We are pleased to announce the names of the winners of the GIANNI BERGAMO CLASSIC MUSIC AWARD – Competition for cello 2008:

1st prize

Konstanze von GUTZEIT (Germany) 

2nd prize

Umberto CLERICI (Italy)

3rd prize

Sebastian DIEZIG (Switzerland)

Jury 2008
Maestro Gianni Bergamo, conductor

Gianni Bergamo was born in Milan, Italy in 1941, attended primary school in Italy and Liceo in Switzerland. After a degree in Economy (1964) at the Catholic University of Milan, he dedicated himself to the study of music with Tissoni (harmony and composition), D. Maffeis (organ) and N. Sanzogno (orchestra conducting) at the Conservatory of Bergamo, Italy.
From 1964 to 1994 has been a businessman with his own import-export, real estate and finance companies, though at the same time he has remained close to music and to its world.
In 1990 he created the Cultural Association “Gli Amici Cantori”, first as a chorus alone, then later accompanied by an orchestra. He has given many concerts in Italy with them, preferring the symphonic-sacred repertoire (masses, oratories, passions, etc.).
At present, he lives in Santiago del Chile.

Wolfgang Boettcher


He was born in Berlin in 1935 and began his artistic career as prize winner at the International Music Competition ARD Munich in duo with his sister, the pianist Ursula Trede.

As soloist, he has played all over the world with many important orchestras and famous conductors. His artistic life was deeply influenced by collaboration with Herbert von Karajan, Sergiu Celibidache, Yehudi Menuhin, Witold Lutoslawski e Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

He has performed in important festivals all over the world such as Wiener e Berliner Festwochen, Salzburger Festspiel, Festival Marais Paris, English Bach Festival, Lockenhaus Festival, in Kuhmo, etc. He has played concerts not only in all European countries including the former Soviet Union, but also Japan, South America, East Asia and Israel.

He was cello soloist of the Berliner Philharmoniker until 1976 when he decided to dedicate himself exclusively to a solo career and to become Professor at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin. Since then, his class has produced several young, renowned cellists.

Beside his solo activity, he dedicates himself to chamber music. He plays in duo with his sister, with the violinist Ulf Hoelscher and he is a member of the Bandis Quartett of Berlin.

He has recorded for DG, EMI and other companies. He holds masterclasses in various European countries and in Japan. Since 1988, he has been member of the Bayerischen Akademie der Schönen Künste München. From 1986 to 1992 he was artistic director of the Sommerlichen Musiktage Hitzacker.

Several composers have dedicated compositions to him. He has performed world premières such as the Double Concert by Aribert Reimann (with Ulf Hoelscher) and the two Cello Concertos by Giselher Klebe (with the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Daniel Barenboim).

He has been jury member in international competitions such as ARD Munich, in Korea, Finland, Hungary, Holland, Armenia, Poland, etc.

He is founder of the E. Feuermann Competition in Berlin.

Robert Cohen


British cellist Robert Cohen is firmly established as one of the world’s leading soloists and is recognised as one of the most inspiring musical personalities on the platform today. His career takes him on major tours of the USA, Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the UK, performing with conductors such as Abbado, Jansons, Marriner, Masur, Muti, Rattle, and Sinopoli. Cohen made his concert debut at London’s Royal Festival Hall playing a Boccherini concerto at the age of 12. His prodigy was nurtured by the great pedagogue William Pleeth. He also took part in classes with Jacqueline du Pré, André Navarra and Mstislav Rostropovich, and at the age of 19, after winning several major international competitions, he made his recording debut, Elgar’s cello concerto with Del Mar and the London Philharmonic.

Thomas Demenga


Born 1954 in Berne, internationally renowned soloist, composer and teacher, counts among the most outstanding cellists and musicians of our time. Has performed at all important festivals and musical centres worldwide and given numerous concerts with fellow musicians such as Heinz Holliger, Gidon Kremer, Thomas Larcher, Hansheinz Schneeberger, Tabea Zimmermann and Paul Meyer.

Has played as a soloist with distinguished orchestras such as the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, Boston Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, ORF-Symphonieorchester Wien, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and Zürcher Kammerorchester.

Intensive confron-tation with different historical eras and styles of interpretation and composition. Improvisation and New Music are important aspects of his artistic work. Has developed a unique voice as a composer and interpreter of 20th and 21st century music.

Teaches at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel.

«Artiste étoile» at Lucerne Festival in summer 2003.

Artistic director of the Davos Festival, «Young Artists in Concert», since August 2001.

Impressive documentation of his artistic work on a series of CDs issued by ECM New Series.

Urs Frauchiger


Urs Frauchiger was born in Emmental in 1936 and was cellist of the Berner Reis-Quartett for 20 years. He was director of the Conservatory and Music High School in Bern, general secretary of the European Music High Schools and director of the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia. He is honorary professor of the Bern University. An important ambassador for music in different mass media, he is a jury member in international music competitions such as the Concours Internationale d’éxécution musicale in Geneva, the Credit SuisseYoung Artist Award, and also in Vienna and Lucerne.

Marcello Parolini


Marcello Parolini was born in Milan, and received his diploma at the “G. Verdi” Conservatory of Milan in piano (with the highest marks) with L. Leonardi and in composition with S. Gorli and U. Rotondi. He is active above all as chamber musician in different formations, dedicating himself to the diffusion of contemporary music. He is conductor of the “Ensemble Traiettorie Sonore” in Como and has been invited to conduct the “Ensemble Musica XX”, the choir of the “Nuova Polifonica Ambrosiana” and collaborates with the “Coro Filarmonico” in Brescia and the “Coro Orlando di Lasso”. He has played with the “Ensemble Nuove Sincronie” (with recordings for Radio France, BBC, RAI and discs for the Ricordi and Stradivarius labels), with the “Divertimento Ensemble”, the “Tactus Ensemble”, the “G. Cantelli Orchestra”, the “G. Verdi Orchstra” and the “Orchestra Milano Classica”. For over 10 years, he has been the piano accompanist of the famous harmonica player Willi Burger, with whom he has recorded for Eucled, Agorà e Curci.
He is winner of several competitions and has played for many festivals, foundations and associations in Italy and abroad. He conducted the “Atelier Musicale del XX secolo”, “Officina Musicale”, “Provincia Sonora”, “Merate Musica” and other ensembles.
Beside his vast teaching activity, he is director of the Scuola Civica di Musica in Cassano d’Adda.

The winners 2008

Constanze von Gutzeit (Germany), 1st prize


She was born in Bochum in 1985 and began playing cello on a converted viola when she was just three years old. At age 13 she took up studies with Heinrich Schiff at Vienna University. Since October 2005 she has been working with Jens Peter Maintz at the Berlin University of the Arts and has participated in Masters courses with David Geringas, Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman and Antonio Meneses to name a few.

The young cellist has performed with the Bochum Symphony Orchestra, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bruckner Orchestra Linz and the Brandenburg State Orchestra in Frankfurt-Oder. She has played under the direction of conductors such as Michael Hofstetter, Kurt Masur, Marek Janowski and Michael Sanderling.

Von Gutzeit has appeared in concert halls throughout Europe, Japan, the USA and Costa Rica and she has taken part in prestigious festivals such as the Lucerne Festival, the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, the Festspielen Mecklenburg Vorpommern, the Bruckner Festival in Linz and the International Kyoto Music Student’s Festival.

Her instrument was made by Italian master Gioffredo Cappa in 1677. It is on loan from the Schulte-Uentrop Foundation.

Umberto Clerici (Italy), 2nd prize


He was born in Turin in 1981 and he began the study of cello when he was five at the Suzuki School of Turin.

Laureate and Prize winner at the most important international cello competitions in the World (the “Antonio Janigro” in Zagreb, the “Rostropovich” Competition in Paris and the Tchaikovsky in Moscow), in 2000 he received his diploma from Turin’s Conservatory with full marks. He attended the courses of Mario Brunello at the “Romano Romanini Foundation” in Brescia, and of David Gèringas in Fiesole. He took part at master classes with Georg Faust, Steven Isserlis (in Kronberg), Julius Berger (Mozarteum Salzburg).

In April of 1999 he made his debut as soloist playing Haydn’s D Major cello concerto in Japan. Afterwards he performed with many orchestras including “I Pomeriggi Musicali” in Milan, The Orchestra of Rome, the 4

Tuscany Regional Orchestra, Turin Philharmonic, Zagreb Soloist, Orchestra da Camera di Mantova, “Haydn” Orchester of Trento and Bozen, Symphony Orchestras of Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa and the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra collaborating with conductors like Keri-Lynn Wilson, Lu Jia, Dimitri Sitkovetzki, Jean Bernard Pommier, Barry Wordsworth, Ola Rudner and Lukas-Peter Graf. He is the soloist in residence of Turin Philharmonic.

He recorded a CD of the Saint-Saens cello concerto n°1 for RS label and in 2006 a new cd has been released together with “Amadeus” Magazine with all the compositions for cello and orchestra by Tchaikovsky and the First concerto by Shostakovich. In February 2005 he made his solo debut in New York at the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall.

In 2003 he received the prestigious prize “Galileo 2000”in Florence and performed at the Salzburg Festspiele as winner of the Mozarteum prize. In 2005 he received the “Pressenda” prize for the best young soloist of the year. During last year, among many appearances, he did his debut with the Philarmonia Wien (Saint-Saens cello concerto) at the Grosser Saal of Musik Verein in Vienna and with the Brighton Philarmonic (Elgar cello concerto).

He serves as the assistant teacher at Julius Berger’s class in the Summer Academy of Salzburg Mozarteum and in the Hochschule fur Musik of Augsburg and Nurnberg (Germany).

Beginning in his early youth, he has participated in several chamber music groups and he collaborated with famous musicians including Pavel Vernikov, Enrico Pace, Sergej Krilov, Massimo Quarta, Marco Rizzi, Mario Brunello, Enrico Dindo, La Scala Theatre String quartet and composers like Sofia Gubaidulina and Viktor Suslin. Since April of 2001 he plays with the “Turin Piano Trio”.

He plays a Giovan Battista Guadagnini cello (Turin 1769) that belonged to the famous Italian cellist Antonio Janigro.

Sebastian Diezig (Switzerland), 3rd prize


Born in 1983 in Fribourg (Switzerland), he studied with Pierre-Bernard Sudan, Marc Jaermann and finally with Thomas Demenga, with whom he finished his studies with a brillant soloist diploma in 2008. His chamber music teachers were Walter Levin for string quartet and Gérard Wyss for piano trio.

Sebastian Diezig appears with orchestras such as the Basel Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, the Fribourg Chamber Orchestra, the Budweis Philharmonic, as well as the Orchestra of the Festival Summer of Boswil. He has been invited to festivals such as the Lucerne Festival, Young Artists in Concert Davos, the Festival Sine Nomine in Lausanne, the Summer of Boswil, the Viva Cello Festival in Liestal as well as the Steirischer Kammermusiksommer in Graz.

In recitals he is playing with the pianists Riccardo Bovino and Carl Wolf.

He was one of the three soloists who interpreted Johann-Sebastian Bach’s Suites for Cello alone with choreography by Joachim Schloemer during season 08/09 at the Lucerne Festival, at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, at the Grand-Théâtre du Luxembourg as well as at the Theatres of Freiburg (Germany) and Heidelberg.

He is price winner at numerous competitions. In 2008 he won the third price at the International Cello Competition of Lugano Gianni Bergamo Classic Award; the special price for the best interpretation of the compulsory piece at the International Cello Competition in Zagreb Antonio Janigro; a recognition price at the Competition of the Basel Orchestra Society; and a scholarship at the Competition of the Friedl Wald Foundation in Basel. In 2004 he won the Concours Pierre et Renée Glasson in Fribourg; and in 2003 he won the third price at the Concours de l’interprétation musicale de Lausanne.

Recordings for Radio Suisse Romande and Radio Svizzera Italiana.

Sebastian Diezig is Associate Principal Cello with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra.

He plays a beautiful Cello made in Basel by Phillip Cray in the year 2000 ex-Thomas Demenga. The purchase of this instrument has been aided by PE-Förderkreis für Studierende der Musik e.v. Mannheim (Germany). Sebastian lives with his wife, the violinist Paula Novoa, in Lucerne, Switzerland.


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