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The youngest member of our PETROF Art Family, Jan Schulmeister, has achieved unprecedented success: he was the first Czech pianist under the age of 13 to win the 1st prize in the prestigious César Franck piano competition in Brussels. The competition took place from 13 to 17 December 2019. The competition was attended by 50 competitors from 26 countries.

On this occasion we asked Jan some questions:

Jan, congratulations. What does winning this competition mean to you?

This competition means a lot to me because it is considered one of the most prestigious competitions for young pianists in Europe. This was also seen in the competition of over fifty pianists, who came here from all over the world. In addition to competitors from European countries, there were young pianists from China, Japan, Australia, and the USA.

How do you evaluate the course of the competition?

I evaluate the course of the competition very positively. The only downside was that there was a very limited number of instruments to play in the competition area, but otherwise, the organization was amazing. I was also very interested in the quiet atmosphere because the competition took place in a beautiful venue around Brussels.

How was your preparation for this competition?

The preparation was the same as for any other competition, because it is always the most important thing to give the best performance, and this is necessary for all competitions - from the smallest to the largest.

Do you have any special rituals that you follow before concerts or competitions?

Yes, I have some “rituals" before concerts and competitions. Perhaps one of the most important is that I always go around the entire stage at the piano. It helps me to concentrate because I imagine bypassing the space that needs to be filled with sound.

What are your next goals and plans?

Two concerts in Prague are coming soon. The first one will be in the hall of the Prague Conservatory on 21 January, where I will play together with the members of the Barocco sempre giovane Mozart's Piano Concerto in A major. It will be part of the Vaclav Hudecek festival "Holidays of Music". The next day I play the same concert in the Church of St. Simon and Judy with the Prague Chamber Orchestra. Furthermore, during February and March, I will finish my second CD featuring compositions by W. A. ​​Mozart, Domenico Scarlatti, Sergei Rachmaninov, Franz Liszt, and Fryderyk Chopin. In June of this year, I will also have a grand opening concert at the Kromeriz festival “Music in Gardens and Chateau”, where I will play together with the Moravian Philharmonic Olomouc. In the meantime, I will also have a few concerts within the Circle of Friends of Music…. and I also have to learn at school…

Thank you for the interview and we wish you a lot of further success!

Photo: private archive of the Schulmeister family

Photo No. 1: Diploma of the winner
Photo No. 2: With the President of the Competition, Belgian pianist Philipp Raskin, Professor of the Royal Conservatory in Brussels