The press of Virtuosos of the planet 2010

Virtuosi of the Planet on stage /Day/


Virtuosi of the Planet on stage


A virtuoso musician excels in technique and presentation. A virtuoso’s talent captivates music buffs across the world and is acknowledged by way of awards from the most prestigious international competitions. These virtuosi, loved all over the world, will now take part in the fourth Virtuosi of the Planet International Music Festival scheduled for November 11-12 in Kyiv. The festival’s director Yurii ZILBERMAN agreed to comment on the event’s organization and selection criteria.

Virtuosi of the Planet is back in business after a year’s time. The festival has been re-scheduled from September to November. Is this because of the musicians’ concert tour schedules?

“Last year was apparently tough for the festival participants and organizers. Arrangements for concerts take at least a year. Also, I wasn’t sure we would be financed in the fall of 2009, and I couldn’t afford to invite performers and then cancel the invitations a month or two prior to the concert date. This would damage the festival’s reputation, so that the musicians in questions would be likely to abstain from further participation. Last year, the decision to cancel the festival was made well in advance, both for internal and external reasons. This year the situation was totally different. I received assurances from the Minister of Culture Mykhailo Kulyniak, so I felt safe negotiating with the solo performers. Virtuosi of the Planet is an event organized by the administration of the Horowitz International Competition for Young Pianists (ditto Summer Music Academy, Kyiv Summer Music Soirees Festival, concert tours for the winners, and the Horowitz Debut). This administration is made up of two deputy rectors of the Gliere Institute of Music and heads of the piano, editorial, and research-and-production departments. September marks the start of the school year, with all its hustle and bustle, including 14-hour daily schedules. Add here the festival arrangements. That’s why holding it two months later proves much more convenient.”

With so many international contests being held, how does your administration decide whom to invite?

“Virtuosi of the Planet was conceived in 2006, when Geneva hosted the spectacular festivities commemorating the 50th anniversary of the World Federation of International Music Competitions. At the time I addressed the General Assembly, proposing the festival idea to the managers of the federation’s competitions, so the Kyiv audience could hear the world’s best musicians. It is our prerogative to select the contestants. We’re closely following such competitions (today you can find all the data you need on the Internet) and invite the solo performers we like best — bearing in mind, of course, the city’s concert schedules and the preferences of our audiences.”

What are the professional criteria for being selected as a Virtuosi of the Planet’s contestant?

“Nonconventional, original thinking is in the first place. While listening to a musician, we compare our music concepts with that musician’s rendition. If we find his/her concepts lacking, we know we’ll hear nothing new except a mediocre performance.”

Who will perform this time, winners of which competitions?

“November 11, the first day of the festival, will feature the Ukrainian button accordion player, Oleksandr Khrustevych, AccoHoliday laureate, and Vadym Neselovsky, winner of the Thelonious Monk Piano Jazz Competition (a week ago, Neselovsky placed second in the fifth Martial Solal Jazz Piano Competition in Paris). November 12, the second [and last day] we will see the pianists Aleksandr Pirozhenko (Russia) and Adam Lalum (France).”

Your festival appears to be academically, classically oriented. Why did you invite the jazz pianist, Vadym Neselovsky?

“Isn’t jazz classic? Doesn’t jazz music contain sophisticated intellectual information? Of course, I mean good jazz and an excellent performer. Moreover, jazz compositions are like X-ray pictures; here we can see — I mean hear — the musician and learn all there is to know about that performer. A jazz musician is a composer when developing a theme, improvising, adding to it, creating an image. Vadym Neselovsky is a pianist of profound intellect, a top-notch and deep-thinking virtuoso. I would like to make it possible for as many people to familiarize themselves with his art as I can.”

Traditionally, one of the Virtuosi’s contestants is a winner of the International competition for Young Pianists in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz. Is this how this competition is supporting its laureates?

“If you mean Aleksandr Pirozhenko, here the situation is different. Pirozhenko was indeed one of the Horowitz winners, but that happened about 10 years ago, first of all. Second, I invited him as the winner of First Prize, 15th Ettore Pozzoli Competition (Grand Prix, Italy, 2007); First Prize in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York; First Prize in the 16th Ibiza International Piano Competition in Spain; First Prize in the 8th Newport International Piano Competition in Wales (2000), let alone his second prizes, totaling at least 12 by my estimates. He is a brilliant pianist, but most importantly, his way of thinking is complex, nonconventional.”

What do you think are the prospects for Virtuosi of the Planet?

“We, the organizers, are eager to expand the framework and hold this festival for five to six days, so we can invite musicians playing a variety of instruments, if not all the winners we can select (as was the case in 2008). Personally, I would be happy to invite winners of the Concours International de Quatuor a Cordes de Bordeaux, the International Percussion Competition Luxembourg, Pretoria’s vocal competition, the one for wind instruments in Denmark, and so on. Too bad we have a limited timeframe and budget. Therefore, I don’t mean to expand the festival’s framework as of yet; I think it’s best to keep it ticking, so the Kyiv public could keep meeting with and listening to interesting young performers on stage, as new members of the Planet Music Club.”



© 1997-2007, Horowitz Competition, All rights reserved.