Written by Laurie Niles
Published: July 1, 2015 at 5:36 PM [UTC]
The violinists appeared to be ranked in the following way:
The competition, which has been in progress since June 15, includes violin, cello, piano and vocal divisions.
Competition officials said that, thanks to the Internet, a record-breaking 10 million viewers from 179 countries watched the competition, which featured 61 musicians from 22 countries. Gala concerts will take place July 2 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and July 3 in St. Petersburg. Those can be watched on live feed via Medici.tv, where archived performances are also available.
Jury members in the violin division were: Salvatore Accardo, Liana Isakadze, Vadim Repin, Boris Kuschir, Ilya Kaler, Maxim Fedotov, Vera Tsu Wei Ling, Mihaela Martin, Victor Tretyakov, Michael Haefliger, James Ehnes. (Vadim Repin replaced Leonidas Kavakos in the final rounds).
Congratulations to all participants!
* * *
First prize in the cello division was awarded to Andrei Ioni?a (Romania); first prize in the piano division was awarded to Dmitry Masleev (Russia); first prize for women's voice was awarded to Yulia Matochkina (Russia); first prize for men's voice was awarded to Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar (Mongolia). The Grand Prize of $100,000 for all categories will be announced later this week.
I've been following Benny for a couple years now and this was one of his best showings in terms of musicality and maturity. Even though his Sibelius and Tchaikovsky concertos were stunning, they also had some technical hiccups and places where the phrasing could have been clearer. Almost world-class, but not quite there. And I think the judges were looking for the next world-class soloist. Personally I believe they should have awarded him gold in the spirit of the competition but I can definitely see where they were coming from.
Golds had been awarded at previous and succeeding competitions in that international series (no longer extant, btw), so Tortelier was evidently very serious about keeping up the standard on the one occasion when he refused to award a gold.
Violinists eat their young, that's all I can say.
Thank you to my music friends who have asked for my opinions on the final results of the 2015 Tchaikovsky International Competition. Many of you know that my preferences of prize winners are usually the competitors who have the total package, the “IT” factor. My viewpoint is more of a “commercial potential”, rather than just technical perfection and one that pleases academic professors. In an ideal situation, I truly believe that top prize winners of a major competition such as the Tchaikovsky should be great ambassadors to the competition and mutually help each other maintain their reputations. It was interesting to see that 4th prize winners of this year’s competition were my true favorites (except for the VOCAL DIVISION, Men’s).
Before I provide my personal commentary, I do want to specially recognize Richard Rodzinski for doing an outstanding job of bringing the 2015 Tchaikovsky International Competition to people all around the world. He is someone that I truly respect as an arts leader and his involvement with this competition will only help the competition’s reputation in the future. He did an excellent job when he was the former President of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Fort Worth, Texas’ loss is Russia’s gain.
The Tchaikovsky International Music Competition is one of the largest, most prestigious, and most difficult competition in the world. Everyone who participated is tremendously talented and should be proud of the experience. Unfortunately, politics and “other factors” can influence the final outcome (with an outcome that many can disagree with).
This year’s piano competition was an exciting, but had very different outcome than what many have expected. My preferred rankings would have been as follows:
1. Lucas Debargue (France)
2. George Li (USA)
3. Lukas Geniusas (Russia)
4. Reed Tetzloff (USA)
5. Dmitry Masleev (Russia)
6. Daniel Kharitonov (Russia)
In my book, Sergei Redkin would have not advanced to the finals (instead I would have replaced him with Reed Tetzloff from the USA). Many of the people in the audience has two big favorites – Lucas Debargue and George Li. Both are exceptional artists. Although I felt George Li was a stronger “overall” competitor and did better in the concerto finals, Lucas had the most special “musical quality” that seemed like he was a reincarnation of Samson Francois. Up to the chamber concerto round, I felt Lucas slightly had the edge. However, George Li excelled in all rounds. My reason for placing him slightly behind Lucas is that he needs a little more maturity. Despite the actual results, I was truly happy for George and he represented USA very well. It would have been great to see Lucas be the first ever gold medalist from France.
Similar to the 2011 Violin Competition, this year’s violin competition had no “gold medalist”. There were many incredible violinists and I was glad that I didn’t have to be on the actual jury. My rankings are as follows:
1. Clara-Jumi Kang (South Korea)
2. Haik Kazazyan (Russia)
3. Yu-Chien “Benny” Tseng (Taiwan)
4. Mayu Kishima (Japan)
5. Bonsori Kim (South Korea)
6. Alexandra Conunova (Moldova)
This year’s violin jury had tremendous difficulty reaching a consensus and thus the results shocked everyone. For me, I was disappointed Mayu Kishima from Japan did not make the finals and would have replaced her with Pavel Milyukov from Russia. The most surprising shock was Clara-Jumi Kang not winning the gold medal. Clara has it all – she is like the Yuna Kim of violin. She has beauty, impeccable technique, solid musicianship, great PR skills, and the total “IT” factor. It was rather strange that she wanted to take the risk of entering this ever controversial competition, despite her Gold Medal successes at the other major international competitions. The judges preferred Yu-Chien “Benny” Tseng from Taiwan over Haik Kazazyan from Russia. Both are very top notch competitors. I slightly preferred Haik Kazazyan over Yu-Chien. Haik is a great representation of the old Russian school of violin playing and I’m sure Tchaikovsky would have given a nod of approval. Yu-Chien Tseng is a wonderful violinist, but lacks a little bit of artistic maturity. Everything he did was “clean-cut”, technically good, but not risk-taking. Although very young, I found Bonsori Kim from South Korea to be very promising. She might not be ready to be a medal contender at this moment, but I heard superb musicianship and she will do great for her future career. I was very happy to see a competitor from the under-represented country of Moldova make it to the finals. Alexandra Conunova was artistically interesting, but technically little bit off. I thought her final performances were very good, yet her gala concert was a little off (possibly due to fatigue).
1. Pablo Ferrandez-Castro (Spain)
2. Jonathan Roozeman (Netherlands)
3. Andrei Ionina (Roumania)
4. Alexander Buzlov (Russia)
5. Alexander Ramm (Russia)
6. Seung-Min Kang (South Korea)
One discipline that I agreed with at least the names of the finalists (but not the ranking) was the CELLO competition. I was disappointed to see Pablo Ferrandez-Castro from Spain not placed higher. He was a true artist and along with Edgar Moreau and Gautier Capucon, he is going to be one of the next cellists to watch. Plus, it would have been great to see a first gold medalist ever from Spain (like the 2015 World Figure Skating Championships). Jonathan Roozeman from Netherlands was a solid competitor but played a bit “safe” at times. The declared winner Andrei Ionina from Roumania was stellar, but I felt he focused more on pyrotechnics instead of emotion. The two Russians were very good and the Seung-Min Kang from South Korea was actually interesting.
So there you have it! This is my personal opinion. I am not looking to start any debates or be disrespectful to anyone. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and this is my opinion.
Best wishes to all of these excellent musicians for having the courage to do participate in this year’s Tchaikovsky Competition.
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