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(Maria Ioudenitch)

Prizes Awarded at Belgium's Ysaÿe International Violin Competition

25-year-old Maria Ioudenitch from Russia/United States has been awarded the first prize in the senior age category and the Ysaÿe Grand Prize at the 2021 Ysaÿe International Violin Competition in Liège, Belgium

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory, where she studied with Shmuel AshkenasiPamela Frank and Miriam Fried, Maria is a former prize winner at the Young Artists Competition and the Johansen International Competition for Young String Players.

She will receive €3000 as the 1st prize winner in the 17 to 33-year-old senior age category as well as a professional recording on the AZRU Classical label, valued at €4000, as the recipient of the Ysaÿe Grand Prize — presented in recognition of the best performance of a Ysaÿe Solo Sonata during this year's competition.




No second prize was awarded in the 17 to 33-year-old age category. Joint third prize was awarded to 23-year-old Johanna Müller from Germany and 30-year-old Kumi Shimizu from Japan.

First prize in the 11 to 17-year-old intermediate age category was awarded to 12-year-old Seohyun Kim from South Korea. Second prize was awarded to 13-year-old Raphael Gisbertz from Germany. No third prize was awarded in this category.

First prize in the 11-years and younger junior age category was awarded to 11-year-old Leonardo Iannuccelli from Italy. Second prize was awarded to 11-year-old Tianyou Liu from China and joint third prize was awarded to 11-year-old Kai Gergov from Bulgaria/Japan and 10-year-old Margarita Pochebut from Ukraine.

No first prize was awarded in this year's Chamber Music Category, but a joint second prize was presented to the Selini String Quartet from Austria and the Vivace String Quartet from China. Third prize was awarded to the V Coloris Woodwind Quintet from Poland.

This year's jury comprised: Philippe Koch (Jury Chair), Ashot Khachatourian, Mikhail Yakovlev, Alexei Moshkov, Johanna Pichlmair, Robert Stepanian, Ori Epstein, George Tudorache, Jean-marc Onkelinx, and Philippe Lehaen.

The competition has been clouded in some controversy this week after an applicant to the Chamber Music category, whose duo ensemble did not pass the opening stage, made claims to various media outlets. He stated that after paying the 140€ application fee to apply, his google analytics data has suggested that only 22 seconds of his application video was viewed by one or all jury members. 

“Due to this situation, I will be filing a lawsuit against the organizers of the competition,” Russian accordionist Arseniy Strokovskiy wrote this week. “I am seeking a refund and a complete cancellation of the results of the competition. I am also demanding the initiation of a fraud case.” 

Elena Lavrenov, the Ysaÿe International Violin Competition's Executive Director, this week described the allegations as “erroneous, defamatory and disparaging.”

“The jury we selected for this edition of the competition are competent, professional, and impartial and our secretary of the jury has been present at every stage and can attest to the smooth running of all sessions,” she said.

"The participant's frustration is obvious but when registering for a competition every
candidate knows of the possible outcomes. Such accusations are serious and with them occurring during the semi-final and final stages of our current competition they’ve greatly disrupted the organized and calm atmosphere of our event.”

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