Review 19th Kissinger KlavierOlymp
30.09. - 03.10.2021

On 3 October, the jury and the audience chose the winners of the KlavierOlymp 2021. This year's winner of the competition for young pianists in Bad Kissingen, Germany's most famous spa town, is Giorgi Gigashvili. This year, for the 19th time, six outstanding young talents from five nations presented themselves to an expert jury and the interested public, who awarded three prizes and an audience prize.

Giorgi Gigashvili is the winner of the 19th Kissingen PianoOlymp. This was announced by the new artistic director Alexander Steinbeis on behalf of the expert jury after the final concert on 3 October. The 20-year-old pianist from Georgia convinced the jury with his individual, highly musical and structurally conscious interpretations of works by Chopin, Messiaen, Scarlatti and Shostakovich. He demonstrated unconditional creative will and captivated the audience with his natural stage presence. Sandro Nebieridze, also from Georgia, was awarded second prize. The jury was impressed by his crystal-clear, virtuoso creative power. The third prize was awarded to 26-year-old Gustav Piekut from Denmark. The audience prize was also awarded to Giorgi Gigashvili. Other pianists in the competition were Dmytro Choni (Ukraine), Josefa Schmidt (Germany) and Xiaolu Zang (China).

Giorgi Gigashvili already has a rich concert career and performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician. He works with various orchestras and participates in various festivals and master classes worldwide. He has recently performed at the Salle Cortot, Paris, and with the Filharmonia Bałtycka at the Philharmonie Gdansk. He is studying with the Georgian pianist and teacher Revaz Tavadze at the Tbilisi Conservatory. His awards include 1st prize at the Lloret de Mar International Competition "Fiestalonia Milenio" (Spain, 2013), 1st prize at the IV Fryderyk Chopin Competition for Young Pianists (Tbilisi, 2015), 3rd prize at the International Chopin Competition in Estonia (2016), 2nd prize at the 6th Tbilisi International Piano Competition (2017), 1st prize as well as the Nelson Freire Special Prize at the III. International Piano Competition of Vigo (Martha Argerich Edition, 2019), the 3rd as well as the Audience Prize at the International Piano Competition Ferruccio Busoni (Bolzano, 2019). He was awarded the Hortense Anda-Bührle Promotional Prize for one of the youngest participants by the Géza Anda Foundation at the 15th Concours Géza Anda 2021 in Zurich.

On the one hand, the successful participants of the competition can be experienced in the programme of the Kissinger Sommer 2022, on the other hand, they are supported on their career path through cooperation with other organisers and the arrangement of further performances. The final concert of the KlavierOlymp was recorded by Bayerischer Rundfunk and will be broadcast on 16 October at 15:05 on BR-Klassik.

As part of the Kissinger KlavierOlymp 2021, six highly talented young pianists aged 20 to 28 from five countries presented themselves to the audience and a jury of four, consisting of Manuel Brug (music critic Die Welt), Ulrich Hauschild (manager Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks), Sonia Simmenauer (managing director Impresariat Simmenauer) and Alexander Steinbeis (artistic director Kissinger Sommer). The solo recitals with programmes of their own choice took place in the Rossini Hall, the joint final concert in the Max Littmann Hall in Bad Kissingen.

Despite restrictions due to the Corona pandemic, the 19th Kissinger KlavierOlymp was able to continue its successful concept again this year and, with almost 1,500 tickets sold, enthuse numerous concert guests for the new generation of pianists. This corresponds to an increase in concert attendance of 30% compared to the previous record year of 2019.

Bild_KKO_nur der Berg

Every year in October, the Kissinger KlavierOlymp creates a podium for young pianists in Bad Kissingen. Six highly talented young pianists - all of whom are prize winners of national and international competitions - are invited to Bad Kissingen each year to perform their own solo programme for the jury and the Bad Kissingen audience. A jury of experts selects the prize-winners; in addition, the audience who have attended all the concerts awards an audience prize.

Six highly gifted young pianists who are among the outstanding young European talents are invited to Bad Kissingen every year to present themselves to the jury and the audience in Kissingen with a complete solo programme of their own in the renowned Rossini Hall/Max Littmann Hall. They are all prize winners of national and international competitions and have already made significant career steps. 

A jury of experts will select the prize-winners; in addition, the audience who have attended all the concerts will award an audience prize. The three winners of the Kissinger KlavierOlymp are guaranteed an invitation to the next Kissinger Sommer.

Even after the competition in autumn, the Kissinger Sommer supports the pianists of the KlavierOlymp. Through cooperation with other organisers, the aim is to place the young prize-winners in artistic engagements outside the Kissinger Sommer.

The 20th Kissinger KlavierOlymp will take place from 6 - 9 October 2022. 

The Jury

Alexander Steinbeis © Kai Breitling

Alexander Steinbeis

Thomas Ahnert

Thomas Ahnert

took over the Artistic Directorship of the Kissinger Sommer at the beginning of April 2021 with the start of the 2022 festival as successor to Kari Kahl-Wolfsjäger and Tilman Schlömp. Previously, he was Managing Director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin for 13 years. In this role, he was responsible for the overall artistic planning as well as the introduction of numerous innovative concert formats and worked closely with conductors such as Kent Nagano, Ingo Metzmacher, Tugan Sokhiev and Robin Ticciati.  From 1999 to 2005, he served as Associate Artistic Administrator for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival. Alexander Steinbeis grew up in Upper Bavaria and Great Britain.

grew up in Munich. He studied German, Romance languages and literature and education in Munich and Würzburg. He is a freelance journalist for various daily
newspapers. In addition to his active working life, Thomas Ahnert is a contributor for the "Saale-Zeitung" (Bad Kissingen), "Fränkischer Tag" (Bamberg), "Coburger Tagblatt" and other newspapers of the Upper Franconia media group. Contributions to other newspapers and magazines, programme author. Co-initiator of the Bad Kissingen KlavierOlymp 2003 and since then member of the jury. As a practising and performing musician,  he is violinist of a string quartet and double bassist of the Kissingen Chamber Orchestra.

Sonja Simmenauer © Lennart Rühle

Sonia Simmenauer

Ulrich Hausschild

Ulrich Hauschild

The cultural manager, publicist and impresaria Sonia Simmenauer, born in the USA and raised in Paris, began working for the chamber music department of Konzertdirektion Schmid in Hanover in 1982. In 1989, she set up her own impresariat, Impresariat Simmenauer, in Hamburg, with the intention of founding a string quartet agency and has since represented many of the world's most important string quartets. She later added soloists such as Gidon Kremer and Alexander Melnikov. In addition to her full-time work, she pursues an extensive teaching career: a seminar in cultural management at the University of Lüneburg in 1996 was followed by lectureships at the Lübeck Academy of Music (1997), the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music Berlin (1998-2000) and the University of Witten-Herdecke (2004-2008). Since 2010, Sonia Simmenauer has been an honorary professor at the Musikhochschule in Hamburg. In 2008, she opened the Jewish Café Leonar and Jewish Salon in Hamburg's Grindelviertel and published a book "Muss es sein" (Does it have to be) with the Berenberg publishing house, which was celebrated in the feature pages. In 2009, Sonia Simmenauer and her agency moved from Hamburg to Berlin.

Since January 2021, Ulrich Hauschild has been manager of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra with its designated principal conductor Sir Simon Rattle. As Music Director of the Palais des Beaux-Arts Brussels (Bozar) between 2013 and 2020, Ulrich Hauschild was responsible for the complete musical programme and the development of the artistic mission of one of Europe's most important cultural centres. Before his time in Brussels, Ulrich Hauschild was managing director of "pèlerinages" Kunstfest Weimar with overall responsibility for the cross-disciplinary curated festival. Between 2005 and 2007 he worked as a consultant for the Lucerne Festival, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, Unitel Classica and the Salzburg Festival. As artistic director of the Konzerthaus Dortmund, he was instrumental in shaping the new profile of the new concert hall in the first years of its development. As personal advisor to Gerard Mortier at the Salzburg Festival and as personal assistant to Robert Wilson, he gained experience with two of the most influential opera personalities of the 20th century.

Manuel Brug

Manuel Brug

Born in Munich in 1965, after training in ballet at the Heinz Bosl Foundation and the Munich Musikhoch-schule, he studied theatre studies, comparative literature and musicology at the Ludwig Maximilian University. After working for Bayerischer Rundfunk and ARD, as music and dance critic for the "Süddeutschen Zeitung", editor at at "Opernwelt", "Wochenpost" and "Tagesspiegel", he was music and dance editor at "Welt" from 1998; he has been an author there since 2017. In 1999 he was awarded the Critics' Prize of the Salzburg Festival. He has written numerous articles for newspapers and magazines at home and abroad, for encyclopaedias, anthologies, essay collections, specialist journals and radicals.  In 2003 his book "The New Singers' Voices" was published, in 2006 "Opera directors today" and in 2008 "Rolando Villazón - The Art of Being a Tenor".

The candidates of the 19th Kissingen Piano Olympics 2021

Gustav Piekut © Nils Krogh Hansen

Gustav Piekut

Dmytro Choni © Anna Logachova

Dmytro Choni 

Sandro Nebieridze © Jean-Baptiste Millot

Sandro Nebieridze

Josefa Schmidt © Markus Kuczewski

Josefa Schmidt

Xiaolu Zang

Xiaolu Zang

Giorgy Gigashvili © Anda-Stiftung-Dmitry Khamzin

Giorgy Gigashvili


Promotion of the
Kissinger Piano Olympics

Förderung KlavierOlymp © kai -

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Kissinger Sommer
Erna Buscham
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The award winners of the
Kissinger Piano Olympics

This is an overview of the award winners of the Kissinger Piano Olympics so far. Many artists have laid the groundwork for their careers here in Bad Kissingen. Numerous pianists rose up to be stars of classical music through the Kissinger Piano Olympics such as Igor Levit, Michail Lifits, Herbert Schuch and Kit Armstrong.

 Year1st place2nd place3rd placeAudience Prize


Martin Helmchen
Nikolai Tokarew

Stewart GoodyearKyrill GersteinMihaela Ursuleasa

2004Alexei ZouevIgor LevitAlice Sara OttAndrei Banciu


Herbert Schuch

Lukas Vondrávcek

Anna Winnizkaja
Peter Ovtscharov

Joseph Moog
Miroslav Kultyshev


Christian Ihle Hadland
Kit Armstrong

not awardedAlexej GorlachMona Asuka Ott


Vestard Shimkus

Michail LifitsDavid KadouchZhang Hai'ou


Yeol Eum Son

Olga SchepsBenjamin KimClaire Huangci


Kiryl Keduk

Boris KusnezkowKateryna TitovaKiryl Keduk


Behzod Abduraimov

Nareh ArghamanyanAvan YuAlexei Grigorjew


Konstantin Shamray

Adan LaloumPawel KolesnikowPawel Kolesnikow


Magdalena Müllerperth
Da Sol Kim

not awardedBeatrice MagnaniMagdalena Müllerperth


Chi Ho Han

Georgy TchaidzeAurelia ShimkusChi Ho Han


Julian Jia

Niu NiuBoyang ShiJulian Jia


Jorge González

Maxim LandoClayton StephensonJorge González


Elisabeth Brauß

Julian Trevelyan
Thomas Schuch

not awardedNikolay Khozyainov


Emre Yavuz

Sergei RedkinViktor SoosLuisa Imorde


Juan Pérez Floristán

Martin James BartlettŁukasz KrupińskiMartin James Bartlett


Tomoki Sakata

Tiffany PoonRobert NeumannTomoki Sakata


  Sergey Tanin

 Yoav Levanon  Ziyu LiuSergey Tanin


Giorgi Gigashvili

Sandro NebieridzeGustav PiekutGiorgi Gigashvili