2023, June 3 — 6
History of the International Competition of Young Performing Musicians named after S. I. Savshinsky began in the summer of 2009, when we, watching an increasing number of various festivals and competitions held in Russia, Sweden, Germany and other countries, got an idea to create a musical competition for children, even if for a modest start in terms of the number of participants but with international coverage, and most importantly — democratic, emphatically accessible to a wide range of students in music schools, with impartial and objective judging and exemplary organization.
The competition was originally conceived as a piano and ensemble contest, and almost immediately it was decided to devote it to an outstanding teacher-methodologist, pianist, professor of the Leningrad Conservatory — Samariy Ilyich Savshinsky, the founder of the Special Music School at the Leningrad Conservatory.
The first competition was held in early December 2009 in the museum-apartment of N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov, and, based on the expected number of participants — 30-35 people — the place and time seemed to be enough. But the number of those wishing to participate in the competition has almost doubled the expected figure. The competition was then held in two nominations — the piano and the chamber ensemble, and covered the age range from 6-7 to 16 years, divided into 5 groups. The jury of the competition was formed from teachers and performers from Russia, Sweden and Estonia, and was headed by a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, I. D. Mikhaylov.
The success and positive public resonance of the First Competition convinced us of the need to arrange it annually, and it was decided to make the Savshinsky Competition a tradition. The venue for the Second Competition (2010) was chosen to be music school No. 9 of the (Kirovsky District, St. Petersburg), and for the final ceremony and concert of the winners we were kindly provided with the Assembly Hall of the Music Faculty of the Russian State Herzen Pedagogical University on Vasilyevsky Island. It was decided to broaden the scope of the competition — according to numerous requests from teachers, string nominations were added. The number of participants has grown to more than 200 people — and, what was pleasing even more, the geography of the event has greatly expanded.
The third competition of 2011 was a qualitative leap in relation to the entire organization of the competition and the process of its preparation. Now all the information about the event, the schedule of auditions and rehearsals became available long before the start of the competition on its own website, the results of auditions appeared promptly there, and at the end of the competition photo reports. Began to publish a competition booklet with photos of jury members and all participants, whose number reached 318 people.
But the most important change was, perhaps, the new venue - the Akhmatova Gymnasium of arts in Tsarskoye Selo, which had just received a new building with a concert hall for 350 people, which was perfectly adapted to conduct such large-scale events. Since 2011, the competition has been “registered” in the hospitable walls of the Gymnasium, and we received invaluable assistance in organizing from its entire team. The competition has firmly entered Pushkin’s cultural life, becoming its integral part for several years.
The popularity of the competition in Russia and abroad continued to grow steadily, and, on the proposals of professors of universities in Russia and Sweden, the age limit had been raised to 23 years, which made it possible to participate in the competition for students of secondary and higher educational institutions. The geography of the competition expanded to the west to the United States, and to the east to China, and, what particularly pleased us, the share of participants from the regions of Russia — from Barnaul and New Urengoy to Rostov-on-Don and Kaliningrad — increased greatly.
The fourth competition was the most numerous — more than 400 young musicians took part in it. The competition received the support of the most prominent musicians of the world — conductor Valery Gergiev, pianists Grigory Sokolov and Pavel Gililov, also became a member of the Association of Russian Music Competitions, was accepted as a candidate to join EMCY —European Association of Youth Competitions.
Starting from the 4th competition, the main emphasis was placed on improving the professional level of the event, introducing a judging system that meets European standards, making it as transparent, convenient and objective as possible, further improving the printed products of the event. The number of prizes was strictly regulated.
In December 2013, the Fifth Competition was held with great success, in which all innovations of the previous year were continued and developed. It ended the "Tsarskoye Selo" period in the history of the event.
Starting from 2014 to this day, the competition named after S. I. Savshinsky has been held within the walls of the Institute of Music, Theater and Choreography of the Russian State Herzen Pedagogical University on Vasilyevsky Island, and the closing ceremony and the final concert — in the Hall of Columns of the Herzenl University on the Moika Embankment. In general, it is impossible not to note separately the huge contribution to the life of the event, which was made by Herzen University as a whole, and the administration of the Institute of Music — in particular. Also, in recent years, the competition had been consistently supported by St. Petersburg Conservatory.
Then, in 2014, the concert of the first prize winners was also the final round of the Grand Prix of the competition (the experiment turned out to be successful, and this became a tradition), and also the pedal harp appeared in the list of competitive instruments for the first time. A fruitful cooperation began with the St. Petersburg factory "Resonance Harps", always providing us with its excellent instruments, the quality of which is growing from year to year.
The competition has been and remains international in its very essence, sharing from it the very first day with the Swedish Stockholm International Music Competition (SIMC), also related to other similar activities in Europe and the USA. Each year, as a special award, one of the winners receives a scholarship to study at the Long Island Conservatory of Music in New York. In 2016, the competition was strengthened with colleagues from Lithuania — as partners and co-founders, we took part in the international festival-competition "Pearls of the Baltics" in Klaipeda, as well as in a series of seminars and workshops held annually in the music schools of this city with the support of the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania and Klaipeda University.
Now a few words about the plans for the near future. For the second year, we have been working closely with the Foundation for the Development of Musical Art, organized by the remarkable Petersburg conductor Fabio Mastrangelo. As a special award, the Foundation provides an opportunity for a pianist, chosen by the Maestro, to perform with the Northern Symphony Orchestra. And in the upcoming 2019, within the framework of the 10th jubilee Savshinsky competition, at the suggestion of maestro Fabio Mastrangelo and in collaboration with the Foundation, the project "The Grand Opera. Voices of the future" will be implemented — a competition for vocalists of high professional level , with separate regulations, a jury and a prize pool.
Also, we will continue to work on the comprehensive improvement of our event in order to make it even more attractive for both potential participants and those who wish to help us in the noble cause of supporting young talents.
Chairman of the Organizing Committee
artistic director of the competition Dmitry Mikhaylov