VC INTERVIEW | Fjodor Elesin on the WorldVision Music Contest
Presented by [email protected], the competition was open to international violinists, violists, cellists, double bassists, pianists, and harpists.
After the final round, the total score will comprise 3/5 from the professional jury's votes, 1/5 from audience votes, and 1/5 from the competition's organizing committee.
The winners will be announced on June 1, 2022. The Violin Channel sat down with Artistic Director Fjodor Elesin to learn more about the competition ahead of the winners' announcement.
The WorldVision Music Contest is a new, unique, and exciting international competition for the classical music world. Where did the idea come from and how was it created?
To begin, the online music platform [email protected] was launched in March 2020. Created during the coronavirus pandemic, it initially served to make classical concerts available online during the lockdown. But we also wanted to make every possible effort to preserve the youngsters’ generation for the international music community and so, that’s how the international WorldVision Music Contest was born.
The concept behind the contest is to promote classical music of different genres, making it popular — to search for talented young artists and ensure their musical growth, as well as establish a dynamic online platform where young musicians and audience members can communicate. We also provide interactions between young artists and famous performers from all over the world who may share their best practices while also developing and supporting the musical activities online.
Can you tell us about the different categories and what the prize winners of each will receive?
For the first competition, we chose the most popular string instruments: violin, viola, cello, double bass, harp, and piano — placing them in two age categories. The prize for the main Contest Grand Prix is €100,000 and in the Junior category, the prize is €10,000. We understand the ambitiousness of our goals, especially for the first edition of the event.
During the Contest, [email protected] was forced to suspend connections with some of our partners due to the political divisions and the technical impossibility of cooperation, but despite such negotiations, we are making sure to keep our side of the bargain and achieve our goals. Very soon, all of us will know the names of the young musicians — the first winners of the WorldVision Music Contest.
Additionally, we are planning to make the Contest more comprehensive. So, in 2022 we will also launch the WorldVision Opera Singers Contest and WorldVision Winds Contest.
Could you tell us who your different juries have selected as the finalists this year in each section?
We are glad to present our young and talented finalists who are representing different countries. In the Junior category they are:
- Double bassist Moon Junha from South Korea and winner of various international competitions such as: J.M.Sperger Competition for Double Bass Quarantine Challenge ‘Outstanding Young Artist Award’, The 3rd New York Artists International Competition, The 27th National Music Journal Competition and others.
- Pianist Odesa Meti from Albania, who was awarded the “Absolute” prize in the national piano competition “EPTA Albania” every year from 2014 until 2019.
- Violinist Tao-Yuan Hsiao from Croatia, who won the Special Award of National Student Music Competition in Taiwan when she was 8 years old and the first prize in the Category IV (under 18 years old) of the International Young Virtuoso Violin Competition in Zagreb.
- Cellist Lyana Ulikhanyan from Armenia, who has been studying cello from the age of 4 and has already won numerous awards in Armenia and abroad.
Finalists of the Senior WorldVision Music Contest are:
- Pianist Robert Bily from the Czech Republic, who is a regular soloist at many prestigious music festivals including Salzburg Festival, Händel Festspiele and Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. He has performed in venues such as the Georg Friedrich Händel-Halle in Halle, "Die Glocke" in Bremen, the Laieszhalle in Hamburg, Teatro dal Verme in Milan and the MusicHall Dubai.
- Violinist Ruslan Talas, who is a student of the University of Music Lausanne and Moscow Conservatory, studying with Janine Jansen and Graf Mourja. Ruslan is a prize-winner at the VIII International Tchaikovsky Youth Competition, the International Violin and Chamber Music Competition in Vietnam and the Debut Concerto at the Elbphilharmonie. He is a laureate of the International Postaccini Competition in Fermo and the Yankelievich International Violin Competition.
- Pianist Maria Narodytska from Ukraine, who was born in Kiev and graduated from Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine. Since 2015, she has been studying piano at the High School of Music and Theater Hamburg. Maria’s concert activities include playing at the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg; Sala Maffeiana in Verona; Ruth Taylor Recital Hall in San Antonio; as well as theaters and concert halls all over the world.
- Violinist Iskandar Widjaja from Indonesia. The son of Arabic-Dutch and Chinese-Indonesian parents, Iskandar grew up with high-caliber classical music and has performed as a soloist with renowned international ensembles such as the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester and Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin, the Munich, Warsaw and Shanghai Philharmonics and others. Simultaneously, he has developed a parallel showbiz career in east Asia, with regular TV appearances, commercial endorsement contracts, and brand-ambassador duties.
How did you go about selecting your juries for the regional, national, and international stages of the competition?
For each stage of the contest, we invited world-renowned international artists and famous professors, as well as producers and heads of music production — a large portion of the people who represent the classical music industry today.
Uniquely, you allowed the general public to also be a part of the voting process and decision making. Can you please explain how this worked? And what percentage of the end results came from the public vs your professional juries?
The art and culture sectors are currently facing hard times: theatres, concert halls, and clubs are trying to survive under demanding conditions. The arts industry is forced to make ends meet without any financial support and — this being even more disastrous — without having any audience feedback. With us providing the audience a voice and the right to vote, we also allow our participants the chance to feel support and attention from them.
Votes from the audience account for one-fifth of the total score results and during the contest, we witnessed times when votes from audience members were momentous. The opinion of the professional jury is very important to us, but we should remember (and have taken into account) that rising stars from the WorldVision Contest perform for and share their talent first and foremost with the public.
Included in the Contest is the "Golden Ticket" prize, which is awarded to young musicians with the greatest number of donations from the audience. This award gives two participants (one from each category) the chance to continue through to the Final.
How did you ensure fairness and transparency in your voting and decision-making process throughout such a large-scale event?
With the audience voting, we created a system with a personal confirmation setting and drew a limit for one vote for one participant in each round. For the jury members, participants had to be divided between them for evaluation — this was organized in such a way that each participant was evaluated by four jury members. Such a system becomes complicated for counting the results but it provides a fairness for the outcomes during each stage of the Contest.
What would you say the jury (and the public for that matter) is looking for in this year’s first-prize winners?
With this Contest, we care and look for the future of the music world together. And all of us are waiting for its rising new stars.