The Oldest Piano Competition in the Holy Land | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

The Oldest Piano Competition in the Holy Land

Throughout East Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories, the demand for musical education is on the rise but qualified teachers are lacking. For this purpose, the Magnificat Institute of the Custody of The Holy Land organizes every year the Magnificat Piano Competition, to select and promote young musicians that, in the near future, will be able to enter a professional career as performers and teachers within the context of the Arab society.

Sunday January 27th at the Auditorium of S. Savior’s Monastery in Jerusalem, the winners of the competition performed in front of a wide audience.
In the previous days, the winners were selected by a jury, its members coming from local and international music academies that, in different ways have established working relationships with the Magnificat: a qualified jury with strict selection criteria, like the ones in use in many European conservatories.

[Fernando Scafati, lecturer at the Vicenza Conservatory, Italy]
“It’s clear that the work is going forward, there’s enthusiasm and participation, the participants are fantastic, especially the younger ones, with their great talent and the special dedication, so my truly best wishes to continue this way”

The competition was divided in categories according to the age of the participants (young pianists between 7 and 21 years of age) and the complexity of the pieces to play.

[Lea Agmon, director of JAMD, Jerusalem]
“This is my second time and I feel that the competition contributed an amount, an enormous amount to the development of the level of the piano playing here. In general, I think this is an amazing project, the competition itself and the school, the Magnificat Institute, because there are so many talented children who develop so well, (…) and an institution like this can really develop a contribute to world culture, not only for the region but also for world culture”

The competition is named after the saint patron of the Swiss confederation Nikolaus De La Flüe, a peacemaker between different people.
Aside from the Nikolaus De La Flüe Prize, sponsored by the association Friends of the Magnificat in Switzerland, other special prizes were awarded: the Qattan Foundation Prize for accompaniment of a choral piece, the Zia Pina Prize in memory of Giuseppina Zeppilli for best interpretation of JS Bach, the Premio Vallesina Prize for 2 pianos and choir, in honor of the Italian association who donated a prestigious Steinway piano to the Magnificat Institute.

Attending the awards ceremony were also local representatives of the scouts of the Compagnia di S Giorgio, one of the sponsors of the competition for the second year running.

The Friends of the Magnificat in Switzerland will give the winners the chance to perform abroad.

The Magnificat Piano Competition with its 14th consecutive editions is the oldest musical competition taking place every year in the Holy Land.
The Magnificat Institute is, as of today, the only music school that can grant academic piano diplomas in East Jerusalem and the Palestinians Territories.