Incoming Eastman School of Music freshman Leonardo Colafelice of Italy was awarded a finalist prize in the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition at the conclusion of the event on May 29. As a finalist, he received a cash award of $6,000. In addition, he received the $5,000 prize for Best Performer of a Classical Concerto; the $3,000 prize for Best Performer of a piece by Chopin; and the Advanced Studies Grant for the most outstanding pianist up to 22 years of age of $1,000 a year for three consecutive years.
The prestigious competition, held every three years in Tel Aviv since it was started in 1974, honors Rubinstein’s artistic legacy and showcases and promotes the careers of outstanding young pianists.
At 18, Colafelice was the youngest of the six competitors heading into the rigorous final three rounds of the competition, where he performed Beethoven’s Quintet in E-flat major in the chamber music round, then was joined by the Israel Philharmonic under guest conductor Asher Frisch for Beethoven’s Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninov’s Concerto No. 3. The competition’s Gold Medal was awarded to 25-year-old Ukrainian pianist Antonii Baryshevskyi.
Colafelice, who has been the first-prize winner of some 60 international piano competitions, currently studies with Pasquale Iannone at the Niccolò Piccinni Conservatory of Music in Bari, Italy.
Colafelice was born in Altamura in southern Italy and started playing the piano at the age of eight. In 2013, he was awarded first prize in the Yamaha USASU Competition for Young Pianists, the Aarhus Competition in Denmark, and the Hilton Head Competition. In 2012, Colafelice took first place in the Gina Bachauer Young Artists International Piano Competition, the Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition, and the Eastman Young Artists International Piano Competition.
His list of first prize wins also includes the Young Pianist of the North International Piano Competition in Newcastle, United Kingdom; International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition for Young Artists in Szafarnia, Poland; Concours Musical de France in Paris, France; International Tournament of Music in Verona, Italy; and the Premio Città di Padova in Padua, Italy.
Colafelice regularly performs as a soloist in Italy as well as in the United States.
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