The Atenea Quartet has been named winner of the renowned “Prix Credit Suisse Jeunes Solistes” Award for 2023. The four Spanish musicians prevailed against two other ensembles as well as two soloists at yesterday’s finale at the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne. The Quartet performed works by Benjamin Britten, Henri Purcell, Raquel García-Tomás, Wolfgang Amadé Mozart, and Claude Debussy at the competition’s final concert.
The “Prix Credit Suisse Jeunes Solistes,” which includes a cash prize of CHF 25,000, has been awarded every two years since 2001 to highly talented young musicians and additionally enables them to perform at Lucerne Festival as part of the Debut series. The Atenea Quartet’s concert will take place on 17 August 2023 during Lucerne’s Summer Festival; program details will follow at a later date.
The Atenea Quartet was founded in Barcelona in 2019. The four Spanish musicians Gil Sisquella, Jaume Angeles, Bernat Santacana, and Iago Domínguez Eiras study with Rainer Schmidt of the Hagen Quartet and Silvia Simionescu of the Gringolts Quartet, among others, at the FHNW Academy of Music in Basel. The ensemble has performed at such internationally renowned venues as the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, the Swiss Chamber Music Festival, and the Barcelona String Quartet Biennale. In 2021 they won first prize at the Orpheus Swiss Chamber Music Competition.
“One of the special features of the ‘Prix Credit Suisse Jeunes Solistes’ is that the finalists compete against both soloists playing a variety of instruments and different types of ensembles. What we look for is not the best pianist in technical terms or the most outstanding violinist, but musical personalities whose artistic presentation is convincing and who touch listeners through their uniqueness,” explains Noémie Robidas, Chairwoman of the jury and President of the Conference of Swiss Universities of Music (CSUM) as well as Director of the HEMU– Haute École de Musique de Lausanne.
“The Atenea Quartet’s impressive performance of their program was persuasive and inspiring. I am very much looking forward to their Debut concert at our Summer Festival,” remarked Michael Haefliger, a jury member and the Executive and Artistic Director of Lucerne Festival. “Like numerous previous winners of the ‘Prix Credit Suisse Jeunes Solistes,’ these musicians fulfill all of the prerequisites necessary for an international career and have a promising future ahead of them.”
Daniela Bertoli, Deputy Managing Director of the Credit Suisse Foundation, was also impressed: “The standards at this competition are very high and the level of the finalists is always excellent. This shows that young musical talent meets with ideal conditions at Swiss music academies.”
The “Prix Credit Suisse Jeunes Solistes” is a joint initiative of Lucerne Festival, the CSUM, and the Credit Suisse Foundation. Following an internal selection process, each conservatory was allowed to nominate a maximum of two participants for the semi-finals, which took place at the end of October at Zurich University of the Art. This year, two soloists and three ensembles qualified for the final round in Lausanne: in addition to the winning Atenea Quartet, the cellist Miguel Braga, the pianist Federico Gad Crema, the Modulor Quartet, and the Trio Sheliak competed for the award. Along with Noémie Robidas and Michael Haefliger, the jury consisted of Floriane Cottet (Orchestre Dijon Bourgogne) as well as Stephan Schmidt (FHNW Academy of Music / Musik-Akademie Basel), Michael Eidenbenz (Zurich University of the Arts), and Valentin Gloor (CSUM / Lucerne School of Music), all three of whom represented Swiss music academies. Daniela Bertoli was a guest of the jury for the Credit Suisse Foundation.