The final of Junior Guildhall’s most prestigious award, the Lutine Prize, was held on Friday 28 June in Milton Court Concert Hall. First place was awarded to Alex Ciulin while clarinettist Marian Bozhidarov was awarded second place.
Alex’s winning recital was a programme of the Sarabande and Gigue from JS Bach’s Suite for Solo Cello No 4, At the Fountain by Karl Davidoff and the first movement of Kodály’s Sonata for Solo Cello, accompanied by pianist John Flinders.
The Lutine Prize is Junior Guildhall’s equivalent of the senior school’s annual Gold Medal competition. Six students were selected from the preliminary round to perform in the final in which they presented a 20-minute solo recital. The winner of the first prize is given the opportunity to perform a concerto with one of the Junior Guildhall ensembles in addition to a cash award.
The other finalists were:
Ellen Baumring-Gledhill cello
Kryštof Kohout violin
Marian Bozhidarov clarinet
Kosta Popovic cello
Charlotte Ward trumpet
The adjudicators this year were Geoffrey Harniess, Head of the Centre for Young Musicians (a division of Guildhall School); Huw Humphreys, Head of Music at London’s Barbican Centre and Jonathan Vaughan, Vice-Principal and Director of Music at Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
The Lutine Prize was inaugurated in 1982 and Alex Ciulin joins a long line of winners, many of whom have enjoyed professional music careers, including Thomas Adès, Tom Poster and Annabel Thwaite.
Alex was born in Iasi, Romania and began to play the cello at the age of seven. He studied at the ‘Octav Bancila’ Music School in Iasi with Professor Baciu before coming to Whitgift School as an International Music Scholar at the age of 13. Already a prize winner at competitions including the ‘Eugen Coca’ Competition in Moldova and ‘Paul Constantinescu’ Competition in Bucharest, he has continued to perform widely since arriving in London, winning numerous prizes in the Croydon Music Festival and playing for audiences ranging from local primary school students to ambassadors and royalty in London’s premier concert venues. In March 2016 Alex performed Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Whitgift Chamber Orchestra as part of the ‘Remembering 1916’ Exhibition at Whitgift. He performed the concerto again at Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza, in Summer 2016 as part of a special concert with the Whitgift Symphony Orchestra to open the city’s annual Shakespeare Festival.
Alex was a finalist in the 2018 Lutine Prize and was delighted to have once again been selected to perform in this year’s final. He has gained scholarships to the senior departments of Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Royal Academy of Music.