Three Japanese female contestants dominated the piano category of the annual International Johannes Brahms Competition on Saturday in Poertschach, Austria.

Misako Mihara, 30, from Kanagawa Prefecture won first prize, while 26-year-old Shiho Ojima from Tokyo took second prize and Fuko Ishii, 28, from Kanagawa third.

The competition, one of the most prestigious music contests in Europe, has piano, violin, viola, cello, chamber music and voice categories.

It is known for a judging style different from those of many other events, with each juror giving marks immediately after contestants' performances in view of the audience instead of using a jury committee behind closed doors.

(Misako Mihara)
[Photo courtesy of Mihara]