01.12.2015 | 19:51

Round I of the 'Nutcracker' contest has ended

The 1st round of the 'Nutcracker' has come to an end. Not without losses, as only 8 musicians in each category are to continue the struggle. There was room for surprise too. Live streaming of the auditions was available on the Russia-Kultura TV-Channel website.

The first round of the Contest is always the most difficult one – there is no second chance to make the first impression on the strict Jury. The contestants look confident, still sometimes they give way to emotions. The Contest is opened with the category 'Stringed Instruments', contestants' age is from 9 to 13. The difference is just a few years, but for some of the young musicians these few years make up half of their life.

For the first time the 'Nutcracker' has welcomed a participant from the Czech Republic. Eduard Kollert is a student of Zakhar Bron, founder of the Music Academy in Switzerland and one of the Contest judjes. The master listened to the performance of his student attentively and noted that room for improvement remains. 'The programme is difficult, that's why he got 11 out of 12', Zakhar Bron explained. 'Of course, I agree with everything said', Eduard Kollert says.

The highest possible score is 12. And it is a rare case for all the adjudicators to agree on this mark. When 9-year old Leia Zhu went on to stage, the audience smiled – Leia looked lovely. And her performance turned out to be just as charming. 'I liked everything. This is such a brilliant experience. I feel extremely happy', Leia Zhu exclaimed.

The competitors in the category 'Wind and Percussion Instruments' are a little older (up to 14 years of age, compared to 13 in other categories). So the struggle was really intense. But time spent on preparations was different for all of the contestants. 'It took me about 2 months to prepare for the Contest', Sergei Pasechnik says. 'We applied several times but only this year I have managed to get through to live rounds', Ariana Mohammad notes.

The first round ended with the 'Piano' category. The competition was expected to be extremely tough. The Jury in this discipline is especially strict this year, the concert hall was full of listeners. Few participants got over 11 points for their performances.

'I give 12 for an exceptional performance in the 1st round. But in the 2nd round I will give 12 to those whom I would like to see in the Final', Ekaterina Mechetina, one of the adjudicators, explains.

Each year the Contest welcomes even more skilled participants from the growing number of countries. Maxim Lando from the USA has been following the Competition on the website for several years. Now he is hoping for the best. 'I certainly take a huge interest in the Tchaikovsky Competition. I am eager to play in the famous Concert Hall. Hopefully I'll pass through to the 3rd round', Maxim Lando says.

Selected participants will have to face the Jury for the second time tomorrow. The Jury has chosen 8 out of 16 young musicians in each category, except for the 'Strings'. The latter has 9 participants struggling for the place in the 3rd round. 'Three competitors showed equal results, we couldn't make a choice', Alexei Vasilyev explains.

Today's choice will fall even harder: one has to choose best out of the best. But the adjudicators admit that all the participants already deserve to be called professional musicians.