The ELBA ISOLA MUSICALE D’EUROPA Festival has always been very active in promoting young talents. The Elba Festival Prize, created in 2003, is awarded every year to a young musician, recommended by the Artistic Director after a careful work of talent scouting.

The aim of the award is to enhance and encourage the young (often very young) talented musicians who are taking their first steps in capturing the attention of the public, or who have already started a career abroad and are still unknown in Italy. The Elba Festival Prize is an important part of the activities of the Friends of the Festival Association: since 2004 the Association finances the Prize, and its President participates in the award ceremony.

Most of the Festival’s 17 winners have later received other important international awards and have undertaken an intense concert activity, crowned by numerous successes: the Russian pianist Miroslav Kultyshev, awarded with our prize at the age of 18 in the first edition, subsequently won the prestigious Monte-Carlo Piano Masters and the second prize at the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow; the Italian pianist Vanessa Benelli Mosell, encouraged by our Prize (she was 17), continued her studies in Moscow and London, then settled in Paris where she became a sophisticated and brilliant interpreter of contemporary music; Alexander Gavrylyuk, Ukrainian-born Australian pianist, awarded in 2005, won in the same year a Gold Medal at the Arthur Rubinstein International Competition in Tel Aviv; the Hungarian violinist Kristóf Baráti, who from a very young age has distinguished himself in some international competitions, after the Festival’s recognition in 2006, won the first prize at the Paganini International Competition in Moscow, and his concert career exploded internationally; in 2007 the Elba Festival Prize introduced Alena Baeva, a winner of the Henryk Weniawski Competition in Poznań and the Paganini International Competition in Moscow who was unknown to the Italian public; for the Ukrainian pianist Vadym Kholodenko the Elba Festival Prize was a key event, following which he won three international competitions including, in 2013, the prestigious Van Cliburn Competition in Fort Worth (USA); for the Belgian violinist Marc Bouchkov, the Prize, received at the age of 18, marked the start of a series of awards in several important international competitions, including the Henri Koch of Liège, the Queen Elisabeth of Brussels, the First Prize at the Montreal International Competition and, more recently, the silver medal at the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow.

The Elba Festival Prize 2019 was awarded to an exceptional Greek violinist, Jonian Ilias Kadesha, an artist already in great demand in several European countries, but still unknown to the Italian public.

For the first time since 2003, due to the exceptional situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, it was decided to call off the highly anticipated Elba Festival Prize ceremony, but we are already actively scouting for the winner of the 2021 edition of the Festival.

2021 AWARD

Justus Friedrich Eichhorn



One of the outstanding talents of his generation, 11 years old Justus Friedrich Eichhorn was born into a family of musicians in Weimar, Germany, the beautiful city of Liszt and Goethe. He started to improvise on the piano when he was 3 years old, and as a 6-years-old he received his first piano lessons from Helene and Sebastian Roth. By his 9th birthday, Justus Fridrich had won six piano competitions in solo and chamber music, including the first prize of the Carl Bechstein Competition in Berlin as the youngest participant. Since 2019 Justus studies with Prof. Grigory Gruzman at the University of Music Franz Liszt/Musikgymnasium Belvedere. During the winter 2019/20 he worked for three months with Matti Raekallio at the Juilliard School in New York.
In 2020 – after winning the orchestra prize – his orchestra debut took place with the Vogtland Philharmonie Thuringia under director Stefan Fraas. That same year Justus Fridrich produced his first CD recording with the Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester Mannheim, and had the chance to play for Sir András Schiff.
For 2022 he is invited for several concerts with the Klassische Philharmonie Bonn.