feis Ceoil over the years. He also has five international prizes under his belt.

Despite this, Kevin said he didn’t expect to win the Jeune Chopin.

“I just wanted to make the final”, he said. “I just wanted to be accepted. I didn’t expect to win.”

The 24 finalists are chosen from a huge number of video entries. From there, it is a case of practising the material intently, with judges marking candidates to the highest standard.

“That is the biggest benefit for me; the improvement you get when practising,” Kevin said.

He will return to Switzerland in November to play a concert on the back of this win, with several more recitals lined up in Poland and other European countries too.

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