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Esteban Castro, 13 years old, wins the 2016 piano competition

He’s the youngest person in the history of the competitions in Montreux! Esteban Castro from America – who is only 13 years old – has won the prestigious competition this year. Yaron Herman was president of the jury. The other jurors were RTS journalist Yvan Ischer, Moods Zurich programmer Carine Zuber, and Julie du Luxembourg, member of the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation’s board.

The standard was very high in this competition based on solidarity and improvisation. Just 15 days before the competition began, Yaron Herman decided to shake up the participants’ program by changing their set pieces without warning, forcing them out of their comfort zones.

1ST PRIZE: ESTEBAN CASTRO

Esteban Castro is a pianist and composer from the New York area. He has garnered multiple awards, such as the ASCAP Foundation’s Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award, the DownBeat Student Awards for Best Compositions and Best Soloist, and the Charles Mingus and Essentially Ellington Outstanding Soloist Awards. He has already recorded three award-winning albums that critics have described as “beaming with creative energies,” “surpassing all expectations,” and showing that, “while the pianist still might, in fact, be just a boy, he is already his own man.” He attends the Manhattan School of Music on a scholarship and performs with the Jazz House Big Band.

Second and Third Prizes went, respectively, Guy Mintus from Israel and Casimir Liberski from Brussels, Belgium.

THE THREE TOP FINISHERS WILL PARTICIPATE IN THE THIRD MONTREUX JAZZ ACADEMY FROM 3 TO 10 MARCH 2017.