Lucas Kaisen Luo enters the stage in an elegant black suit. The boy bows, adjusts the stool in front of the grand piano precisely. When he intoned the first notes of a Nocturne by Frédéric Chopin, there was complete silence in the audience in Grünwald’s August-Everding-Saal. Lucas Kaisen Luo rocks his head and upper body to the beat of the music and plays a few passages with his eyes closed. He hits the keys incredibly gently, then suddenly powerfully, in order to let the piece fade away again very gently at the end. The player from Unterhaching so impressed the jury at the “Jugend musiziert” competition in the 12 to 14 age group that he was allowed to perform again at the state competition in Passau at the end of March.
A total of around 200 young talents from the districts of Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen, Miesbach, Starnberg and the south of the district of Munich took part in this year’s competition. Some of them, like Lucas Kaisen Luo, were then allowed to show their skills to a larger audience at the three prizewinner concerts in Grünwald over the weekend.
“Jugend musiziert” has been taking place for 60 years. But there are no “signs of aging” to be seen, as Bernhard Huber says, who is in charge of organizing the competition as head of the “Munich South Region” regional committee. On the contrary: With every single contribution, it surprises again what the sometimes very small musicians can already achieve. “Jugend musiziert would like to reveal the abilities that are in the children and young people,” says Huber.
Again and again, performances leave the audience amazed on this Saturday evening. For example, when Sarah Gaviota León Noriega sings a folk song in Spanish with a soft soprano voice. No instrument accompanies the Geretsriederin, only her voice fills the hall. Nikolaus Gahleitner from Tutzing is already reaping applause after the last notes of the furious prelude to the piano suite “Le Cirque” fade away. But the boy smiles and shakes his head, lifts his finger. No, he’s not done yet. Two more short excerpts from the work follow. With their stirring saxophone piece “Pacific Nights”, Fiona Hagn, Nevia Wohland, Cosima Thien-An Wagner and Elias Leckner from the area around Lake Tegernsee complete the great musical variety that will be shown this afternoon.
Dorothee Ulbricht and Lorenzo Giunta from Ottobrunn have been able to prove their talent several times, it is not their first participation in the competition. The flute duo plays a piece entitled “Waltz of the Wolves”. The name is self-explanatory: the two keep interrupting their game for a moment and imitating howling wolves. They look at each other to perfectly time their bet and smile. You can tell how much they enjoy their performance.
“We’re not that excited on stage anymore,” says 18-year-old Dorothee Ulbricht. Because the pressure had already dropped, in the late afternoon the duo already knew that they had made it into the state decider. During the day, however, things looked different: Lorenzo Giunta admits that they were quite nervous before the preliminary round. “It never goes away completely, no matter how often you participate,” says the 15-year-old.
For eleven-year-old Julia Lederer from Sauerlach, foreplay was “the biggest part,” she says. When it became clear that she had achieved first place there, a lot of tension had already left her. Still, she says she was excited as she stepped onto the softly lit stage and put her fingers to the strings of her harp. After all, the August-Everding-Saal offers space for around 300 listeners. However, what helped her against stage fright was the knowledge that she had rehearsed extensively for the performance. Julia Lederer has been playing her instrument for four years. You can tell how practiced she is when she confidently starts the Franziska-Landler, a cheerful piece with bright, warm tones.
According to her own statement, the eleven-year-old is already looking forward to appearing again at the state competition. Can she imagine a great career as a harpist later on? Julia Lederer laughs. “I don’t know yet. I’ll decide that when I grow up.” In any case, she would have good chances: numerous well-known artists have started their careers with “Jugend musiziert”, including the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and the pianist Sophie Pacini.