Pianist Kamei wins top prize in Long-Thibaud Competition in Paris

Courtesy of the organizer of the Long-Thibaud Competition
Masaya Kamei

Japanese pianist Masaya Kamei won joint first prize in the Long-Thibaud Competition, known as a gateway to success for young musicians, in Paris on Sunday.

The 20-year-old from Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, shared the top prize with South Korean Lee Hyuk, 22. Kotaro Shigemori, 22, from Fukui, placed fourth.

In the final round of the competition held at the Theatre du Chatelet, Kamei performed Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 5. He captivated the audience with his excellent technique, exquisite phrasing and sometimes intensely passionate playing. The theater filled with applause as soon as he finished his performance.

Kamei is currently a senior at Toho Gakuen College Music Department. He began playing piano at the age of 4. He has achieved superb results in domestic and international competitions, including first place at the Music Competition of Japan in 2019, the year he entered Toho Gakuen earlier than regular students after skipping a grade. Kamei has also performed with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and the NHK Symphony Orchestra.

“He was enjoying himself enthusiastically while performing the piece he likes and is good at,” said pianist Hisako Ueno, his mentor and a specially appointed professor at Toho Gakuen. “His performances are stable, convincing and highly complete, and have the power to draw people in. He is studying composing and conducting as well, and I hope he will take on the next challenge after this prize and become active on the world stage.”