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Report & Result: 2018 European Solo Competition

The first European title of the 2018 Championships has been won by Austrian baritone player Felix Geroldinger.

Felix Geroldinger
  Felix Geroldinger (centre) has won the European Soloist Competition title

22 year told baritone player Felix Geroldinger, who, according to an esteemed panel of internationally renowned judges gave a performance that showed "...an extra level of musical intelligence", has become the 8th European Soloist Champion.

Superb

And according to Tormod Flaten, Martin Winter and Simone Rebello who were joined by Erik Janssen for the final, it was not only his superb rendition of Martin Ellerby's 'Baritone Concerto' at the TivoliVredenberg on Thursday evening that saw him win the €2,500 first prize, but his playing over two days of intense competition.

In addition, Felix also won the €500 'Band Prize' chosen by the players of Brass Band Schoonhoven, who provided excellent accompaniment to the three finalists under the baton of Russell Gray.

"I'm humbled," Felix said modestly as was joined by the two other players on the Herz Hall stage to accept the prize.

"They were amazing, and it was an honour to share the stage with them. I'm a little emotional as my family are here to enjoy this with me — and I owe them so much."

He added: "I really enjoyed the experience and playing the piece in the final. The middle section has so much music and I just had enough left to give it everything in the last movement!"

Plays from the heart

As for the the future? "I want to be able to carry on enjoying my playing and getting better. I still have so much to learn."

That family pride in his achievement was obvious just a little while later, as his equally emotional father hugged him proudly. "He plays from the heart," he said. "That's what he has always done since taking up playing."

Trio of stunning talents

In a final that showcased a trio of quite stunning talents, the runner-up was Lionel Fumeaux, a 22 year bass trombonist who plays with Treize Etoiles Band from Switzerland.

His stunning rendition of the Derek Bourgeois 'Bass Trombone Concerto' made him the favourites in many people's eyes — especially the audience, who voted to give him their special €500 prize in addition to his €1,500 award.

Local favourite, 25 year old tuba player Luc Geraats from The Netherlands was third, with his splendid rendition of the Vaughan Williams 'Tuba Concerto' taking home a prize package worth €750.

Hig class entrants

The 2018 edition of the event had attracted a very high class field of entrants from around Europe, with the top 19 (one unfortunately had to drop out) making it through to the final two rounds of competition in Utrecht.

After their performances of set repertoire in the first round, and their own-choice selections in the second, the top three went through to the 'concerto' final.

The judges remarked that the standard on show was very high indeed, with Eric Janssen emphasise the point when he said that it must have been given the "incredible level" of "unbelievable" performances showcased in the final.

Virtuoso

Few would have disagreed, as Swiss bass trombonist Lionel Fumeaux displayed virtuosic technique on the Bourgeois work that stunned the audience.

And with Luc Geraats playing with huge maturity and elegance on one of the most famous pieces in the tuba repertoire, little wonder the judges had to make the most of their break, as the second half saw a super 'mini-concert' from the European Youth Brass Band, to make up their minds.

In the end though it was the 22 year old who plays baritone with Brass Band Oberosterreich that was crowned champion to follow in the musical footsteps of his compatriot Hannes Holzl in 2001 in becoming the European Soloist Champion.

I really enjoyed the experience and playing the piece in the final. The middle section has so much music and I just had enough left to give it everything in the last movement!Winner, Felix Geroldinger

Result:

1. Felix Geroldinger (Baritone) — Austria
2. Lionel Fumeaux (Bass Trombone) — Switzerland
3. Luc Geraats (Tuba) — The Netherlands

Audience Award: Lionel Fumeaux

Brass Band Schoonhoven Players Award: Felix Geroldinger



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John Maines

BA (Hons)
Presenter, compere and conductor