Matt Dupont won second place in the 2020 Prix Orford Musique, following a live semi–final and final round that took place August 11–15. In addition to a full scholarship to two weeks at the 2021 Orford Music Academy, Dupont was awarded a $4,000 cash prize and coaching sessions to aid in his professional development. Dupont shares, “I am very excited to have won this prize as a musician, and not only as a harpist. I am glad I was judged on musicality and artistry rather than technique or fingerings as we see sometimes in harp competition.” The eight semi–finalists included three pianists, two violinists, an oboe player, and a violist. Pianist Poom Prommachart won first prize, and violinist Abby Walsh won third prize and the people’s choice award.
Due to the pandemic, the two final rounds were not open to the public, though the competitors did perform in front of a jury. “I am used to playing in front of an audience, and at first it was a bit disturbing to play in an empty hall with only a camera and a jury panel seated far far far away. I eventually got into my music and focused on it,” says Dupont. He also shares that this competition was a major source of motivation for him after months without performances. “Play what, play for who, play why?” he asks. “There were no deadlines for upcoming concerts or gigs. When I received the great news that I was selected for the semi–finals, I found the energy coming back in me. It was so exciting to play for a reason, for someone, and with a deadline! Within a month, I got back in shape and set up a 45 minute long repertoire.” His program included works by Lœillet, Spohr, Saint–Saëns, Tailleferre, Lizotte, and Hasselmans.
“It was a very nice opportunity to play again,” he says. “I am very grateful to Orford Musique for keeping the academy alive, shifting it online and gathering the energy to put on a competition for us even during a pandemic.”
Click here for more information about the 2020 Prix Orford Music.