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LOTTO-Förderpreis of the Rheingau Musik Festival

LOTTO-Förderpreis 2017 for Ben Kim

The LOTTO Prize of the Rheingau Music Festival will go to the American pianist Ben Kim this year. The prize, which has been donated annually by the Hessian lottery company since 2009, is endowed with 15.000 Euros and is awarded annually to an extraordinary young talent of the Rheingau Musik Festival. "Those who are already at the top of the list are usually over-represented with awards. LOTTO Hessen, however, would like to express special young talents in order to facilitate their way upwards," says Dr. Heinz-Georg Sundermann, Managing Director of LOTTO Hessen, explaining the intention of the prize.

The jury of the LOTTO funding prize is composed of Christoph Eschenbach, the time director of the National Music Symphony Orchestra, as well as general music director of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, the director and managing director of the Rheingau Musik Festival, Michael Herrmann, Dr. Heinz-Georg Sundermann of LOTTO Hessen and the program staff of the Rheingau Musik Festival.

American pianist Ben Kim's performances have gained a burgeoning international reputation for an uncommon maturity, integrity and insight. In 2006 Ben's budding career became a focus of international attention after he won First Prize in the ARD Munich International Music Competition. He has garnered critical acclaim for his performances at such venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Suntory Hall, and the Berlin Philharmonie; at eminent festivals including Aspen, Ravinia, the Klavier-Festival Ruhr; and with prominent orchestras including the Baltimore, Seoul, and St Petersburg Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestras, along with numerous radio symphony orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio, MDR, and Deutsche Radio Philharmonic.

Ben recently went on a 14-concert tour through Japan with the Brno Philharmonic, as well as a number of performances in Germany, including those at the Berlin Konzerthaus, Stuttgart Liederhalle, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and Munich Gasteig. Ben's recording of the Chopin Préludes and Impromptus was released on the Universal Decca label in 2012.

Ben was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, where he began studying piano at age 5 with Dorothy Fahlman. At 20, Ben completed an accelerated Bachelor of Music degree program at the Peabody Conservatory as a student of Leon Fleisher, where he continued his studies thereafter with Yong Hi Moon. Ben was selected to attend the International Piano Academy Lake Como in Italy from 2005-2008, a program headed by Martha Argerich and William Grant Naboré, which, upon befriending a number of Italian students, led to his interest in Italian cooking. Ben currently resides in Berlin, working with Klaus Hellwig. He tries to rock climb twice a week when he can.

Jury's assessment

His brilliant technique and his incredible sense of interpretive subtleties are a mat-ter of course. The fact that he finds his inspiration on high alpine climbing tours or draws from the normal life makes him one of the most beneficial examplions among the pianists of his generation. So much naturalness, sympathetic charis-ma and pleasant modesty, coupled with great virtuosity, are rarely experienced with a great musician.

Auszug aus der Jurybegründung

The previous laureates

Sebastian Manz (2009)
Leticia Moreno (2010)
Denis Kozhukhin (2011)
Christopher Park (2012)
Iskandar Widjaja (2013)
Vestard Shimkus (2014)
Pablo Ferrandéz (2015)
Marc Bouchkov (2016)