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3 May 2016

Martin Engstroem, “I met incredible talents at the competition”

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Members of the Grand Piano Competition award panel gave a series of master classes in the Myaskovsky Conservatory Hall on May, 2.  That day the contestants were preparing for the second round: in the morning they made acoustic rehearsals and chose pianos, and after lunch they started rehearsing with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra “Evgeny Svetlanov" conducted by Alexander Sladkovsky.

Meanwhile members of the award panel started the question and answer session. Martin Engstroem, Artisitic Director of Verbier Festival, opened the series of master classes.

As he confessed, Grand Piano Competition is an emotional stress for him.

“There are some incredible talents,” explained Martin Engstroem. “Some talents I think will last, some talents I think will not last. As a farther, I observe these children and keep wondering where it all comes from. I asked Denis Matsuev what exactly I should I listen to, what I should to judge, and if I had to take into consideration their age. You know, there is a difference if you are 11 and if you are 16 in terms of physical power. Denis answered to me that I should listen with my heart.”

Mr. Engstroem pointed out that his judgment is based on several aspects. “I try to see the global picture. I pay attention not only at what they do with their fingers, but at the way they come on to the stage. It is important how the artist is communicating with the public and if there is a reaction from the public, and if there is a contact. We live in the period of communication with plenty of cell phones and lots of internet communication. Attention spent by the public is very short. You have only little time to actually make an impression.”

During the question and answer session, Martin Engstroem described the role of competitions in the modern life and the reasons for taking part in them; he also told the audience if it was possible to build a career without any competitions. The audience asked questions about Verbier festival as well as other festivals in Europe and Russia, about the role of personality in organizing major projects of academic music. Apart from that, there were several practical and down-to-earth questions about the budget of Verbier festival, team’s work, and performers’ fees.

Once the meeting with Martin Engstroem was over, Vanessa Latarche and Hyoung-Joon Chang gave 2-hour master classes to the young pianists who study at Central Music School, Gnessin Moscow Special School of Music, and other music schools in Moscow. 

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