Haifa Arts Foundation gave financial rewards to musicians who have won the first three places in the Young Pianist Competition 2014. In addition, the winners were booked to play in special concerts of The Haifa Chamber Music Society and first place winner, Michael Haj, From the Rubin Conservatory, was invited to perform as a soloist in a concert in the Classic Friday series with the Haifa Symphony Orchestra.
The Young Pianist Competition was first held in Haifa in May 2014, to encourage young pianists. The competition was held under the auspices of the Haifa Arts Foundation, initiated and produced by Ethos, in cooperation with the Haifa Chamber Music Society, under the artistic directorship of Prof. Amos Lanir.
The participants were piano students from schools in Haifa and its vicinity, such as Rubin Conservatory, Dunie Weizman Conservatory and Reut School of Arts.
After initial selection, seven students made it to the semi-finals, and three contestants—Eli Haitov, Michael Haj and Shahar Shaked—made it to the finals, held on 30 may in Rappaport Hall in Carmel Center, and were asked to play two works: one classic or pre-classic and one romantic or a 20th-century piece.
First place was awarded to Michael Haj, a 14 years-old student from the School of Nuns in Nazareth-Haifa; second place was won by Eli Haitov, 17, 11th grade student at Ort Motzkin School; third place was won by Shahar Shaked, 18, 12th grade student at Leo Beck. All three were students of the Rubin Conservatory.
The jury in the first stages included Mrs. Stella Wenkert, Mrs. Diana Bucur, and pianist and conductor Yoni Farhi. The jurors in the finals were pianist and professor of piano teaching Tomer Lev from the school of music Buchman–Mehta; pianist Ran Zemach; and headed by world-renowned pianist Ilan Rechtman, Director of music programs at the Tel Aviv Museum.