Piano starlet from Saffron Walden wins prestigious Concours International competition in Paris

A HIGHLY promising 12-year-old pianist has shown his vast potential once again by winning an internationally-renown competition.

Saffron Walden starlet George Harliono was the youngest competitor in the Concours International de Piano de Lagny-sur-Marne held in Paris. Although he was up against contestants studying at music conservatories all over the world, he managed to win in his age group (up to 15 years old) and claim the first prize of €800 plus a place at a 12-day piano workshop in the French Alps.

George, who is a student at The Perse Upper School in Cambridge, was delighted to win, although he admits it was not something he was expecting.

“It was difficult because I had to travel so far to take part and I was quite nervous when I was waiting to perform as the other contestants were all older than me,” he said.

“When I heard them perform they were very good. Most of them are studying at music conservatories and I was worried that I would not be good enough.

“It is a great competition to enter, the standard is very high, so I feel very proud about winning.”

The Concours competition is well known, and the prize for the winner of the main category (under 30 years old) is €3,000.

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The committee of honour includes Stephen Hough and Christopher Elton, who taught former BBC Young Musician of the Year winner Benjamin Grosvenor while the judges came from institutions including the Royal Academy in London, Radio France, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

George is well known in Saffron Walden for his musical prowess, having performed numerous concerts in recent years.

And he will be playing at a number of concerts in 2013, the first of which is a lunchtime concert , starting at 1.15pm, on March 13 at The Divinity School Theatre, St John’s College, Cambridge. The concert is free and George will be performing a number of works including ‘La Campanella’ by Liszt – the same piece which got over 100,000 views on YouTube when he was filmed playing it on a piano as part of the Cambridge Arts Festival in November.