The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Trombone Jonathon Ramsay has won the 2019 Aeolus International Competition for Wind Instruments in Düsseldorf, taking home the 10,000 Euro prize ($16,000) as well as the Audience Award.

Philippe Schwarz, Jonathon Ramsay, Ross Knight and Lennard Czakaj. Photo © Aeolus International Competition for Wind Instruments

The competition, open this year to trumpet, trombone and tuba players, was held at the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsselford from September 16 to 22, with the musicians competing in three rounds with piano accompaniment, separated by instrument, and a final comprising the winners of each instrumental section performing with the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker at the Tonhalle Düsseldorf.

“It was a long and exhausting week,” Ramsay tells Limelight. “Every single day was either rehearsing or performing, however it was also an incredible opportunity to meet other fantastic musicians and to hear some of them play.”

Scottish tuba player Ross Knight, solo tubist with the Orchester de la Suisse Romande, came in second, with polish trumpeter Lennard Czakaj coming in third, while Philippe Schwarz, Principal Trombonist at the Stadttheater Gießen, won the Prize for the Best Contemporary Interpretation.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have won the prize,” says Ramsay. “The quality of playing is so high at a competition like this one – I was lucky enough to feel fresh and ready each day, and so I was able to perform to the best of my abilities. To have musicians judged in such a way is never a comfortable thing, however at the end of the day, the real winner is the music itself. To have so many incredible musicians work for months on end to explore the smallest of nuances and make the slightest adjustments – there are new things constantly being discovered, and to be able to share these things with a like-minded audience is an incredibly special thing.”