• Kyodo

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A Japanese piano trio won first prize in the prestigious ARD International Music Competition on Saturday, the organizer said.

The Aoi Trio, formed by graduates of Tokyo University of the Arts, is the first from Japan to win any prize in the category at ARD International, one of the most prestigious classical music competitions in the world.

“This is our start. We want to continue to perform together for a long time,” pianist Kosuke Akimoto, 25, said. The other two members are 26-year-old violinist Kyoko Ogawa and cellist Yutaka Ito, also 26.

Three piano trios competed in the final round in Munich, with Lux Trio from South Korea and Trio Marvin from Kazakhstan, Russia and Germany sharing third place. A piano trio is a group that plays piano and two other instruments, usually a cello and a violin.

Aoi Trio received a cash prize of €18,000 (¥2,350,000).

The competition, which began on Sept. 3 and ends Friday, focuses on different instruments each year. This year’s competition focused on viola, piano trio, voice and trumpet, drawing a total of 257 musicians from 36 countries.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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