Gonçalo Nova wins the Prague Spring Competition

Another major solo competition for young trombonists has recently concluded. Unlike the inaugural Michel Becquet competition, the “74th Prague Spring Competition” boasts a rich history dating all the way back to 1947. The categories rotate each year, and in 2023, the featured instruments were the trombone and viola. The last time since 2011 aspiring trombonists had the chance to enter was in 2011, when Nicolas Moutier was awarded a 2nd prize.

A young duo tops the event

Gonçalo Nova, a 19-year-old trombonist from Oporto, Portugal, emerged as the winner of the competition. Nova commenced his studies with Joaquim Oliveira at the Oporto Conservatory, where he graduated with the highest distinction. In 2021, he continued his studies at the Freibourg Univeristy of Music with prof. Fabrice Millicher. Nova is the principal trombonist of the orchestra of the Stuttgart State Opera, a position he won in April 2022


Securing the second prize was Juhyeon Seo, representing Seoul, South Korea. He an alumnus of the reknown Sunhwa Arts School. Seo’s talent has already been recognized in his home country through accomplishments like his victory in the T&B Music competition in 2018 and having two performances available on Amazon Music. He was granted a special scholarship for talented young artists sponsored by the Hyundai Motor Chung Mong-koo Foundation. At only 16 years old, Seo’s triumph in the trombone category of the Dong-Ha Music Competition in 2020 made him the competition’s youngest-ever winner. Presently, Seo is a first-year student at Seoul National University.

The third prize went to Tim Oewjan from the Netherlands. He is the principal trombonist of the Netherland’s Radio Orchestra, and was also a finalst in the Michel Becquet competition.

In addition to the 3 prize winners, the jury rewarded 2 Honourable Mentions to Botond Drahos from Hungary and Jarosƚaw Meisner from Poland.

A group of competitors from all over the world!

The competition started with 33 preselected trombonists representing an impressive array of countries: China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United States of America and Venezuela. 13 of them advanced to the 2nd round, and 3 of them passed all the way to the final.

The young trombonists who advanced to the second showing a great attitude towards the competition!

Did the jury choose the right winners and finalists? You can judge yourself or just enjoy some great trombone playing as the entire competition is available on YouTube!

-Eyvind Sommerfelt
Online news co-ordinator