BREAKING | VC Young Artist Merz Trio Awarded 1st Prize at NY's Naumburg Competition

Comprising pianist Lee Dionne, violinist Brigid Coleridge and cellist Julia Yang, the ensemble previously served as the Professional Trio-in-Residence at the New England Conservatory

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The Boston-based VC Young Artist Merz Trio was awarded first prize at the 2021 Naumburg International Chamber Music Competition, in New York City.

The trio are former top prize winners at the Fischoff and Chesapeake Chamber Music Competitions and the 2019 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition.

The Merz will receive USD $15,000 and a fully subsidized New York recital — including the world premiere of a newly-commissioned work.

"We heard seven wonderfully talented chamber groups over the last two days and it is indeed a joy to see that chamber music is alive and thriving even during the hardships of Covid," Nicholas Mann, President of the Naumburg Foundation told The Violin Channel.

“The Ulysses and Balourdet Quartets were both outstanding in today’s final, but the jury today awarded this year’s chamber prize to the beautifully sensitive, intelligent and evocative Merz Trio," he said. “I look forward to watching the future successful careers of all today's participants. Congratulations to all three fantastic ensembles.”

“We’re just so grateful, honored and incredibly thankful to the large number of people who’ve been so supportive to the three of us over the past number of years,” the Merz Trio told The Violin Channel.

“We’d especially like to thank, with all our hearts, our mentors Vivian and Don Weilerstein and our wonderful families and friends for everything they’ve done to help us achieve this today.”

Hosted by the The Walter W. Naumburg Foundation since 1925, and rotating each year between predominantly violin, piano, cello, vocal and ensemble categories, previous first prize winners include Louis Kaufman, Robert Mann, Berl Senofsky, Joseph Silverstein, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Leonidas Kavakos, Axel Strauss, Frank Huang, and VC Artist Tessa Lark.

The 2021 competition was open to North American string quartets, piano trios, and conductor-less chamber ensembles between three and eight players, with all members under the age of 34.

The Violin Channel this week caught up with Nicholas Mann, to discuss the now over 95-year-old old competition and the amazing roster of artists it’s successfully helped to launch the careers of.

This year's jury comprised Nicholas MannDavid GeberCarol WincencSamuel RhodesSeth KnoppPaul Watkins, and Mark Steinberg.

The Naumburg Foundation and New York’s Town Hall will hold a special gala concert to celebrate 50 years of chamber music on October 8, 2021. The special event will include performances by clarinetist Charlie Neidich, pianist Anton Nel, soprano Dawn Upshaw, the Eighth Blackbird, and the American, Bretano, Pacifica, Telegraph and Emerson String Quartets. The concert will be streamed LIVE on The Violin Channel.