Classic Strings to Present 2022 Violin and Cello Competition

The Competition for Violin will be held from May 10-23, 2022, while the Competition for Cello will be held from May 9-18, 2022 — both final rounds to be streamed on The Violin Channel

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Following two inaugural editions of the festival, in Riga in 2018 and in Vienna in 2019, this third edition of the Classic Strings Competition will bring together young string players at Dubai's Music Hall Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.

Open to applicants of all nationalities younger than 35 years old, the competition consists of three rounds with the final round performed with the orchestra.

The president of the competition Konstantin Ishkhanov will welcome Orchestra-in-residence Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and conductors Sergey Smbatyan (Armenia) and Dmitry Yablonksy (USA/Spain) to perform with the competition's participants. 

The American-Maltese composer Alexey Shor will serve as Composer-in-Residence. His work Phantasms, for violin and orchestra, will be performed in the violin competition, while his Musical Pilgrimage, for cello and orchestra, will be performed in the cello competition.

The first prize winner will receive €100,000, consisting of €50,000 in cash plus a tour of 10 concerts with a total honorarium of €50,000. The second prize consists of €30,000, while the third prize consists of €15,000. In the first round, there will be special prizes for the best performance of a Maltese composer’s piece consisting of €2,000 and for the best performance of a compulsory piece consisting of €5,000. Lastly, there will be 5 special finalist prizes of €1,000. 

"As with every music competition, the primary mission of Classic Strings is to support promising young musicians by providing them with an opportunity to put their years of training and preparation to the test in a real-world scenario, away from the practice room, while also giving the most accomplished among them valuable exposure and promotion so as to help us identify and support the music stars of the future," Konstantin Ishkhanov said.

"However, an important additional goal with this edition in particular is to ensure that such opportunities, which have existed in Europe and North America for many years, are made available to aspiring talented musicians all around the world and not just in specific regions, which is one of the reasons why this competition is being held in the Middle East," he added. "Music is a universal, global heritage, and we need to make sure that all musicians, wherever they may be, will be able to know that there will be a platform for them to showcase their talent and reap the rewards for their hard work."

The Violin Competition's 1st Round will be held from May 10-16, 2nd Round from May 18-20, and the Final Round from May 21-23.

60 participants will compete in the first round representing 30 nationalities: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, and USA.

They will be accompanied by pianists Anna Khmara (Ukraine), Aki Maeda (Japan), and Stefania Redaelli (Italy).

The jury consists of chair Martin T:Son Engstroem (Sweden), Andrey Baranov (Switzerland), Pavel Berman (Italy), Zakhar Bron (Germany/Switzerland), Michael Dauth (Germany), Michael Guttman (Belgium), Zuo Jun (Singapore), Dora Schwarzberg (Israel/Austria), and Eduard Wulfson (Switzerland). 

The Cello Competition's 1st Round will be from May 9-13, 2nd Round from May 15-16, and the Final Round from May 17-18.

50 participants will compete, representing 23 nationalities: Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, and USA.

They will be accompanied by pianists Elena Nemtsova (Austria), Lelde Tīrele (Latvia), and Craig White (UK).

The jury will consist chair Dominique de Williencourt (France), Boris Andrianov (USA), Suren Bagratuni (USA), Alexander Chaushian (Armenia/UK), Henri Demarquette (France), Julian Lloyd Webber (UK), Philippe Muller (France), Martti Rousi (Finland), Meehae Ryo (South Korea), and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi (Japan). 

"Although the prizes for the award-winners are substantial, I truly believe they are not the most valuable things that one can get from this competition," Ishkhanov continued. "Performing in a competition setting allows a musician to discover more about themselves and their musical abilities than ever before, and regardless of whether they win or not, all our participants will have the unique chance to perform in front of some of the biggest names in our industry and receive feedback from these celebrated pedagogies. 

"Moreover, for some of our participants, Classic Strings shall provide them with the first opportunity to experience a number of crucial milestones in their musical journey, including the chance to perform in a professional concert hall, and to play alongside an orchestra among other things.”