International Santa Cecilia competition rewards musical talent

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Porto was the epicentre of the 26th edition of the International Santa Cecilia Competition (Concurso Internacional Santa Cecília - CISC). Following last week's competition, it was time to award prizes to the three finalists in a ceremony at the Casa da Música. The Councillor for Education and Social Cohesion, Fernando Paulo, represented the Municipality, which supports and funds the structure surrounding this prestigious global event.

The three finalists were awarded cash prizes, as well as the opportunity to perform on major stages.

The Chinese competitor, Zhexiang Li, who took first place, won 25,000 euros in cash, awarded by the Porto City Council, plus an additional 5,000 euros for recording an album with KNS Classical, as well as a recital in the Piano Cycle at the Casa da Música, at the Casa de Portugal André Gouveia (Paris), and at the Hammerklavier - International Piano Series (Barcelona). Russian Sergey Belyavsky, who came second, received 15,000 euros. In third place was Russian Tatiana Dorokhova, who was awarded 10,000 euros.

"I salute the participating young musicians whose performances were incredible. We strongly believe in the creative power of young people, in your values, and in your role as builders of peace and of a more just, cohesive, and supportive Europe," Fernando Paulo emphasised, highlighting the importance for the city of hosting an event of this magnitude.

Porto as an Educating and Cultural City

"This festival is certainly the national competition in Portugal with the largest number of participants, the largest number of countries represented, and an international panel renowned for the prestige of its members, which greatly honours the Municipality, bringing prestige and affirming Porto as an educating and cultural city," underlined the Councillor for Education and Social Cohesion.

For the councillor, it is "an honour and a privilege to witness the high artistic quality, merit, and cultural relevance of the competition, which today has great national and international prestige. Its contribution to the promotion and projection of new performers through their public presentation at various national and international recitals and festivals, and in prestigious concert halls, is invaluable".

The International Santa Cecilia Competition is the largest and oldest international music competition in Portugal.

The closing concert of the main category, with the Porto Casa da Música Symphony Orchestra, was conducted by guest British conductor Martin André.