Cesare Panizzi is the winner of the XXVIII edition of the Massimo Urbani International Award, which concluded in Camerino on Saturday the 29th. At just twenty-four years old, the pianist from Parma impressed everyone with his refined technique and deep understanding of his instrument. In addition to first place, Panizzi also won the Paolo Piangiarelli Award, which will allow him to record his first album, and the Nuovo IMAIE Award, which will take him on tour across Italy.

The high-level final challenged the technical jury, chaired by Francesco Cafiso, who won the Urbani Award in 2001 at just 12 years old and was honored with the title of Knight of the Italian Republic by President Sergio Mattarella for high artistic merits. The jury carefully examined every detail to compile a ranking that accurately reflected the qualities of the musicians in the competition.

“The Award represents a crucial moment of sharing, artistic exchange, and personal growth,” commented Cafiso. “This is my third time as jury president, and I must say the level is always higher; there’s no going back now. In evaluating the 12 talented finalists, I considered not only key elements such as timing, swing, language, and knowledge of tradition, but also many details that contribute to forming an artistic impression,” emphasized the saxophonist. “I witnessed a healthy competition where participants saw the award as an opportunity for comparison and personal growth. Although music, and jazz in particular, is not a competition, in such an important contest for jazz soloists, the aspects I evaluated proved essential to understanding Cesare’s performance.”

“I am truly honored to have won the Massimo Urbani Award,” Cesare Panizzi declared enthusiastically. “I didn’t expect it at all; I’m still in shock (smiles). This victory gives me the chance to record an album, so my current projects are focused on this: working on the album and preparing for concerts. It was an incredible experience; a magical atmosphere was created with the other finalists, and despite the very high level, there was no envy but sharing. We spent a wonderful day together.”

The second place went to pianist Simone Locarni, 25 years old from Verbania, who also won the Critic’s Jury Award, composed of Fabio Ciminiera from Jazz Convention, Massimiliano Viti from Corriere Adriatico, Adriano Pedini, president of Fano Jazz, and Libero Farnè from All About Jazz Italia and Musica Jazz.

Third place was shared ex aequo by guitarist Gianluca Palazzo, 28 years old from Martina Franca (Taranto), and trumpeter Alberto Di Leone, 28 years old from Bari. The youngest contestant, 18-year-old singer Sofia Cocciolo from Brindisi, won the Social Award with over 4,000 votes and a scholarship to Nuoro Jazz, while the Fara Music Summer School scholarship and the Audience Award were given to singer Rubina Della Pietra, 24 years old from Nola, Naples.

The Massimo Urbani International Award is organized by the Musicamdo association in collaboration with the Municipality of Camerino, the Marche Region, the University of Camerino, I-Jazz, MIDJ, Nuoro Jazz, Fara Music Festival, Emme Record Label, NUOVO IMAIE, and with the support of MIBACT.