Japanese pianist Mami Hagiwara wins first place in the Geneva International Music Competition

Pianist Mami Hagiwara won the top prize at the Geneva International Music Competition in Switzerland on Thursday. This makes her the first Japanese citizen to win the contest’s piano division.

Hagiwara took the jury’s first prize, worth nearly 21 thousand US dollars, with her performance of Maurice Ravel’s Concerto for Piano in G major.

With the Ravel concerto, the 23-year-old Hagiwara chose a demanding piece, where the piano is matched against swelling jazz references in the first movement and the military gallop of the last.

The Geneva competition, launched in 1939, is one of the most prestigious on the international circuit. Pianists Martha Argerich and Maurizio Pollini are among its laureates.

In this year’s piano section, by far the biggest number of the 41 entrants came from East Asian countries.

South Korea’s Hyo Joo Lee and Russia’s Maria Masycheva, shared the second prize.