Astana Piano Festival Supports Young Musicians

ASTANA – The third international classical music festival and young pianist contest directed by Denis Matsuev, a world-famous musician and People’s Artist of Russia, will take place from April 24 to May 2.

Denis Matsuev

Denis Matsuev

The contest will begin with the semi-finalists because the first qualifying round has already taken place via video. Participants will perform a solo programme. A concert accompanied by an orchestra will be the last segment of the event.

The prize money will total $60,000. The winners of the first three prizes will be awarded lithographs of Rene Magritte, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali and Georges Braque paintings from the Chinggis & Ethan publishing house (Luxembourg). Winners of the special prize from Director Matsuev will participate in the following international festivals: Crescendo (Pskov, Russia), the Annecy Classic (Annecy, France) and Stars on the Baikal (Irkutsk, Russia).

Winners will give concerts atthe Moscow Philharmonic and next year’s Astana Piano Passion festival. There will be awards for teachers whose students take top places. The competition is divided amongst the junior (under 10 years of age), medium (ages 11-14) and older (15-18 years of age) age groups.

The performances will be evaluated by an authoritative international jury: Matsuev,composer and honoured figure Tolegen Mukhamedzhanov; Rector of the Kurmangazy Kazakh National Conservatory and People’s Artist of Kazakhstan Zhania Aubakirova, famous Russian pianist and teacher, People’s Artist of Russia Sergey Dorensky,Honoured Artist of Russia, Professor of the Moscow State Conservatory Valery Pyasecky, famous pianist, conductor and teacher Arie Vardi (Israel) who is currently teaching at the Buchmann-Mehy Schol of Music in Tel Aviv and in the Hochschule fur Music in Hanover, inventor, innovator and researcher Pascal Eskande (France), famous pianist and teacher, head of the Department of Keyboard Instruments at the Royal College of Music in London Vanessa Latarche (UK).

This year’s festival will include the French music channel Mezzo Backstage, which plans to film three TV programmes about the Astana concert halls where these performances will be held: the Palace of Peace and Accord, the Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall and the Astana Opera.

This year, Astana Piano Passion will include Matsuev’s performance and a concert given by 2014’s Piano Passion winners, master classes given by Vanessa Latarche and Arie Vardi. The grand opening and a gala concert will take place on April 24 at the Astana Opera.

The organisers of the music festival are the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Kazakhstan, the Astana Akimat (city administration) and the Accordi di Astana public fund.

Over the course of three years, the organising committee of Astana Piano Passion received about 400 applications from 45 countries. This year, more than 120 applications were received, 30 of which were selected. For the first time, young musicians from Mongolia, Macedonia, Norway and Finland decided to take part in the Astana competition.

“The competition is being held to support young musicians while they are in their initial stages of their career. It is also supposed to promote classical piano music as part of a well-rounded education for the younger generation. Young pianists aged 8 to 18 divided amongst three age groups will take part in the competition,” Lyudmila Doroshenko, director of Accordi di Astana said, reported.

Receipt of applications to participate in the contest began on Dec. 1and lasted until March 1.

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