This year saw the first International Helmut Deutsch Lied Competition take place from 10 to 15 September. This is Vienna’s first and only singing competition devoted exclusively to Austrian composers’ Lied (art song) output. The idea behind it is to help launch its talented young entrants’ professional careers, giving them the opportunity to prove themselves before a critical audience in the wonderful atmosphere of Schlosstheater Schönbrunn.
The Austrian pianist and then-Academy instructor Helmut Deutsch made a name for himself as a Lied accompanist both in Austria and abroad. Even as a student, his main interest had been in the Lied genre—though he was also to spend several decades performing as a chamber musician with numerous instrumentalists in all manner of formations. 43 singers and 32 pianists from 16 countries entered the competition’s initial round, with the eventual finalists including mdw graduate Christoph Filler and mdw student Stefan Hadzic as well as Christian Wagner, Ema Nikolovska, Lars Conrad, and Konstantin Krimmel. It was baritone Konstantin Krimmel who won the 1st prize at the competition’s final round on 15 September. The 2nd prize was claimed by mezzo-soprano Ema Nikolovska, while the 3rd prize went ex aequo to mdw graduate Christoph Filler and Lars Conrad.