Fifteen-year-old Russian pianist wins Concertino Praga 2010

Concertino Praga – Czech Radio’s prestigious international competition for young musicians – has just announced the winners of this year’s event. The aim of the competition, which was established in 1966, is to search for talented young musicians all over Europe and help them embark on a professional career. Ruth Fraňková has more.

The winner of this year’s Concertino Praga is fifteen-year-old Russian pianist Anastasia Vorotnaya. She was one of 18 performers from eight countries to take part this year. The participants competed in four disciplines: piano, violin, cello and classical guitar, which regularly alternate each year with woodwind or brass instruments.

Concertino Praga is an anonymous competition, with the jury listening and ranking the recordings without seeing the actual performers or knowing what country they come from. One of the members of the jury this year was the world-renowned British cellist Raphael Wallfisch:

“It’s the first time I have done that and I was very afraid that it would be impossible because we are usually so affected by seeing people. They affect us as performers, visually and by the atmosphere they can create. So listening to a recording is a slightly cold way of assessing things. It’s a healthy thing to do in a way, especially with age, because sometimes one is impressed by a very young age. But luckily it was clear and in most cases we seemed to agree as a jury. As it happened it was a very young person who won the prize this year.”

With the ever decreasing interest in classical music, Raphael Wallfisch says competitions of this kind are very important, because they give young musicians new opportunities:

“Music and competition are not natural partners, sport or ballroom dancing may be, because in music, everybody has a different opinion. If you are a winner at an early age, it doesn’t mean that you are necessarily a winner for the rest of your life. There is no such thing in music, there is constant development until you can’t do your art anymore. But it’s a fantastic incentive for young people. I think it helps interest in the public, people like to see competition, they like to see success.”

Czech Radio will record and release a CD by the overall winner. The laureates of Concertino Praga accompanied by the Symphonic Orchestra of Czech Radio will also perform on June 20 at a special concert in Prague’s Rudolfinum.