“Citti di Porcia”
by John Stevens
“Citti di Porcia” 19th Annual Concorso Internazionale
Insert the following photos throughout the article:
Giuria_vinc.jpg: (L-R): John Stevens (U.S.A.), Øysteyn Baadsvik (Norway), Gerard Buquet (France), 2° prize ex-aequo Stephane Labeyrie (France), 2° prize ex-aequo Jérémie Dufort (France), 1° prize and audience prize Benjamin Pierce (U.S.A.), Miguel Moreno (Spain),
Giampaolo Doro (Artistic Director of the Competition), James Gourlay (Scotland), Walter Hilgers (Germany), Sandro Gorli (Italy and President of the Jury).
PIERCE.jpg: Benjamin Pierce (USA)
DUFORT.jpg: Jeremy Dufort (France)
LABEYRIE.jpg: Stephan Labeyrie (France)
The 19th annual Concorso Internazionale “Citti di Porcia” (City of Porcia International Competition) took place during the first week of November 2008. This solo brass competition rotates annually among the four orchestral brass instruments, but this was only the second time that the competition was for tuba soloists. The Director of the competition since its inception, Giampaolo Doro, was pleased to add tuba to the rotation in 2004 and equally pleased to welcome us back this year.
Porcia is a small town about one hour north of Venice. It borders on the somewhat larger town of Pordenone, which is where the events of the competition actually take place due to the availability of more suitable facilities. This is truly an international competition, with seven jurors from seven different countries and 31 competitors from many countries in Europe and Asia as well as the United States. The week of performances resulted in three prizewinners sharing a total purse of over 15,000 euros. One change from the first tuba competition four years ago was the inclusion of an audience prize. The full house that attended the final concert with orchestra was able to vote for their favorite performer, with the winner receiving 1,000 euros.
The three finalists are given below.
First Prize: Benjamin Pierce (USA) 8,000 Euros (plus the audience prize)
Ben is Assistant Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of Arkansas. His considerable performing credentials include two solo CDs, Wheels of Life and Cheers, and numerous honors on both tuba and euphonium at competitions all over the world. In 2008 alone, as a tubist, he was the grand prizewinner of the Jeju International Brass Competition in South Korea and the first place winner of the International Competition of Markneukirchen 2008 for tuba.
Second Prize: Two Second Prizes were awarded (3,750 Euros each)
Jeremy Dufort (France) has performed regularly with a variety of ensembles throughout Europe, including membership in the Paris Police Orchestra and the Orchestre du Palau de les Arts de la Reina Sofia in Valencia (Spain). He is currently a member of the Orchestre d’Harmonie de la Garde Replublicaine and serves as the assistant for the tuba class at the National Conservatory of Paris. Jeremy is a past winner of the “Philip Jones” competition in Guebwiller (France) and the International Competition “L’UFAM.”
Stephan Labeyrie (France) is an accomplished soloist who has performed all over the world in recital and with orchestras. He has won competitions in Sydney (Australia), Markneukirchen (Germany), and Riva del Garda (Italy). He has been a member of the National Opera of Lyon and the National Orchestra of Capitole of Toulouse. He is currently the tuba soloist of the Paris Orchestra and is on the faculty of the Music Conservatory of Lausanne. Stephan is a Yamaha artist.
The competition consisted of three rounds. Following the first round, where competitors performed the Variations in Olden Style (Thomas Stevens) and either the Fantasy for Tuba (Malcolm Arnold) or Remembrance (John Stevens), the field was narrowed to 10 players. In the second round, all players performed Tuba Follia (A. Cornacchia/E. Sabbatani) and their choice of Concerto for Tuba (Arutiunian), Sonata for Tuba (Filas) or Escenas Latinas (Crespo). Following this round the field of competitors was reduced to five for the final with piano. In this round, each competitor performed a program of three works lasting 45 minutes. Landscape (Lundquist) was required for everyone. They then played an arrangement of a baroque work by Bach, Handel, or Vivaldi. Although the competitors had a choice of three works for the final piece, all five performers played the Arild Plau Concerto for Tuba. The three finalists listed earlier went on from this round to perform in the final with orchestra, playing either the Roland Szentpáli or John Williams Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra.
The seven-member jury for the competition was made up of the following members:
Sandro Gorli, President (Italy), Øystein Baadsvik (Norway), Gerard Buquet (France), James Gourlay (Scotland), Walter Hilgers (Germany), Miguel Moreno (Spain), and John Stevens (USA).
Congratulations to Professor Doro and his wonderful staff for the artistic vision, limitless energy and hard work that has made the “Citti di Porcia” competition a truly outstanding international event for nearly 20 years. Congratulations also to all the competitors, especially the three finalists, for a week of fine performances. This competition was once again a strong indicator of quality repertoire and the high level of technical and musical skills of today’s tuba soloists. We look forward to a return of the tubas to Porcia in 2012.
For more information on the City of Porcia International Competition, please visit their web site at www.musicporcia.it.