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Cuban pianist Roland Luna wins Solo Prize in Montreux, Switzerland
Cuban pianist Rolando Luna won the top prize in the Piano Solo contest this week in Switzerland as part of the 41st Montreux International Jazz Festival.

The event, sponsored by Bosendorfer Musican Instruments, famous for their pianos, took place at the Petit Theatre of the Montreux Palace with 14 pre-selected musicians from around the world competing.

Luna, who also received the Audience Award, finished ahead of Shahin Novrasli, a piano sensation from Azerbaijan, with third place being shared by David Helbock (Austria) and Sebastien Cicolella (France).

This was the second time that a Cuban pianist won the Montreux prize; in 2005 Harold Lopez Nussa also won first place.

Born in Havana in 1978, Luna graduated from the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory and won the grand prize in Cubas 1998 JoJazz competition that recognizes young jazz musicians.

Cuban singer-songwriter Amaury Perez has praised Luna saying, "It is not only his fast and agile hands or that old Cuban wisdom he possesses inside of him; above all, it is his young heart that he spills all over the piano keys."

The Swiss audience had already heard Luna last year at the Grand Casino of Geneva, playing keyboards with the CarHabana Orchestra, a band put together by bass player Frank Rubio and producer Philippe Malignon.

Source: By Pedro de la Hoz, Granma

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