Gulyak won the finals with her interpretation of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. She will take home the 20,000 euro prize mony that comes with the First Prize in the competition.
Second Prize (15,000 euros) went to Roope Gröndahl of Finland after his performance of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. He was also the audience’s favourite. Russian Violetta Khachikian ended in third place, winning 10,000 euros.
Marko Mustonen (Finland), Yoonjung Han (South Korea) and Irina Zahharenkova (Estonia) took up fourth, fifth and sixth places respectively. They were each rewarded 4,000 euros.
The competition started on 24 May and concluded with the finals taking place on 6 and 7 June at Helsinki’s Finlandia Hall. The six finalists played with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam. Their performances were judged by a seven-member jury led by Gustav Djupsjöbacka.
Besides the top prize, 27-year-old Gulyak also won the Taneli Kuusisto Foundation Prize (1 900 euros) for the best performance of a Finnish piano work. She was awarded the prize for her recital of Joonas Pohjonen’s Bagatelles in the second round of the piano competition.
Sofya Gulyak originates from Kazan, the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan. She currently studies in Imola, Italy. In September 2006 she also won the Allegro Vivo International Piano Competition in San Marino.
HELSINKI INTERNATIONAL MAJ LIND PIANO COMPETITION
> Oldest and biggest piano competition in Finland
> Arranged by the Sibelius Academy
> First international edition: 6 – 22 August, 2002
(won by Italian Alberto Nosè)
> First organized as a national piano competition in 1945
> Until the sixties open to students of the Sibelius Academy only