Two Polish cellists win music competition in US – Ministry of Culture

Krzysztof Michalski and Michal Balas, two cellists from the Wladyslaw Zelenski State Secondary School of Music in Krakow, southern Poland, won the Johansen International Competition for Young String Players, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage said on Monday.

The competition took place on March 14-17, 2018, in Washington.

"The Johansen International Competition is recognised as a prestigious international competition for gifted young string players. It takes place once every three years and is considered a gateway to an international music career. Each edition of the competition features 200 of the best violinists, violists and cellists under the age of 18 from around the world. The event is renowned for its high artistic level and significant prize awards. The performances of the participants are observed by talent scouts from all over the United States who offer the best scholarships and impresario services,” according to the website of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

In the previous history of the competition, no Pole had been able to qualify for the semi-finals. In this year's semi-final, among the 31 musicians selected from among 191 artists participating in the qualifying rounds, were two young cellists from Krakow: fifteen-year-old Krzysztof Michalski and sixteen-year-old Michal Balas.

"Both of them did not give their fellow competitors a chance - the two Polish music students tied for first place. Each of the winners received a check for $10,000, a scholarship from the University of South Carolina and an invitation to play concerts in the USA during the upcoming concert season," emphasised the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.